A PhD student in Australia, Kirsten Moegerlein, has a very interesting research proposal that focuses on the power for rituals for transitions and sustainability. We came across it because it references our position paper from Carnegie Mellon a few years ago, as well as our Ritual Design Lab writings here.
Kirsten outlines a project that looks at community-based rituals that can move to more sustainable, less human-centered values and practices. She advocates for participatory design methods, to make for transformational changes and social interactions — to get ultimate to collective change in how humans plan for sustainability and live according to this value.
She uses a definition of ritual that is about cultural resources. Rituals are performances which construct, reveal, and mobilize these resources — to get to powerful change.
The abstract of the proposal is as follows:
This PhD research proposes to investigate how newly designed community rituals might provide a means of re-conceiving existing carbon-intense lifestyles and help to imagine alternative social futures that move beyond an anthropocentric perspective. By using a combined multi-sensory ethnographic and design approach, this research seeks to understand how ritualistic activity is meaningfully located within everyday life and how it might be possible to work with ritual as a design ‘medium’. Participatory design methods that explore the potential for ritual as a transformational tool within community settings will be developed, in order to create new forms of social interaction and/or systems that help facilitate a collective transition towards a more sustainable future.