Exploring nature, place, learning and ontology on a Snowy River journey

Mr Scott Jukes1

1La Trobe University

Journeys have long been part of the outdoor education landscape. In this presentation, I explore possibilities for envisioning outdoor education journeys differently by focusing on the material relations of a Snowy River journey with year ten students. A relational materialist approach is utilized to explore how the physical~material world is creative of places, people and learning beyond human centered ways of seeing. The importance of matter is relevant for post human researchers and outdoor environmental educators because it can situate humans as part of physical~material environments, not separated or necessarily superior to them; thereby potentially reducing human-centered perspectives and habits. Through encounters on a Snowy River journey I will discuss the entangled aspects of the human and more-than-human-world and highlight new possibilities for learning on outdoor journeys.

My research incorporates an ontological perspective of becoming, its application in an outdoor context and what new insights this may offer traditional practices. Exploring an ontology of becoming provides opportunities for an unfolding of the existence of the human and more-than-human world of a journey and can describe ways in which perspectives of nature may be shifted when we come to understand ourselves differently in/of places. This post human/relational materialist approach diverges from traditional perspectives of human-nature connections (humans being disconnected from nature and needing to reconnect); alternatively, seeing ourselves as part of the natural world and becoming with it.


Scott Jukes has worked as an outdoor educator for over 10 years, predominantly with an interest in journey programs. Currently, Scott works as a sessional staff member at La Trobe University, whilst also lecturing at Federation University and Australian Catholic University.
In 2016, Scott began studying a Masters of Outdoor Environmental Education (research) at La Trobe University, where he is focussing on topics of journeying, place relations, learning and ontology. When not juggling his study or work commitments, Scott is often found in the mountains or on a river somewhere.

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