Of Grids and Gardens: School Gardening and the Unsettling Attachments of Teaching Beside the Grid

  • Julia Ostertag


This chapter traces unexpected moments in an arts-based garden education research project when initial efforts to critique gridded school garden and indoor classroom spaces yielded unsettling attachments to those very grids. Through site-specific installation art and a historical review of school gardening, the author recognizes that calls to go beyond grids is potentially problematic when these patterns are deeply ingrained, particularly in settler and Eurocentric relationships to land and pedagogies. Attending to the ways of flax (Linum usitatissimum) in the site-specific installation at The University of British Columbia Orchard Garden unsettles this desire to go beyond and creates openings for creative and non-anthropocentric modes of “criticality” (Rogoff, What is a theorist? In: M. Newman & J. Elkin (Eds.), The state of art criticism (Vol. 4, pp. 97–109), Routledge, New York, 2008) and being “beside” (Sedgwick, Touching feeling: Affect, pedagogy, performativity, Duke University Press, 2003) that may provoke new, albeit less utopic, garden geometries, discourses, and educational practices.


Grid School garden Art installation Outdoor classroom Unsettling 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Ostertag
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Lakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada
  2. 2.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

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