Universities as Sustainable Communities

Research team: Carmen Martinez-Vargas, Mikateko Mathebula and Faith Mkwananzi

Funder: Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures (TESF) network, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund through the Economic and Social Research Council Network Plus scheme (£30 000).

Period: 2021-2022

The goal of this study is to generate a bottom up understanding of what a sustainable university community may look like, but also to generate knowledge that can be applied into practice. Such knowledge can prompt transformative practices in the university community to consider more African/Indigenous/locally-centred strategies, not necessarily as a unique vision but rather as an articulation of an ecology of knowledges. The study combines decolonial thinking and the capabilities approach to challenge epistemic injustices that limit students’ voices from being acknowledged in conceptualising what a sustainable university community is in a Global South context. Using participatory storytelling to co-create knowledge with student activists, the project will conceptualise what it means and what it takes to build sustainable communities in the context of one historically white South Africa University (the University of the Free State).



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