Phillips, L. G. (2018). Sticky: ChildhoodNature touch encounters. In A. Cutter-Mackenzie, K.Malone, E.B.Hacking (Eds.). Research handbook on childhoodnature. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Children’s attention to sensuous and affective qualities of nature-matter affordances and constraints is the focus of this chapter, along with related possibilities for movement, learning and thought. An eco-aesthetic account of ChildhoodNature touch is developed in relation to Barad’s quantum physics-informed theory of agential realism. By this account, all particles are entangled in the void, so that every degree of touch is touched by all possible others. Encounters of ChildhoodNature touch are drawn from the author’s lived experiences of child-led walks in Chiang Mai, Thailand. These are performative walks from ‘The Walking Neighbourhood Hosted by Children’ project, in which arts workers supported primary school aged children to locate places of connection in urban landscapes for curating and leading walks as public performance. Sensory ethnographic attention to the encounters were privileged due to limited mutual language sharing. The eco-aesthetics of ChildhoodNature touch encounters in three child-led walks of Chiang Mai are storied from the author’s lived encounters to invite “possibilities of engaging the force of imagination in its materiality” (Barad, 2012, p. 216). Poetics and storying are purposefully offered to entice readers to imagine sensing the insensible – the indeterminacy of the entanglement of matter. By doing this, experiences of childhood connections with nature can be (re)imagined, foregrounding the affect of eco-aesthetics in provoking appreciation and care for the entangled other.
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