Facing the Future 2017

Collaborative power for societal transformation in a rapidly changing world

Organised as a collaboration between the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience, adaptation CONNECTS from the University of Oslo and the International Futures Forum

Facing the Future 2017 is a two-day conference and interactive workshop for Masters, PhD and early career researchers or practitioners from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, organised through the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR) at the University of Dundee and James Hutton Institute. Professor Karen O’Brien from the University of Oslo, who is well known internationally for her work on transformation and climate change, will lead the conference, supported by expert facilitation from Dr Anthony Hodgson, from the International Futures Forum.

See a short video from the 2016 conference:

Building on the success of past conferences, FtF2017 will focus on understanding the role and nature of collaboration for achieving transformative change and more sustainable and equitable futures. New approaches to collaboration are needed for significant societal transformations in depth and across scales to rapidly reduce not only greenhouse gas emissions, but collateral issues including biodiversity loss, global inequality, and increasing nitrogen and phosphorus use. Most people find it easier to collaborate with those who share the same values, interests, goals and visions for the future. Social transformations, however, call for collaborations across value memes, belief systems, and worldviews, as well as across competing interests, goals and loyalties. FtF2017 will therefore explore collaborative power as a force for leveraging collective change, addressing why attempts at collaboration so often fail to achieve transformative change. Working together to create large-scale transformations to sustainability requires knowing when, why and how to collaborate, as well as when to target efforts to challenge entrenched positions. It also requires the development and practice of innovative methods, examples of which will be introduced in the practical sessions of FtF2017.

This two-day interactive conference will take place in Dundee, Scotland on 28th and 29th August 2017. Participants in FtF2017 will have the opportunity to showcase their own research and explore their interests and ideas in an informal, highly interactive environment. We will then explore theories and tools for enhancing collaborative power, whether within a research project, community initiative, sectoral adaptation strategy, or group work within any context. This will enable participants to both develop new conceptual knowledge as well as experiential understanding of the nature and role of effective collaboration. The interdisciplinary conference will be widely relevant to those from natural and social sciences, and the arts and humanities interested in social and environmental change. The learning from the Facing the Future 2017 conference will be presented at Transformations 2017: Transformations in practice, also taking place in Dundee from the 30th August – 1st September 2017.

Who is eligible? Any Masters, PhD or early career researcher or practitioner interested in social and environmental change. You do not have to be working directly on ‘collaboration’ or attending T2017 international conference to be eligible for FtF2017. Note that places will be limited to a maximum of 60 participants.

Full Details and Updates


You are required to submit an abstract of 200 words outlining who you are, your research interests and a recent photo (to help others find you in the conference if they want to find out more about your work). These abstracts will be used to develop a conference booklet.

Send photo and abstract to: cechr@dundee.ac.uk

You will also be asked to develop a short 2 minute PowerPoint presentation for the conference to briefly outline in 3 slides;

  • What are you doing (research interests)?
  • Why (relevance of current research)?
  • How you plan to make a difference (through collaborative working)?

Early Bird registration: £80 (up to and including 30th April 2017)
Full registration: £100 (from 1st May to 27th August 2017)
(Two day conference, all catering during the event and a conference dinner on the evening of Monday 28th August included).

Register here for Facing the Future 2017