It is a term to describe the changed orientation that CreaTures’ transformations would lead to. Being Creaturely is to be alive to possibility.
With the clear failures of leadership in addressing climate change and other ecological crises, a crucial task before us is to change how we dwell in the world. There is an urgent need to understand how to imagine and enact cultural change. Change that enables us to find meaning in care and fairness, not consumption and acquisition. This asks more of us than just adopting sustainable behaviour. Instead, it requires us to think and act ‘eco-socially’. This also means foregrounding climate justice and the protection of ecologies, as well as a commitment to solidarity and compassion across species. The CreaTures transformative practices encourage this creaturely-ness. Being creaturely incorporates our understanding of eco-social change: it is post-capitalist, playful, more-than-human and fundamentally relational. It embodies change, recognizing the importance of our bodies, our emotions and ‘sentipensar’ (a term coined by Colombian sociologist Orlando Fals Borda to express a holistic, inclusive way of engaging through feeling-thinking). Creaturely ways of doing aim at capturing the paradoxical connectedness and separateness of being alive, at enabling us to become the change we want to see.
Given the struggle for language that talks of changing/changed ways of being, we offer creaturely as a placeholder for more gentle, connected, pluralist and life-focused ways of doing, being and making. The term is an adverb, not a noun — it points to a way, not a state. Where it’s etymology points to something ‘created [by God]’, here we stress something that has a spark of life of its own. We do not mean it to refer only to animals, but to all instances of life and being.
The CreaTures research has been undertaken in this creaturely spirit. Multiple intellectual strands have been woven tightly together through an interdependence between ideas, processes and members. It involved an ambitious plan for the co-creation of research between academic and practitioner partners, as well as recognising the whole person as researcher and learner (and with no expectation for emotional objectivity to accompany professional analytic objectivity). It is based upon a rhetoric of care, a resistance to abstraction for the sake of it and to extractive practices that give nothing back; and sought to produce analyses that are deeply situated and contextualized in the richness of our worlds. The aggregation of our action research leads to more than the sum of its parts.