Head in the clouds, feet on the ground: how transdisciplinary learning can foster transformative change—insights from a summer school

Sara Atienza Casas, Camille Calicis, Sebastian Candiago, Nicolas Dendoncker, Jomme Desair, Thomas Fickel, Eirik Aasmo Finne, Christine Frison, Maria Haensel, Malte Hinsch, Tyler Kulfan, Joy A. Kumagai, Oleksandr Mialyk, Maximilian Nawrath, Fiona Nevzati, Carla Washbourne, Thea Wübbelmann

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a pressing need for transformative change, with a vision of long-term human well-being within planetary boundaries. The lack of progress—despite increasing awareness and action—illustrates how challenging it is to foster change in our complex global society. Education and learning are needed to enable change. Transdisciplinary learning, which meaningfully integrates diverse knowledge and perspectives, contributes to developing an integrative understanding—a necessity for tackling complex challenges. We explore how transdisciplinary learning for early-career researchers can foster transformative change and lead to increased biodiversity conservation. This paper focuses on a case study of the authors’ shared experiences during the 2021 Alternet Summer School, which focused on transformative change for biodiversity conservation and human well-being. In this introspective research, we gained insights through an online survey for participants and organizers of the summer school (n = 27). Using qualitative content analysis, we identify seven crucial elements of transdisciplinary learning which can lead to transformative change on (a) a personal level, as the learning process shifts values and helps researchers identify their roles; (b) a research level, by rethinking science and providing tools for transdisciplinary approaches, and (c) a societal level, by moving from the individual to the collective and constructing a shared vision for a sustainable future. Participants highlighted how changes on all these levels could benefit biodiversity conservation. These insights point to the benefit of transdisciplinary learning opportunities that empower young researchers to take up their part in fostering transformative change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
ISSN1572-9710
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18-May-2023

Thematic List 2020

  • Nature & society
  • Other

Thematic list

  • Conservation

Policy

  • education policy

Free keywords

  • Transformative change
  • Transdisciplinary education
  • transformatieve verandering
  • transdisciplinair onderwijs
  • reflectief onderzoek
  • levenslang leren
  • Best poster talk

    Desair, Jomme (Recipient), Wübbelmann, T. (Recipient), Haensel, M. (Recipient) & Nevzati, F. (Recipient), 12-Oct-2022

    Prize: Distinctions

  • A4Cap first assembly

    Jomme Desair (Participant), Louise Vercruysse (Participant), Anna Heck (Participant), Francis Turkelboom (Participant), Nicolas Dendoncker (Participant) & Tyler Kulfan (Participant)

    4-Mar-202310-Mar-2023

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conference, workshop, training, seminar, meeting

  • Alternet Conference 2022

    Jomme Desair (Participant)

    16-Jun-2022

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conference, workshop, training, seminar, meeting

  • Alternet Summerschool 2021

    Jomme Desair (Participant)

    6-Oct-202116-Oct-2021

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conference, workshop, training, seminar, meeting

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