Waste(ing) in Viral Times

Tapping into the sensorial and affective possibilities of the arts, we invite slow, situated pedagogies that keep waste ‘in sight and in mind’. Our work envisions pedagogies that rethink management approaches (reduce, reuse, recycle) and refigure young children’s relationships with waste. Rather than thinking about managing waste, we explore thinking with waste. By ‘thinking-with and being-with’ (Haraway, 2016) waste we stay with the tensions of waste liveliness and the capitalist industrial complex. We take seriously the notion of waste futures and waste unruly movements in ecologically precarious times. We wonder what it means to pedagogically think with waste in the midst of a pandemic. 

As the pandemic rages and concerns over infection and contamination reign the plastics that had been welcomed into the classroom have now been collected, bagged, tagged and removed. The precarious logics of plastic remind us that it is toxic, uncontrollable, and always exists in relation to something else. While the pandemic impacts relations with plastic waste, our work with waste(ing) practices continues.

The pandemic has called us to renew food practices in our early childhood centre, and to face up the magnitude of food waste that is being produced to keep children, families and us from contracting COVID 19.  This is the collective predicament that fuels our pedagogical work this year.

How might we rethink our food practices to respons(ably) live with a virus?