waves on a beach

Waves of challenging research for sustainability

by Patricia Pérez Belmont, Umbela Transformaciones Sostenibles How can research methods inform and catalyse change towards more sustainable worlds? Last month, the STEPS Centre held an online event to launch a series on the theme of ‘Challenging Research’. Over the last 15 years, STEPS has worked to shift discourses on the politics of sustainability to…

DNA strands

A crossroads for ‘genome editing’ in Europe – questions, options and dilemmas

A new policy briefing on genome editing discusses choices and dilemmas facing policy makers and societal stakeholders in the European Union and the United Kingdom. The UK is considering changing its rules on ‘genome editing’ of crops, which would mean these technologies would be less tightly regulated than in the EU. A public consultation ends…

Buba river

How do we ‘decolonise’ research methodologies?

by Nora Ndege and Joel Onyango, Africa Research and Impact Network / African Centre for Technology Studies This blog post is part of the STEPS Centre’s 2021 theme on Methods. Researchers and the research community are increasingly asked to reflect on various research methods that can have positive outcomes and impacts on society, and challenge…

Change mural

Post-pandemic transformations: new directions for development studies?

by Melissa Leach, Hayley MacGregor and Ian Scoones Does the pandemic reveal new directions for development studies? This was the focus of discussion at a recent IDS seminar. A new paper in World Development on ‘post-pandemic transformations’ by a group of us at IDS was the starting point. Although the pandemic is far from over, some…

Challenging sustainability research: how can methods make a difference?

 by Marina Apgar and Rose Cairns, Methods theme convenors In this introductory blogpost for the STEPS theme on Methods, we discuss three meanings of sustainability research as ‘challenging research’. Methods make a difference to the potential of research to challenge power; yet power also deeply shapes the way research is framed, carried out and interpreted….

The STEPS Centre’s final year: reflections on a 15-year journey

by Ian Scoones and Andy Stirling, STEPS co-directors 2021 is the final year of the ESRC STEPS Centre. Established in 2006, but with an even longer backstory, we have come a long way. This blog post reflects on the journey, and looks forward to the future. As the formal version of the Centre at Sussex…

weird flower

“The world has become weird”: crisis, natures and radical re-enchantment

In this essay, Amber Huff and Nathan Oxley reflect on questions that have emerged through Natures, the STEPS Centre’s theme throughout 2020. Dear Reader, I hope that this essay finds you well in these turbulent times. When we last reached out in this format nearly one year ago, at the beginning of 2020, it was…

comic illustration

The Killing Famine: an outsider’s view of conservation and colonialism

The Killing Famine is an original comic by the artist Tim Zocco, who has been working with the STEPS Centre throughout 2020. In this piece, Tim Zocco reflects on a strange encounter with mining and conservation in Madagascar, leading to a glimpse into a horrifying chapter in the country’s colonial history. The most successful liars…

Weird ecologies

In this short post, Amber Huff (STEPS/IDS) and Adrian Nel (University of KwaZulu Natal) introduce the idea of ‘weird ecologies’ and explains why ‘the Weird’ has such an enduring appeal in culture and philosophy. The piece is followed by an original comic by Tim Zocco for the STEPS Natures year, a weird expedition into the…

Union flag made of farm produce

Genome editing in post-Brexit agriculture: Which way for the UK?

Angela Noland, Dominic Glover and Adrian Ely In less than a month’s time, the UK’s relationship with the European Union will change dramatically. Agriculture and food will be among the biggest areas affected – from production methods and supply routes to labelling and product standards. A lot will depend on the outcomes of trade negotiations….