World Social Science Report 2013: Navigating pathways in the safe and just space for humanity

A framework for negotiating pathways to a safe and just sustainable future for people and planet is presented by Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre director, in a new article for the World Social Science Report 2013, launched today. Prof. Leach and her co-authors Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) and economist Kate Raworth, combine…

Big stories, little stories

This is the (slightly edited) text of my talk at Communicate 2013, in a session called “liberating stories”. The pictures are some of the slides I used. The brief was to provide some suggestions about the role of the social sciences in ‘liberating stories’ for environmental communicators, through memorable examples. I only had 10 minutes…

COP19: Cutting edge policy research

The ESRC STEPS Centre is seeking to address the many different impacts that climate change has on peoples’ lives and livelihoods in sustainable ways that work for people and planet, using their own knowledge and expertise through our research with partners around the world. The COP19 United Nations summit on climate change in Warsaw, Poland (11-22 November 2013) played…

New book: land deals and the state

A new book examines the state’s role in land deals through theoretical insights and empirical studies from around the globe. Governing Global Land Deals: The Role of the State in the Rush for Land analyses the relationships between global land grabs and processes of government and governance. STEPS co-director Ian Scoones is among the editors….

Who knows best when creating technology?

What attempts are being made to ‘improve reality’ and who are the real beneficiaries of bids to mould the future to the vision of a few, powerful actors? STEPS Centre PhD student Justin Pickard explored a variety of inititaives to improve reality on a global scale as part of a session at the Brighton Digital Festival last…

The Water Cookbook: Bhagwati Prasad’s strange and beautiful illustrations from peri-urban Delhi

I’ve just come across a copy of The Water Cookbook which I was given by Lyla Mehta, produced by part of our project looking at water conflicts in peri-urban Delhi. It’s an amazing set of illustrations by Bhagwati Prasad of the Delhi-based research centre Sarai programme, which uses art and media to respond to and…

Don’t believe the hype: Who authors our futures?

A chain of technological developments set into motion by chemist and physicist Gordon Moore more than 45 years ago is still resonating in technological choices being made today, says Justin Pickard, a STEPS Centre PhD student, in a blogpost for The Guardian published today. Justin, who is researching the relationship between uncertainty, infrastructure and grassroots innovation and working…

Living on the edge: Rethinking aid amidst complexity

By Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre director These days, a remarkably short and convenient flight takes one from Sussex UK –  where among other STEPS Centre activities this week I’ve been contributing to the post-2015 global sustainable development goals process and the international Future Earth Science Committee  – and Sierra Leone. Here, I’m on my way…

Where branding and sustainability collide

By Nathan Oxley, Communications Officer, STEPS Centre Peace Parks sound lovely, don’t they? I mean, who would be against the idea of creating a nature reserve across national borders to promote co-operation, development and conservation? Sign in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, South Africa Bram Büscher (Institute of Social Studies), who gave a STEPS Centre Seminar last…

From Uncertainty in India to low carbon in Kenya: Our autumn newsletter is out now

Our autumn 2013 newsletter gives a snapshot of a few of the areas we are researching right now.  A new briefing looks at how people deal with uncertainty about climate, disease or natural disasters in India, while new resources highlight pathways of pro-poor energy access in Kenya.  A new policy briefing examines how science and politics must be engaged in a post-2015 framework, while…