Roundtable: What does ‘transformation(s) to sustainability’ mean today?

Thursday, 4 March at 15h–16h CET

On 4 March 2021 the Transformations to Sustainability (T2S) programme convened three leading scholars and practitioners – Ulrich Brand, Cheikh Mbow and Karen O’Brien – for a roundtable discussion of some of the critical questions for research on transformations to sustainability, including:

  • What are the minimum elements of a definition/conceptualization of transformation (to sustainability)? What can and should we agree on?
  • How do we recognize transformation and distinguish it from other kinds of change, particularly as it is happening?
  • When is research itself transformative?
  • What if anything is the COVID-19 pandemic teaching us about ‘transformation’ and ‘transformative research’?

The discussion was moderated by Susanne Moser.

Listen to the recording of the discussion here.


Contact

Sarah Moore
Science Officer

Learn more about the T2S programme at t2sresearch.org

📨 To keep up to date with T2S programme events and outputs, sign up for the quarterly Transformations to Sustainability newsletter.


Related resources

Check out some of the following reflections on transformation and transformative research:

Presentations (of ca. 25 mins) at the Transformations to Sustainability launch event in 2014 on questions such as:

  • What is transformation? What does it look like? (Joseph Tainter, Frances Westley, Mary Watkins, Frans Berkhout)
  • Can transformations towards desired futures be facilitated, steered or managed? (Melissa Leach, Enrique Leff)
  • What does transformative science look like? (Ed Hackett)

https://transformationstosustainability.org/research/understanding-transformations/

Film (11 mins) on ‘Transformations in Practice’, recorded at the Transformations Conference 2019, in Dundee.
https://transformationstosustainability.org/magazine/new-video-towards-transformations-practice/

Talk by Giuseppe Feola on 9 February 2021 reviewing uses of the term ‘transformation’ since 2010: ‘Transformation to sustainability: theoretical roots and (some) research directions’.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESWc-VMbIvc

Brand, U. 2016. “Transformation” as a New Critical Orthodoxy: The Strategic Use of the Term “Transformation” Does Not Prevent Multiple Crises. GAIA – Ecological Perspectives on Science and Society 25(1):23-27. DOI: 10.14512/gaia.25.1.7

Brand, U. and Wissen, M. 2021. The Imperial Mode of Living. Everyday Life and the Ecological Crisis of Capitalism. Verso. https://www.versobooks.com/books/3691-the-imperial-mode-of-living

O’Brien, K. 2018. Is the 1.5°C target possible? Exploring the three spheres of transformation. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2018, 31:153–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2018.04.010


Please let us know if you know of other open access films or written reflections on the meaning of ‘transformations’ and ‘transformative science for sustainability’, by writing to us at transformations@council.science


Header photo: Bankim Desai via unsplash.

Share: