group discussion

Coming to terms with messiness: What is a ‘Transformation Lab’?

In this blog post, Laura Pereira explains the idea of a ‘Transformation Lab’ (T-lab). T-labs are being used in our Pathways Network project in 6 countries to try to enable socio-ecological transformations. In the post, Laura uses an example of a completed T-lab from the GRAID research project in South Africa. For a short summary…

tending vegetables

A day in the Chinampas

In the wetlands of Xochimilco in Mexico, farming is carried out in a system going back to Mesoamerican times, in chinampas – rectangular floating fields growing crops on a shallow lake. The area is changing rapidly with competing pressures from farming, urbanization and pollution, and we’ve been exploring how local people can respond to this…

Training group in Lomerio

Research, convening and bridging: sharing insights from the ISSC’s Transformative Knowledge Networks

by Adrian Ely (co-lead, ‘Pathways’ Network), with contributions from Joanes Atela, Mirna Inturias, Dylan McGarry, Iokiñe Rodríguez & Patrick Van Zwanenberg Working with the World Social Science Council’s ‘Transformations to Sustainability’ programme brings the privilege of engaging with an incredible range of scholars and practitioners from across the globe. The programme’s three transformative knowledge networks…

Open Science discussion

How can open and collaborative knowledge help to build communities?

by Adrian Smith, STEPS Centre and Patrick van Zwanenberg, STEPS America Latina Experimentation with open and collaborative ways of creating knowledge is flourishing. How might the increasing interest in initiatives such as open science, open hardware and open data lead to a transformation in knowledge production? And could this enable more inclusive and sustainable approaches…

presentation

Learning across continents on sustainable transformations: a visit from China to Africa

In early April I visited Nairobi for a four-day exchange visit to the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), as part of a project on Transformative Pathways to Sustainability funded by the World Social Science Council (ISSC). The project explores different sustainability challenges in 6 countries (Kenya, China, UK, Mexico, Argentina and India). The China…

Boundary object

How rethinking local people’s agency could help navigate Xochimilco’s troubled waters

Xochimilco, Mexico City is the last remnant of the complex lacustrine system of wetlands that was the basis for agriculture and livelihoods (the chinampa system) in pre-Columbian times. However, the water is no longer provided by natural springs, but is reliant on the discharge of treated wastewater from the neighboring, densely populated and impoverished borough…

Argentina workshop

Could new alliances for seeds in Argentina be a way to nurture agricultural diversity?

Over the last three decades there has been an unprecedented process of concentration in world and regional seed markets. Seed R&D has shifted from being widely distributed over hundreds of medium and large seed firms and public sector institution to being heavily concentrated in just five or six multinational agro-chemical firms.

Mobile phone with Kenyan shillings

How can solar power be part of transformations to sustainability in Kenya?

Transforming pro-poor energy access is a priority goal for many countries in Africa. Many poorer households are not connected to the grid, so use kerosene, paraffin or batteries, or have to travel to charge mobile phones. In Kenya, solar home systems (SHS) via mobile payment systems are tackling this problem by giving access to renewable…

Cement factory sending fumes up into the sky.

Exploring the social impacts of green transformations in China

pA transformation lab (T-Lab) focused on China’s green transformation policy and its impacts was held in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province on October 22, 2016. The T-lab intended to identify  problems created through the implementation of local “green transformation” policies and sustainable pathways for the future. It was entitled “Transformative pathways to sustainability: Exploring the social…

People sit around a table talking about sustainable food systems.

Why local land matters for sustainable food systems

Land presents both challenges and opportunities for establishing sustainable food systems. That is one of the learning points from a workshop in Brighton on 7 December 2016. Stakeholders joining the discussions included local small-scale producers, retailers of sustainable produce, non-governmental organisations (Food Matters and The Gaia Foundation), and researchers from the University of Sussex and…