Transformations to Sustainability is a Belmont Forum-NORFACE Joint Research Programme

In the September 2020 edition: Transformations research in times of disruption

This newsletter highlights many new or reshaped and revised initiatives emerging from the Transformations to Sustainability research community in the context of the ongoing pandemic. Over the past months, we've heard how fieldwork is being restarted and - in some cases - restructured around safety measures, how physical meetings have moved online, and how digital learning spaces are being developed to exchange ideas in the absence of in-person interactions.

A series of reflections resulting from the (virtual) T2S midterm workshop explore how the new context is affecting research and processes of transformation in different places around the world. They ask the fundamental question of whether the pandemic can be seen as an opportunity for transformative change, and if so, how to move towards a transformation that is environmentally and socially just. We hope you will enjoy reading them.

All best wishes from the T2S Secretariat team
Truepath Weather stations 1_horizontal_crop

Challenges and opportunities for transformations to sustainability amidst a global pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and measures taken to control its spread are continuing to affect all of the Transformations to Sustainability projects, and to spark new thinking about transformative processes and sustainability in times of disruption.

Frederic Huybrechs told us how fieldwork was restarting in Nicaragua - albeit slowly and differently - for the TruePATH project.

Linnea Beckett shared how virtual workshops have emphasised the importance of the T2SGS project as a horizontal learning process focused on people’s practices on the ground

Vangelis Pitidis explains how researchers and practitioners from the UK and Brazil connected via a multi-day virtual workshop for Waterproofing Data

And Fabio de Castro shared how the AGENTS project has adapted its multi-stakeholder dialogue in Peru to become a series of online workshops

A round-up of all publications and initiatives relating to COVID-19 can be found here.

More blogs and opinion from the T2S community:

Photo Kunal Shinde via unsplash

A New Future for Conservation: Setting out the principles of post-growth conservation

As the UN biodiversity summit gets underway (virtually), take a look at this recent blog which offers inspiration and hope for positive transformations in times of disruption. Its authors include researchers and activists involved in both the first and second phases of the Transformations to Sustainability programme.

Read more

Migration and climate change in South Asia

What happens when spatial diversification of livelihoods is not an option anymore? Amina Maharjan, Ricardo Safra de Campos and Chandni Singh (MISTY project) explore how compounding risks - COVID-19, climate change, and livelihood insecurity - are affecting migrants in South Asia.

Read more on our blog

Resources round-up: latest publications from the T2S community

Articles, book chapters, media coverage and more from the T2S programme projects and related research...

Read more

Reading and viewing recommendations from our network

Towards a non-extractive and care-driven academia

Frederic Huybrechs (TruePATH) says: "This is an insightful, thought-provoking and actionable piece". It's written by a collective of critical geography and development scholars who "offer some thoughts on how we might reclaim what the university could be – a place that equips people with the knowledge they need to unlearn/unmake/dismantle the framings and worldviews that lend themselves to white supremacy and other forms of oppression more broadly.'"

Neville, K. J. (2020). "Shadows of Divestment: The Complications of Diverting Fossil Fuel Finance." Global Environmental Politics 20(2): 3-11.

Frederic Huybrechs (TruePATH) says: "A very clear and accessible article which points to some of the pitfalls and possible contradictions related to ‘divestment'. These are questions we struggle with ourselves as we are researching the role of (micro-)finance in transformative change".

Brazil's favelas forced to fight coronavirus alone, DW News

Recommended by Vangelis Pitidis (Waterproofing Data), who highlights the focus on how informal communities in Brazil are self-organizing to protect more vulnerable members of the community from the devastating impact of COVID-19, in the absence of state intervention.

Changing Course: A look into transformative river management in Durban

A new mini-documentary exploring how transformative climate adaptation is exemplified by various river management programmes in Durban, South Africa, has been produced by researchers in the Leading Integrated Research in Africa for Agenda 2020 (LIRA 2030 Africa) programme, which is coordinated by the International Science Council (ISC) alongside the Transformations to Sustainability programme.

The video shows how the LIRA project partners with other local initiatives to improve river management in a collaborative manner in Durban, South Africa. It shares inspiring examples of real local efforts that aim to advance sustainable urban development. You can watch the brief film on our website.

Funding calls and other opportunities:

Global Sustainability: Call for papers on transformations
Global Sustainability, an Open Access journal dedicated to sustainability research, has recently released a call for papers for a forthcoming special collection dedicated to Transformations. The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2021, and the full call is available on our website.

Knowledge Frontiers: International Interdisciplinary Research 2021

The British Academy is inviting proposals for international, interdisciplinary projects which focus on the interaction between technology, nature and humanity, and which are led by UK-based researchers at any career stage, and active in any discipline within the social sciences and the humanities. Awards of 24 months in duration and up to £200,000 are available. The deadline for submissions is 21 October 2020.

Find out more.

Launching a new Research and Action programme on ‘Emergent Agency in a Time of Covid’

Emergent Agency in a Time of Covid-19’, a collaboration between Oxfam and the LSE’s Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity (AFSEE) programme, is looking to connect with researchers and organizations who have been observing how people are responding to the COVID pandemic at a local level by acting, organizing and learning, in order to gather and exchange knowledge.

Find out more.

Connect with the T2S Community

It's 'World Commons Week' and a large number of webinars and other virtual events are taking place to exchange ideas and to celebrate and expand the research and practice of commons. We've picked out a few events that involve members of the T2S community and which you can register for now:
JTRC Webinar Series: Justice in Low-Carbon Transitions
From 6 October 2020

The Just Transition Research Collaborative (JTRC) is organizing a webinar series to discuss key issues in the current debates on just transition to low-carbon development. The series aims to bring together a combination of researchers, activists and policy makers to discuss both the equity and justice norms underlying different concepts of and approaches to Just Transitions.

Kicking off on 06 October at 16:00 CEST, the series will start with a discussion of different framings and the design politics of just transitions that shape current debates on low-carbon development and recovery from COVID.

Extracting us: ‘Extractivism’ from feminist perspectives
‘Extracting us’ is an online exhibition and conversation on the feminist political ecologies of extractivism, and it’s open now. Find out more and join the conversation on the Extracting us website, and visit the TAPESTRY collective’s featured project ‘On Extraction and Debilitating Livelihoods‘.

Transformations 2021: Enabling Positive Tipping Points
8-10 September 2021
Barcelona, Spain

SAVE THE DATE for the next edition of the Transformations International Conference Series and Community of Practice.

Sustainability Research & Innovation 2020 POSTPONED TO 2021
Exact date TBC - mid-2021
Brisbane, Australia

See our website for all forthcoming events.
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