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Fazey Ioan | Fellow Visitor
2020-02-15 - 2020-02-23 | Research area: Sustainability Research
Knowledge Systems for Sustainability

Humanity and the planet are entering a period of major, transformative change in economies, political power, human-environment relationships and technology. Whether for the good or for the bad, transformation of society is, in some way, inevitable. Humanity has therefore no option other than to try and find ways to help steward such transformations towards more equitable and sustainable futures. While science and knowledge have an important role to play in this process, these are arguably failing humanity when its impact is measured against the level of progress being made towards addressing burgeoning global environmental and social crises. For all its brilliant success, science, research and technology have also led to many of the problems to which transformative responses are now needed, including climate change, obesity, smoking, mental health, plastics in the oceans and premature deaths from air pollution. This raises important questions about the kinds of knowledge and learning needed for, and in, a transforming world.

This seminar explores some of these issues, highlighting that, in the world of 21st century challenges in which we find ourselves, nothing can be taken for granted. In effect, we are all apprentices and need to rapidly develop new ways of approaching problems. In relation to knowledge we need to accept we are all apprentices; draw on much more diverse forms of knowledge; develop wisdom about how to act in the world, not just knowledge; and unleash creativity and possibilities. This raises challenges not just for the way knowledge is produced, but also for the systems and structures supporting it. It also requires asking difficult existential questions about who we should be at the end of the world as we know it.