SDG Transformations Forum
An Invitation to:
SDG Transformations Forum Gatherings
Gathering 1: Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019
Gathering 2: Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany
This is an open invitation to all those who are currently involved with, and interested in learning about and exploring involvement in, the SDG Transformatons Forum. We anticipate that about a dozen of the Forum’s leadership will be present. This meeting will build on the Leverage Points conference in general, and on a half dozen sessions organized by Forum participants in particular. You may want to participate in just Saturday, Feb. 9, just Sunday, Feb. 10 or both. These are both participatory events.
Saturday, Feb. 9 will include (1) an introduction to the Forum and its theory of transformational change and action, (2) discussion of key lessons gained during the Forum’s first 18 months of activity as part of a developmental evaluation process, (3) advancement of the Forum’s business model, and (4) action planning where those present will define priorities and directions aligning with their interests and work. For more information contact Steve Waddell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, Feb. 10 will feature a highly participatory workshop to advance co-creation of a common measurement system for place-based transformations efforts, such as those developed by the Leverage Points project in Germany and Romania, ones being developed with the Regenerative Communities network and others. This meeting, presented by COBALT (a division of SustainaMetrix) will kick-off a 12-month process, and welcome people to consider participating in a project associated with the Evaluation for Transformations Working Group and Future Earth Coasts to co-create a meta-measurement (baseline) system for place-based transformation work. For more information go here. This is a full day workshop. For more information please contact Glenn Page: gpage@sustainaMetrix.com
The Forum acknowledges with great appreciation the support of the Leverage Points Conference team and Leuphana University, to make these gatherings possible.
Belmont Forum scoping workshop
Belmont Forum scoping workshop: Sustainable Development Pathways
Date: February 7th, 2018 10:30 – 16:00
Location: Room 40.704
The Belmont Forum and its partners recognize that we currently lack a truly integrated, comprehensive qualitative and quantitative understanding of sustainable development pathways that account for the inter-linkages between the economy, technology, environment, climate, and human development, and that anchor within the constraints of a sustainable Earth system. The viability of achieving these multiple social-economic-environmental planetary goals simultaneously needs to be assessed. To help provide a science base for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Belmont Forum and partners are exploring integrated qualitative and quantitative approaches to develop transformation pathways for sustainable development. This challenge needs direct input from the international research community and stakeholders to discuss critical questions or issues around the topic.
During this scoping workshop we seek to bring together, funders and researchers to understand the potential priorities for research regarding SDG development pathways. The desired outcome of the workshop would be walking away with knowing where we think the community is regarding research progress and current activities, and with an idea of the research that needs to be supported to meet those goals. This engagement can help directly gauge the research community’s readiness to address these research challenges; identify the need for further networking and community building.
The workshop is open to all Leverage Points 2019 conference attendees, please RSVP using this link
Participatory Timeline for Transformation (T4T)
6-8th February in the Conference foyer
Since large scale systems change (transformation) is a major theme of the leverage points conference, we propose to create a knowledge co-production exercise during the three days of the Conference to engage all participants and co-create an actual timeline with the theme of LEVERAGE POINTS of TRANSFORMATION. The goal is to capture the emergence and development of transformation and key leverage points that have advanced the field regarding research, policy and practice. A well-crafted timeline can be a useful tool that illustrates historical and current dynamics that can be quite useful in considering the potential future trajectory of a given place, sector or thematic area – in this case it would be dedicated to the concept of transformation.
There will be designated area in the foyer of the conference building where conference participants can contribute to a collaborative process to document the historical evolution of the concept of transformation, the legacy of past events and their potential to constrain or enhance intervention efforts in the present and future (living labs, T-Labs, brightspots etc.). Developing a timeline of leverage points of transformation, and comparing events across different topics and scales, can bring people together toward a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities of transformative work. Constructing a timeline together as a group clarifies for a larger group what has been, what is, and helps to set the stage for what could be.
We intend to develop a basic framework for constructing a timeline with both systems thinking and complexity concepts embedded in the final design engaging artists and creative scribing to generate visually compelling systems map over time that could be a model for place-based or thematic based initiatives around the world. Timelines are best considered a work in progress, never fully complete and always subject to refinement and adjustment, however, the process and product could be documented as an action-oriented research endeavor that is published after the conference.
Given that leverage points are “places in complex systems where a small shift may lead to fundamental changes in the system” (Meadows, 1999). The Timeline for Transformation T4T project is examining historical examples of levers such as actual policies or interventions that target intervention points in a system and something has happened as a result. Since Meadows identified twelve such places to intervene, we have aggregated these twelve ‘places’ to four (broad and interacting) system characteristics that will be used as common language to describe specific events that may have served as interventions towards large scale system change (aka transformation). The four system characteristics are:
- Parameters – tangible system properties such as taxes, standards, information that are typically targeted by policy makers to effect system change.
- Feedbacks – the internal system dynamics that amplify or dampen the effects of specific levers.
- Design – The social structures, rules and institutions that manage feedbacks and parameters.
- Intent – The underpinning values, goals and worldviews of actors and institutions that shape the emergent direction to which a system is oriented.
These four system characteristics represent a nested hierarchy of tightly interacting realms of leverage from ‘shallow’—places where interventions have been relatively easy to implement yet with potentially limited transformational change, to ‘deep’ leverage points that might be more difficult to alter but have resulted in more transformational change.
The T4T will be open throughout the day – but there will be people stationed at the site in the morning and in the evening and at breaks.. When there is no one there, there will be clear instructions for what to do. People who want to contribute to the T4T will be asked to contribute events that have led to the concept, science and practice of transformation – and events that can be considered deep leverage points for large scale systems change. There will be two dedicated sessions to discuss the development of the timeline during the conference (see the prelimniary scientific programme).
Guiding Questions for each day:
Each day there will be a set of guiding questions that explores the data generated from the timeline that aligns with the conference theme:
Day 1: Guiding question: What have been ‘deep’ or neglected ‘leverage points’ for sustainability transformations over the past 100 years?
At the end of the day – we will to try and see patterns related to the following questions:
- What are the most effective places to intervene in systems for transformative change?
- How do we look beyond our own perspective on where to intervene in a system?
- How and where do opportunities arise for transformative interventions?
Day 2: Guiding question: How have we navigated complexity when responding to global/regional systems change to create sustainability interventions?
At the end of the day – we will take a closer look at all the contributions to try and see patterns related to the following questions:
- Are there key patterns of interacting system elements in relation to transformative change?
- Were there any important incentives and rules that were applied in order to change minds?
- Are there ‘ideal’ system scales at which interventions are possible/effective?
Day 3: Guiding question: How does a leverage points perspective help us to act?
At the end of the day – we will take a closer look at all the contributions to try and see patterns related to the following questions:
- What have we learned over the past century that has allowed us to move between theory and practice in relation to transformative change?
- Based on what we are seeing over the past century is leverage points a model/metaphor/method for acting?
- Looking ahead, what do we need to transform in order to facilitate transformative change?
Detailed instructions for engaging in the timeline construction will follow shortly.
Case-based Mutual Learning Sessions
Case-based Mutual Learning Sessions (cbMLS) at the Leverage Points Conference
Pre-conference session – Monday, 4th February 2019
Mutual learning is a fundamental aspect in transdisciplinary sustainability research. A case-based Mutual Learning Session (cbMLS) is a workshop format that organizes mutual learning, knowledge integration and transfer based among people from different disciplines, fields of action or societal domains on a single case or a set of cases. It is composed of a preparation phase, a case encounter and a post-processing phase. CbMLS allow for integration on issues of concern, give actors from case study areas the opportunity to engage with transformative research, allow for learning between case study areas and producing a concrete outcome for the case study sites such as policy orientations or recommendations (Vilsmaier et al. 2015). The cbMLS at the Leverage Points 2019 conference will focus on two transdisciplinary cases studies one in the Oldenburg of Lower Saxony in Germany and the other in Southern Transylvania in Romania.
Southern Transylvania has a valuable cultural and natural heritage threatened by its socio-economic context. As a response, numerous sustainability initiatives foster and enact on-ground change towards sustainable development. These initiatives and their sustainability contributions are numerous and locally relevant, but lack in consistency and coordination. The transdisciplinary research in this study area seeks to support and enable sustainability-transformation processes in Southern Transylvania through amplifying strategies that scale the reach of local sustainability initiatives. The district of Oldenburg is a rural area in the commuter belt of three cities in Northern Germany that is strongly shaped by intensified agriculture, renewable energy production and their consequences. These landscape changes lead to conflicts between sectors, a decrease in biodiversity and a perceived disconnection between communities and the environment. To understand and meet these challenges a cooperation between the administration of the district, a network of artists with participative approaches and the Leuphana University has emerged.
Both case study areas are confronted with intensive landscape changes which have ecological, economic, social and cultural consequences. A focus of the cbMLS will be reactions and attitudes towards these changes. Pro-active attitudes and beliefs are dependent on perceived agency in both cases. In the cbMLS participants from both cases will be present. The session consists of the preparation of a shared booklet at the forefront, an excursion to the Oldenburg district on the day before the conference (5 Feb 2019), further sessions and a presentation of results on the first conference day (6 Feb 2019).
The cbMLS will potentially be open for a small number of external participants that can provide expertise to the session. As a cbMLS is a highly process oriented format, additional information will be provided as the preparation moves forward. We are particularly looking for expertise of either scientists who can provide broader knowledge to bridge both cases or practitioners that have developed approaches on similar issues. People who are able to provide such expertise can apply to join the cbMLS by sending a short biographical note, their motivation for participation, and a brief description of their particular expertise by 30 September 2018 to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. In total this should be a maximum of 2 pages of A4 text. If you intend to submit an abstract to the Leverage Points conference please note this in your application.
External participation in the cbMLS will be restricted. Individuals who are invited to provide their expertise to the cbMLS will be expected to engage in all the components of the process and will be granted free access to the Leverage Points 2019 conference.
For further questions please contact email@example.com
Vilsmaier, U.; Engbers, M.; Luthardt, P.; Maas-Deipenbrock, R. M.; Wunderlich, S. & Scholz, R. W. (2015): Case-based mutual learning sessions: Knowledge integration and transfer in transdisciplinary processes. Sustainability Science, Vol. 10 Special Feature: 563-580
Making new connections for transformations
Making new connections for transformations: an early-career transdisciplinary research networking day
Pre-conference workshop – Tuesday, 5th February 2019
We are a small group of PhD and early-career researchers involved in transdisciplinary research who have come together to share reflections, insights and strategies for the challenges we experience in our research. We will be hosting an informal networking day (5 February 2019, starting at 9AM) for PhD and early-career researchers involved in transdisciplinary (TD) research as a pre-conference event associated with the Leverage Points Conference to be held at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany (6-8 February 2019).
We recognise that many young scholars are already involved in numerous other networks, and do not intend this day to be the beginning of yet another formalised, structured network. We would rather just create a generative and enjoyable space for people to build interpersonal relationships and share their TD experiences with one another in a creative and meaningful way. We further see the value of pre-conference engagement in that it speaks directly to a core theme of the conference, namely transformative research practices. The intention of this workshop is to connect with researchers about this theme in a way that provides the basis for enhanced engagement on the topic during the course of the formal conference programme.
The purpose of spending a day together would be to:
- Build relationships and get to know each other in an informal, fun, yet focused manner, ahead of more formal conference engagements
- Share, through practice, methods for engaging stakeholders and co-producing knowledge
- Explore ideas and energy for a network of early-career researchers involved in transdisciplinary research
- Provide a space to reflect on transdisciplinary approaches and methods with others
Below is the proposed schedule for the day. We encourage participants to co-create the programme with us, and we will all share our ‘learning intentions’ during the introductory session to facilitate this. We also plan to do some of these activities outdoors and to spend some time in the forest:
- 09:00 Introduction, welcome and mapping who we are (co-initiating) (1 hour)
- Appreciative Inquiry Activity (co-sensing) (1h30 mins)
- Dialogue Walks (co-reflecting, presencing) (1h30 mins)
- 13:00 Light lunch and warm drinks to warm up after outdoor activities (1 hour)
- Thinking Council activity (co-reflecting, presencing) (1 hour)
- Visual-creative prototyping activity (co-creating) (2 hours)
- 17:30 Cooking, eating and drinking together (co-evolving) (3-5 hours)
Guiding thematic question: The following overarching question will be used to guide interactions on the day, and we will link this to our formal session in the conference programme where we will discuss this question in more detail: Practicing transdisciplinary research in a complex world: How can we as early-career TD researchers navigate the triple jump challenge of scientific rigour and excellence, societal relevance and engagement, and self-respect and care?
We encourage people interested in participating in this networking day to read our blog series in which we introduce and reflect on this ‘triple jump challenge’ experienced by TD scholars.
Process design: We propose using ‘Theory U’ as a process design tool (one of the methods we can share through practice in the day) to hold the activities of the day together, and also as some of the specific tools and activities (there is a suite of associated facilitation tools available on the Theory U website). We will also draw on other methods, and aim to make this a multi-sensory experience for participants. In this way we hope to create an experience where we not only reflect intellectually on our work, but also spend time re-connecting in and with nature, open our hearts, and let our creativity come to the fore! The methods we use are ones which participants could also use in stakeholder engagement and knowledge co-production processes in their own TD work.
Participants: We will already be approximately 12 participants and would like to invite up to 18 additional early-careers scholars from the Leverage Points Conference to join us for the day. We will be capping the numbers at 30 participants to enable meaningful interactions and keep logistics manageable. We plan to circulate an open invite through our networks to join us for selected sessions via webinars.
If you would like to join us in “making new connections for transformations” on this networking day, please send a brief biography and letter of motivation (maximum of 300 words) to David Lam by the 30th September 2018 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Participation in the workshop is free for early-career researchers attending the Leverage Points 2019 conference (excluding drinks, food, lunch, dinner, transport). If you wish to attend the workshop, but not the conference, please note this in your motivational letter.
Facilitation: The day’s activities will be facilitated by our small group of international TD researchers the ‘TD PhD Journeys’ team, in partnership with PhDs and ECRs involved in TD research at Leuphana University.
‘TD PhD Journeys’ team: David Lam1, My Sellberg2, Jessica Cockburn3, Petra Holden4, and Megan Davies5
1Institute for Ethics and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research, Leuphana University, Lüneburg; 2Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden; 3Environmental Learning Research Centre, Rhodes University, South Africa; 4Plant Conservation Unit and the African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, South Africa; 5Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Mama is an Academic
Mama is an Academic at the Leverage Points Conference 2019
Date: February 6th, 2018; 12:30 – 14:00
Location: Forum in the central building on campus
Join us at our Mama is an Academic get-together. We happily welcome all mothers with or without their children attending this years Leverage Points Conference.
Make the most of your lunch break networking with others mothers, swapping ideas on transformative change, and discussing your career as an academic mother, all whilst your children can enjoy what our play boxes have to offer.
You’ll find us in the forum of the central building on campus. Seating and toys will be available.
We’re looking forward seeing you
Your team from
Mama is an Academic
About Mama is an Academic
Our website is an online peer support community for mothers pursuing an academic career (or academics pursuing motherhood!). The blog is written by academic mothers to share experiences – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the juggling.
We want to provide a positive resource for helping people to manage being academics and mothers, in the hope that this isn’t an unachievable thing in the longer term (of course we are all committed personally to this being totally achievable). We want to make academic motherhood visible and connected, so we can support each other.
Why ‘just’ mothers?
Whether our website should focus on mothers, or more broadly on all parents, has been the subject of much deliberation. Overall, we feel that everyone would benefit from academia being more family friendly, not just more mother friendly. And so over time, maybe the website will extend away from ‘just’ mothers. However, for the moment, we feel there is reason to stick to mothers.
There are less women in academia, and fewer mothers than fathers. It is therefore harder to find sources of support, inspiration and mentoring for academic mothers. If we increase the visibility of academic mothers, and demonstrate how it is possible to balance the two worlds, perhaps we can prevent the massive loss of women from academia between PhD and faculty.
Women still tend to bear the brunt of care giving. Some of this is physical – we do the pregnancy, birthing and breast feeding. Some is cultural and social. But while it happens, we need to find a way to allow for this within our career progression.
We need a voice. Until there are mothers shaping policy and practice within academia, our needs and wishes will not be accounted for.
Visit our website https://mamaisanacademic.wordpress.com/and feel free to contact us with ideas, critique or if you’d like to participate in our blog.