I believe education should be “felt” in the way Stephanie Springgay theorizes. Felt as material, felt as experience, felt as affect, felt as non-linear.
Felt as Material/Experience:
Education should be tangible and embodied. These two words to describe how education should be are in contradiction with one another, but it is this unsettling quality that makes for sensually engaged pedagogy. Education should promote the investigation of touch, the physical, and feeling, the ephemeral. A student should have space to create, destroy, rearrange, and rebuild as part of their education. Learning through making is foundational to arts-based research-creation, and calls for interactive experiences with materials.
Felt as Affect:
Informed by affect theory, education can be most transformative when felt positively. In this way, education can foster the organization of affects into discrete categories of knowledge. The ability to address and process feelings is a form of knowledge that is unquantifiable, however essential for healthy student psychological development. This form of knowledge is what makes us human, and with the rise of consciousness for the non-human and biotechnological advancements for the more-than-human, we must value and promote introspection in education.
Felt as Non-linear:
Felt is made when loose wool fibers are agitated with friction, heat, and soapy water. Through this process, felt is the combination of fibers through the interlocking of their own scaled hair structure, constricting, coiling, and matting together. Felt, unlike other textile constructions, is non-linear. Felt has no start or end, unlike the selvage of woven fabrics or binding off a knit. It is not bound to a grid of consecutive loops or crossing yarns. Felt can grow in any direction, as sculpture, with variant density. Education should follow this same model of non-linearity. Instead of abiding by traditional teaching formats, where the instructor determines what kinds of knowledge have value and when to share that knowledge, the curriculum should be ‘living’. This is because knowledge is found in spaces between and removed from binary thinking, in the flux of adaptably relevant, sporadically mindful, and peculiarly comprehensive research-creation.