Fisher in watery landscape with city buildings in background

Project dates: 2018-2022

Follow TAPESTRY on Twitter: @Tapestry_T2S

The TAPESTRY research project explores how transformation may arise ‘from below’ in marginal environments with high levels of uncertainty.

We look at transformative alliances between actors (local communities, NGOs, scientists and state agencies) that are seeking socially just and ecologically sound alternatives based on local people’s plural understandings of what transformation entails.  These ‘patches’ of transformation have the potential to grow or merge with others.

TAPESTRY is short for ‘Transformation as Praxis: Exploring Socially Just and Transdisciplinary Pathways to Sustainability in Marginal Environments’.

Project flyer

Read a summary of our project in English, Marathi, Bengali or Gujarati.

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Marathi (PDF)

Bengali (PDF)

Gujarati (PDF)



Transformation as praxis: responding to climate change uncertainties in marginal environments in South Asia
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, April 2021

Challenging the Environment: Uncertain Pathways to Transformation in/for India
D Parthasary, Les Cahiers d’Outre-Mer, 281 | 2020, 5-16

Media coverage

Quest for survival or to the claws of death? Dhaka Tribune, October 2021

Where getting drinkable water is an everyday struggle, Dhaka Tribune, June 2021

How people are learning disaster preparedness through a traditional folk art, Dhaka Tribune, June 2021


TAPESTRY focuses on three ‘patches of transformation’ in India and Bangladesh – vulnerable coastal areas of Mumbai, the Sundarbans and Kutch.

In these areas, we are exploring how hybrid alliances and innovative practices are reimagining sustainable development, and inspiring societal transformation.

Explore the cases


TAPESTRY events at COP26
Glasgow, UK
7-10 November 2021

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Transformation as Praxis in Marginal Environments
Lecture by Lyla Mehta, September 2021

Part of the lecture series Imagining the Environment: Climate Change, Rivers and Political Ecology in India, hosted by Riverine Rights and based at the OsloMet University, Oslo

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TAPESTRY Roundtable, 26 August 2021
Roundtable on risks to Mumbai and other Indian coastal cities in the context of climate change

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Through the Eyes of the Kolis: A reflection on Mumbai’s past, present & future
Panel discussion, 21 August 2021

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SUNDARBANS WITHOUT BOUNDARIES: Co-creating Transformative Knowledge and Action – 26 July 2021

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Transformations Conference – June 2021

Panels at the 2021 Transformations Conference organised by TAPESTRY project members.

Sessions at Gobeshona Conference – January 2021

Transforming Environments from the Bottom Up – Examples from Marginal Environments in India:

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Sundarbans without boundaries:

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WEBINAR: 16 July 2020 Transformations in and beyond Covid-19 in India and Bangladesh

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Climate change uncertainties, especially at the local level, are one of the main challenges to social and ecological sustainability, calling for systemic transformative changes. While uncertainty can make anxieties about the future seem worse, it can also provide an opportunity to create transformation and deep structural change.

In coastal areas, people live with such uncertainty every day. But there are examples of citizens, governments and researchers working together to respond to them. This includes alliances to restore coastal ecosystems, support pastoralist livelihoods, or develop new agricultural methods. From these ‘patches’, we can learn about how transformation happens locally and how it can link to wider change.

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.

Who’s involved

TAPESTRY is organised in a transnational and transdisciplinary consortium across the UK, India, Bangladesh, Norway and Japan.

Project leader: Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Studies l.mehta@ids.ac.uk

Co-Investigators: D Parthasarathy (IIT Bombay), Nobu Ohte (Kyoto University) and Synne Movik (Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Principal and Co-Investigating institutions

  • Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay)
  • Kyoto University, Japan


  • Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay)
  • Kyoto University, Japan
  • Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)
  • Sahjeevan, Gujarat
  • International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh
  • Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE)
  • Indian Institute of Public Health Bhubaneswar (IIPHB)
  • All-India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI)
  • Bombay 61
  • Conservation Action Trust (CAT)
  • Caritas-India
  • Caritas-Bangladesh
  • University of Oslo, Norway
  • University of Sussex, UK
  • Hunnarshala Foundation, India
  • Mangrove Cell, Maharashtra
  • Welthungerhilfe

Funding and acknowledgements

The TAPESTRY project is financially supported by the Belmont Forum and NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Transformations to Sustainability, which is co-funded by ESRC, RCN, JST, ISC, and the European Commission through Horizon 2020.

European Commission            

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