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Reforming an Ecology of Care out of concern for care

What is care? That is the main question which the Ecology of Care project has been designed to investigate.

We have to rethink a concept of care that addresses the socio-technical imbalance; that fits into a modern society but that prioritises human values. In this way, services, products, systems and environments can be considered in a more holistic, ‘whole of ecology’ way.

The formwork for recalibrating the concept of care was laid at the international Ecology of Care symposium held at the SDU Copenhagen campus on Friday 20th February.

Guests from 7 countries representing 20 different industry, government and academic fields were gathered together for a one-day intensive think-tank to consider two important frameworks.

Care within different frameworks

  • The first was described as the Four Dimensions of Care – the dimensions of everyday experience, CARE (consciousness, awareness, response and ecology), projection and time. These dimensions constitute a way to structure our understanding of the manner in which all humans exist in the world.
  • The second framework for discussion at the symposium contained what was described as the Qualities of Care. These are ways of identifying how we might apply Care or the means for identifying good care. In all fourteen Qualities of Care were discussed including Care as human mattering, as dignifying, as enabling, as balancing and many others (see a full list on the website). We propose these qualities as a starting place for formulating or identifying Caring actions within any industry or field and provide the basis for further exploration of the concept of Care – past, present and future.

The symposium will define further work

"The success of this event will pave the way for our next project which will bring together industry leaders and thinkers from around the globe who have the expertise to envisage practical applications and guidelines for implementing an Ecology of Care in their field. We see this as a new field of study that has practical application and ecological significance in many forms of human endeavour. It is an idea of our time, for our time," said Associate Professor Ian Coxon.

The Ecology of Care project is led by Associate Professor Ian Coxon and Professor Craig Bremner with assistance from Dr Jesper Jensen and Laura LaCava, all from the Institute of Technology and Innovation.

More information and details of the Care framework can be found at the Ecology of Care website.