Mary Alice Casto
Date of this Version
Environmental degradation is considered one of the biggest issues facing humankind. The problem is deep and global with fast fashion playing a significant, yet underrealized role. Scholars have established that developing the sustainable behaviors necessary to mitigate the effects of environmental degradation is a complex process, that knowledge of environmental degradation alone is insufficient to develop sustainable behaviors, and that both attitudinal and behavioral transformations are necessary for global environmental action and stewardship. As a result, researchers have called for new approaches to environmental education to promote transformative learning.
Art experiences can function as a powerful tool in learning and transformation, but art exhibition experiences are underutilized in environmental education. This quasi-experimental study was designed to determine whether an ecological art exhibition, Canary Concepts and the Hidden Danger of Ubiquitous Things, could be associated with internal factors related to sustainable behaviors in fast fashion consumption—specifically an environmental attitude consisting of knowledge, values, and intended sustainable behaviors.
This repeated measures study compared pre-exhibition and post-exhibition knowledge, values, and intended sustainable behaviors test scores of 163 University of Nebraska-Lincoln student participants. They consisted of 148 females and 15 males ranging between 18 and 34 years-of-age. Two-tailed t-tests were used to determine whether there was a statistically significant increase in knowledge, values, and intended sustainable behaviors associated with the exhibition-intervention.
Results indicated a statistically significant increase in knowledge, values, and intended sustainable behaviors supporting the primary hypothesis that an ecological art exhibition experience can be an effective educational intervention and transformative experience. Results also demonstrated the importance of the holistic nature of the exhibition experience, as the majority of participants attributed changes in knowledge, values, and intended sustainable behaviors to the exhibition-as-a whole rather than individual labels or installations. Relationships between participants’ characteristics and changes in knowledge, values, and intended sustainable behaviors were also explored.
Advisor: Mary Alice Casto