Carla Macchiavello

On Coastal Curriculum


“What is coastal curriculum?” one asked.

“What are we here to learn?” wondered another.

Cards were drawn at water’s edge. Lines were traced in the sand. Sticks were raised next to rocks. A snake passed. Voices from different continents threaded memories together. Washed by the wind, a loosely woven conversation sprung.

What is coastal curriculum?

If a curriculum is a series of subjects composing a class, a common set of knowledges, is a coastal curriculum that which is learned at the place where the sea meets the land? Is it defined by the learning, the contents, by the place, by the meeting of learning bodies at a specific location that some name “the coast” and what emerges from it? But where do we find it? The coast and the curriculum? Or are both co-created as we move along this unstable place? And why did we come to this place?

Maps seem to know well what a coastline is. They assert the distinction between mass and water with the crisp bluntness of authority. But we know these maps speak of histories drawn by a few human hands, and the coast seems to exceed this shifting border zone of contact. Above and below. We go to the coast and the line keeps changing places, we know the waters will continue to rise as we heat up this place called earth. But if that line keeps moving around, can never be fixed, not even in the beautiful fiction of a map, …

And if we are all bodies of water, where does the coast begin and end?


What is coastal curriculum?

A meeting of matters, a mushy, soft encounter? A loosely woven conversation between water, air, flesh, minerals, slime? A meeting of differing bodies, where something that doesn’t exist occurs. A line that keeps moving, connecting water…. A drawing of cards, lines left and washed in the sand.

Carla María Macchiavello