New ‘TAPESTRY’ project on transformations from below in uncertain environments

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A new project involving STEPS is one of twelve awarded funding by the Belmont Forum and NORFACE joint programme Transformations to Sustainability (T2S).

The project is entitled TAPESTRY: Transformation as Praxis – Exploring Socially Just and Transdisciplinary Pathways to Sustainability in Marginal Environments. It is organised in a transnational and transdisciplinary consortium across the UK, India, Bangladesh, Norway and Japan. The Principal Investigator is Prof Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies/STEPS Centre).

About the project

Starting in late 2018, the TAPESTRY project will examine how transformation may arise ‘from below’ in marginal environments with high levels of uncertainty.

Climate change uncertainties, especially at the local level, constitute one of the main challenges to the sustainability of societies and ecosystems, calling for systemic transformative changes.

While uncertainty can exacerbate anxieties about the future, it can also provide an opportunity to create transformation and deep structural change.

TAPESTRY focuses on three ‘patches of transformation’ in India and Bangladesh – vulnerable coastal areas of Mumbai, the Sundarbans and Kutch – where hybrid alliances and innovative practices are reimagining sustainable development and inspiring societal transformation.

Woman walking along a soil embankment
A woman walks along an embankment in the Sundarbans. People in the region experience uncertainties over the climate and other kinds of social and environmental change. Photo: STEPS

Its conceptual innovation lies in studying transformation as praxis, by putting bottom-up change and the agency of marginalised people at the centre and by analysing how co-produced transformations can be scaled up and out.

The project’s outcomes and impact will inform processes to improve the quality of life of marginalised people affected by climate change related uncertainties, build action and capacity amongst all partners whilst generating evidence of how bottom-up transformation can take place in marginal environments.

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