CAS Practice Base Research: Practice Theory

How to Sustainably Interact with Realities

By Annemarie Bucher



Art is a powerful agent to intervene in real life contexts and to improve them. In activist, environmentalist, educational, alternative economical and other contexts, creative strategies are required to make people think and to initiate change. Perma-culture takes natural ecosystems as the model to sustainably build up farms, gardens, houses and settlements. Environmental issues are seen and aimed at in the face of great uncertainty. Perma-arts—to be conformed with concept & strategy—takes real life systems to discuss and enhance real life conditions. This module tackles the interface between artistic, horticultural and agricultural practices to consolidate a creative and sustainable agency.


This seminar aimes at interlinking different and yet seemingly incompatible fields such as the arts embedded in the art worlds and environmental issues, often linked to sustainable development. The course provides insights into artistic agency linked with permacultural principles, environmental care and post-development and attempts to increase compatibility between these differing study and action fields in order to invoke co-creation and transformative power.

Course details

In advance: Preparatory reading: Participants will get a reading list with seminal texts (sent out three weeks prior to the course).

Part 1             Separated and unruly knowledge!
Introduction to the research question and subtopics.
Embedded/engaged arts as change agent (linked with environmental problem situation & sustainability)
Permaculture principles as a hands-on strategy for earth care and post- development
(Political) ecology
How can or shall the arts be linked to permaculture?

Part 2             How to link/merge detached positions?
Close reading of selected texts/quotations & case studies
– (Theoretical) debate on connections and incompatibilities between art and permaculture

Part 3              Tools and strategies

Make your hands dirty:
– Hands on experience,
– Action research and
– „Lean logic“ 

Part 4              Dreams, visions and realities
– How to gain creative, inventive, cooperative self-reliance in the face of uncertainty and multiple perspectives

Module supervisor

Annemarie Bucher, art and landscape historian, consultant, curator. PhD in landscape theory at ETH Zurich. Affiliation: Zurich University of the Arts and Srishti, IN-Bangalore. Co-director FOA-FLUX and MAS Art & Society. Lives in Switzerland.


2 (E)CTS