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Eco-Capabilities is an AHRC-funded project situated at the intersection of three issues: a concern with children’s wellbeing; their apparent disconnect with the natural environment; and a lack of engagement with the arts in school curricula. It builds on Amartya Sen’s work on human capabilities as a proxy for wellbeing, developing the term eco-capabilities to describe how children define what they feel they need to live a fully good human life through environmental sustainability, social justice and future economic wellbeing.

Across the Eco-Capabilities project, children aged 7-10 from schools identified as being in areas of high deprivation participated in nine days of artist-led teaching sessions, described as creative adventuring in nature. The study drew on arts-based research methodologies with data collection with children including drawings of happy places, walk and talk focus groups and workshops to elicit children’s own list of eco-capabilities.

This seminar will explore children’s developing relationship with nature across the project and, in turn, draw out implications for practice which supports both pro-environmental behaviour and wellbeing.

About the speaker

Nicola Walshe is Head of the Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment and Professor of Education at the UCL Institute of Education.

She is Secretary of the Geography Education Research Collective (GEReCo) and co-convenor of the Environmental and Sustainability Education Research network of the European Educational Research Association. Her research is predominantly in the field of geography education, with a focus on high quality teacher education practices in environmental and sustainability education.


For information about the seminar, please email