“Our challenge is to learn how to live differently”
27 November 2018
Hello there, climate researcher Keri Facer from the University of Bristol. You are Uppsala University’s third visiting Zennström Professor of Climate Change Leadership. What is your main area of research?
“I work on rethinking the relationship between formal educational institutions and wider society and am particularly concerned with the sorts of knowledge that may be needed to address contemporary environmental, economic, social and technological changes.”
How have you worked with climate change-related issues?
“For me, climate change is an educational, social and cultural issue as much as a technical and scientific matter. Our challenge now is to learn how to live differently, to live in and with climate change, to mitigate its worst effects, to experiment with the creation of new possibilities. For the last five years I have been working with an international network to develop the field of Anticipation Studies, which focuses specifically on how ideas of the future influence action in the present.
“Central to the problem of climate change is that we are very poor as individuals and societies at thinking intelligently about the future. Understanding this process better, in particular in relation to climate change, is the area that I have been working on with colleagues from UNESCO, the Royal Society and in my role as Chair of the International Conference on Anticipation.
What inspired you to come to Uppsala University?
“I have been aware of CEMUS (the Centre for Environment and Development Studies) and its truly innovative model of teaching and learning, and student leadership, for several years now. This sort of educational environment is so rare, and produces a distinctive culture that facilitates the sort of interdisciplinary thinking that is urgently needed, not only to address climate change, but a whole range of other contemporary issues.
“I’ve also been aware, of course, of the important work that Cemus and Uppsala University as a whole are doing in relation to climate change leadership. Altogether, it seemed to me that it would be an exciting space to come for two years.”
What do you want to accomplish during your two years at Uppsala University?
“I want to work with colleagues across the University and in civil society to reflect upon the role of the university in relation to climate change. I want to create some spaces for us to collectively experiment with the ways in which research and teaching might be creatively and productively reconfigured to address this issue.
“In particular, I want to explore how to create open, creative spaces for collaboration around these issues both within the university and in partnership with others from outside the university.”
The Zennström visiting professorship
The visiting professorship runs for ten years, with a new professor being invited every year or every second year. It is funded by a donation to Uppsala University from entrepreneur Niklas Zennström.
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