Meet Diego Ellis Soto The Workshop: Entangling Science, Environmentalism, Arts, and Racial Justice

In this workshop and conversation we will explore how communities can contribute to bottom-up initiatives that collect biodiversity information to improve understanding of wildlife around our cities and achieve more just environmental outcomes. Diego will share his ongoing projects merging environmental education with music and environmental justice, including his work with bird songs. We will conclude with an open conversation about how to best engage and re-entangle diverse groups of faith with local community members and changemakers invested in caring for the natural world.

Diego Ellis Soto is a Uruguayan PhD candidate in Ecology at Yale University and a NASA FINESST Future Investigator. Working at the intersection of ecology, technology and environmental justice, he is interested in how our access to biodiversity data is shaped by our socioeconomic status, and how past and present social inequalities amplify current disparities in environmental sciences.

Meet Liz MacWhirter The Workshop: ENTANGLED FOREST: A Theopoetics Creative Writing Workshop

A guided, reflective space for you to respond creatively in this challenging time. Prompts for free writing will include poems, natural objects and a short film by digital artist Jonathan Kearney. Devices such as list-making and collage will enable you to explore composting and re-purposing words into poetic forms that serve to both constrain and liberate, whether they retain a poetic structure or lean towards prose. Work towards a poem, prose, a manifesto, lament or prayer; the aim is to use language as an act of self-care, resistance and hope. Ultimately, new language may challenge ways of seeing and help engender change that is personal, political, systemic (Callid Keefe-Perry). The poet ‘never closes the case for becoming’ (Roland Faber). P.S. There’s no compulsion to share your writing on the spot!

Liz MacWhirter’s debut novel ‘Black Snow Falling’ (Scotland Street Press, 2018) gained a Carnegie Medal nomination. She is writing a novel for her PhD, exploring intersections between trauma spirituality and contemplative theology. Poetry is published by Lucy Writers, Cambridge. Liz performed ‘Blue: a lament for the sea’ at Yale in 2023.

Meet Sam King The Workshop: Cosmic Walk

The Cosmic Walk is an embodied ritual experience of the 13.8 billion year journey of the Universe. In this practice, Sam King (MAR ’22) will guide participants as they walk across a 138-foot, spiral-shaped rope marked with the major transformations necessary for life to emerge on Earth. Created by Sr. Miriam MacGillis of Genesis Farm, the Cosmic Walk is designed to evoke conscious communion and care for our blue-green planetary home.

Sam King is the Project Director at Journey of the Universe and Director of Integral Ecology at Marist School Network. Previously, he received his Master of Arts in Religion and Ecology with a certificate in Educational Leadership and Ministry from Yale Divinity School.

Meet Katie DavisThe Workshop: Creating Positive Eco-Futuristic Political Messaging

Political messaging can inspire hope, joy, and collective action. In the past, political groups have employed the use of positive imagery to mobilize voters, volunteers, and political leaders to create sustainable change. Optimistic visions have given our systems not only reasons to change but ideas of what to change into. Today, eco-futuristic political messaging from the Democratic Party sometimes misses a positive vision to aspire to. Progressive and conservative groups alike detail negative outcomes well. This writing workshop will help participants practice writing political messaging that details positive eco-outcomes that feel practical and genuine to voters. Employing tested political strategy from Katie’s time in Democratic politics in D.C. and Maine, we’ll start the work of creating and sharing highly-specific positive eco-futuristic political messaging together. This will be a creative, supportive space.

Katie Davis is studying watershed restoration and the undisciplined intersections of ecospiritualty, degrowth, and tribal resources. Katie previously worked at Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Voter Protection and Political Strategy and for Sara Gideon for Maine. She is into silliness and love in learning, Southern queer joy, and poetry, and dreams of swimming in the Potomac.

Meet Max Del BosqueThe Workshop: Creating Visio Divinas: Using Art Practice to Ground Us in Divine Presence

Visio Divinas are powerful visual tools that help us experience prayer in visual form. What happens when we open ourselves to the process of creation, as a form of prayer in and of itself? This workshop is a hands-on opportunity to learn how the creation of visio divinas can be a profound way to experience the Divine. Through the medium of watercolor, participants will have the opportunity to explore the technique of creating “imperfect circles” as a way to experience prayer via the creative process. This contemplative approach expands what is prayer and encourages us to consider the act of creation as a form of alignment with the Earth. No prior art experience is necessary and tools will be provided.

Max Del Bosque is in his second year of a Masters in Divinity at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He is a rostered seminarian in the ELCA’s southwest synod, as well as a practicing visual artist and tenured art professor. Mr. Del Bosque has a Masters in Fine Arts in Studio Art and certificates in Museum Studies and Dream Studies. He has developed curriculum to teach museum studies and studio art courses at the college level, and teaches at LA Pierce College.

Meet Esther MathieuThe Workshop: Entangled Forms: A Bookmaking Workshop on Environmental Grief and Radical Transformation

Books, as familiar, tactile, interactive objects, offer potent opportunities to engage both environmental grief and our hopes for radical transformation. Given their centrality to many faith traditions, book forms carry legacies of sacred and contemplative encounter. This workshop will explore books, and particularly zines, or fan-zines (low-budget, easily reproducible booklets usually printed by copier) as spaces of entanglement, wherein the unchanging content, fixed on the page, nonetheless creates an always-different engagement with the reader that mirrors our engagement with the more-than-human. Centering examples of artist books and environmental zines and drawing from theoretical texts on environmental grief and Transition design, this workshop will provide instruction in a simple book form, with which participants will begin a climate journal or zine of their own. In so doing it will offer a space in which to imagine the future: both burdened by environmental crisis and full of transformative potential.

Esther Mathieu is a Masters Student in the Environmental Humanities Program at the University of Utah, where they serve as a Mellon Community Engagement Fellow. Esther’s research explores wetland ecologies and the mentally ill mind/body, endeavoring to create a space of encounter for the two. Esther is a writer and visual artist, focusing in photography and book arts.