Open Conversations: Workshop facilitator Susanna Barrineau on education for sustainable development
29 January 2020
On the 3-6 February, the Open Conversations workshop series for students, lecturers and researchers will take place at Campus Gotland. The aim is to explore how higher education can address sustainability challenges. This is an interview with workshop facilitator Susanna Barrineau.
Why are you organising this event?
"One of the roles of the ESD Learning Lab is to experiment around how Campus Gotland may build its capacity to meet wicked sustainability challenges. On the other hand, the Climate Change Leadership initiative is currently focusing on the role of university education in a world with a changing climate. Our hope is that these workshops can bring together and build knowledge about how campus education and research could be reorganized and renewed in light of these issues. This means finding ways that education, or more specifically the curriculum, can be responsive to the needs of us as learners and the planet, and not only tied to a predetermined static idea of skills and facts necessary to work with sustainability. This we can only do together!"
What will happen during the week?
"Over the course of four days, we will meet around different topics, such as what it is to practice democracy in education, how can we initiate sustainable change processes, and how can we engage with uncertain futures in our education and research? This is an opportunity for staff and students to voice their ideas about how to tap into the existing competencies and capacities on Campus already, but also look critically at ourselves and our practice. What gaps are there and how can we fill them?"
Is this initiative a critique on current education?
"Current institutional structures and educational culture pose challenges to education and research processes that take seriously current sustainability challenges. These conversations are an invitation to look critically at how and why we are doing education today and what types of approaches that could contribute to increased capacity of universities, and those working within them, to address sustainability challenges."
Why should students and staff participate?
"Staff and students are the experts here; there is so much capacity, knowledge and experience on Campus that, if brought into conversation, has the potential to create astonishing things. We hope these workshops are an opportunity to connect with others on Campus around sustainability issues and think about how we can collectively engage in the transition that needs to happen in light of current and future challenges."
What are your expectations?
"Our hope is to build on the existing work of Campus Gotland and creatively brainstorm some concrete steps forward for inter- and transdisciplinary education and research."