Scientific Committee

We are grateful to the following individuals for their support.
Click on their photos to read biographies.

Scientific Committee

Husam AlWaer
Husam AlWaer

Dr. AlWaer is a highly skilled URBANIST who writes intensively and speaks regularly on making better places (with a multi disciplinary approach involves drawing appropriately from multiple disciplines to redefine problems outside normal boundaries and reach solutions based on a new understanding of complex situations). He is a specialist in Sustainable Urban Design and Evaluation working at the University of Dundee, School of Social Sciences with a demonstrable leadership qualities with impact in academia, practice and in community out-reach. He has passionate interest in the future of sustainable and smart places and towns, in particular development of new thinking on processes and methods to unlock sustainable urbanism.

In addition to his experience as a masterplanner, with the skill sets of a facilitator/educator and a knowledge of sustainable urbanism, he has promoted the “place momentum” approach jointly with Kevin Murray associates, which treats place-making for more sustainable communities as an intelligent process, whereby stakeholders, community and specialists professionals collaborate in a progressive inquiry to deliver positive solutions and make a difference for people on ‘the ground’.

In his own words…

Economic, technological, lifestyle, and environmental change is often presented as inevitable and quite normal, but the exact nature of that change is inherently unpredictable. The challenge is find ways to make places that will be robust in the medium to long term by which time places will have experienced considerable change.

Change can occur across time, uses and scales, as well as to the frameworks employed for action and for quality control. The challenge is to find ways to incorporate changing priorities and thinking today, while ensuring, that what we put in place will have relevance in the future (25/30 years and beyond).

Focusing on longer-term outcomes, resilience is a key concept for future places. The resilience of sustainable places lies in their capacity to respond to forces of change in such a manner that the places are viewed positively in the eyes of the communities who live there. The focus of adaptation should both build adaptive capacity in terms of ‘physical infrastructure’ (roads, spaces, buildings…etc), ‘social infrastructure’ (social services, utilities, medical facilities,..etc) as well as actors capability to adapt, and make adaptation appropriate decision. This is about understanding how the physical-social interaction has existed in the thinking process, particularly in the context of decision-making, and its potential role in affecting the integration of the adaption process.

Jan Bebbington
Jan Bebbington

Professor Jan Bebbington holds a Chair in Accounting and Sustainable Development in the School of Management at the University of St. Andrews. Her research interests focus around the themes of organisational responses to the global climate change agenda as well as how governance regimes for sustainable development might be developed at organisational, regional and country level. This research focus is increasingly framed by sustainability science thinking. Professor Bebbington was the Vice-Chair (Scotland) of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission from 2006-2011 and brings substantial policy experience to her academic work.

In her own words…

The desire for more sustainable forms of development is predicated on the knowledge that we are currently unsustainable and as such there is a need for ‘change’. For me, transformation is something more than change. Transformation suggests a scale of change that is systemic and multi-dimensional (including transformation of our economic realtionships); a rate of change that is quicker than might seem possible as well as change that is deliberative and deliberate. Transformation also suggests that there is a view of what we need to aspire to be/do – a goal that might need to be imagined.

Mathieu Denis
Mathieu Denis

Mathieu Denis is Executive Director of the International Social Science Council. He holds a PhD in history from the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. He has previously taught at Université de Montréal, and worked as researcher at the Berlin Social Science Centre and the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies.

In his own words…

In my organisation, we regard transformations broadly as multidimensional processes of change within the eco-social systems, with far reaching consequences at different scales. Transformations can start small or big, lead to rapid change, or develop over a longer period of time. But transformations entail deep and profound changes of social systems. That definition is good but probably incomplete. Because not every change is a transformation, and not all transformations are good. We need to add in the mix notions of sustainability, equality, and progress. Of course, these are loaded notions which historically have been associated with very different projects around the world, sometimes with negative consequences for people and the environment. But my feeling is that the kinds of deep transformations that the epoch demands must be sustainable in terms of their impacts on the eco-social systems, equitable in the way in which they impact different groups, and must represent a qualitative improvement of the political and economic systems.

Ioan Fazey
Lead Convener
Ioan FazeyLead Convener

Professor Ioan Fazey is Director of the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience at the University of Dundee and Professor in Social Dimensions of Environmental Change. He is an interdisciplinary researcher with current research focusing on resilience, adaptation, what it means to achieve equitable and sustainable societal transformations and the practices that can help facilitate such changes. He has published over 50 peer reviewed articles. His work has included international projects on diverse issues relating to ecosystem services, biodiversity, agricultural systems, social change, vulnerability and climate change. He currently leads a Joseph Rowntree Funded project focusing on climate resilience in flood affected communities in the Scottish Borders.

In his own words…

The intense global challenges, including climate change, massive and rising inequalities, and the need for greater attention to social justice and human wellbeing are resulting in the emergence of an underlying current of change. Whether we like it or not, major change is coming. Yet how that change manifests will depend largely on the ability of humanity to come together and question many fundamental assumptions and values about what it means to be human and the goals and aspirations of the human global collective. This will necessarily include new formulations between science, technology, society and the environment. Enhancing understanding of what transformation is, how it comes about, and how academics and practitioners can best help shape the emergence of significant change along positive trajectories for humanity is perhaps the most critical question of our time.

Chris Freemantle
Chris Freemantle

I am a producer and researcher. I work with art in public life.

As a researcher I have been part of On The Edge Research at Gray’s School of Art since its inception more than 15 years ago and am now a part time Senior Research Fellow. As a producer I work mostly on public art in healthcare, seeking to make more patient-centred places. I established ecoartscotland in 2010 to encourage and develop the relationship between art and ecology, ecology being the understanding of the relations between living things and their environments.

In his own words…

Sustainability not only challenges us because of its elusiveness, intangibility and ubiquity, but also because it doesn’t seem to have much to do with creativity. Innovation, novelty and development are pretty much hard wired into practices, discourses and pedagogies of art and design. The climate crisis along with water, air, land, food, waste, biodiversity and migration crises are matters of concern for artists and designers, and this is growing beyond activism to a wider ‘turn’ in arts and humanities. The arts and humanities are in turn perhaps most challenged by the shift towards co-production, fundamentally shared authorship. Agency and subjectivity are central to increasing sustainability.

Glenn Gordon Page
Glenn Gordon Page

For over 30 years, Glenn has been building and evaluating programs that are designed to transform systems working primarily on coastal/ocean/watershed issues. As a restoration ecologist by training, he “grew up” working on the restoration of dunes, rivers, wetlands and forests, focusing on ecosystem function, equivalency and economic valuation.   He realized that large scale public involvement was essential to transform ecological systems and also critical to transform social systems.  He has been working on the front lines of stewardship and governance response to ecosystem change.  As the founding Director of Conservation at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, he led the first major effort for large scale ecosystem restoration which was recognized by Vice President Al Gore who officially recognized him as an Environmental Hero.  Currently, he is the President/CEO of SustainaMetrix, which is all about “navigating in the Anthropocene.” At SustainaMetrix he leads an interdisciplinary team working with partners and communities of practice in sub Sahara Africa to Pacific Islands from the Arctic to the Antilles; where vexing issues of energy, food, water persist.  Recent project partners include IUCN, Oceana, WWF, Republic of Ireland, Luc Hoffmann Institute, Stockholm Resilience Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Tufts University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of Maine and University of Maryland Baltimore County.  A recent innovation and transformative practice has been the design and testing of a framework for measuring governance response to ecosystem change. Glenn brings innovation and systems thinking to complex, messy, cross-scale, wicked challenges of our time.

What Transformation means to me:

As a human society, we are facing rapid and irreversible changes to our life support system based upon the way we choose to live.  Transformation for me is individual and collective change towards a way of life that respects, protects and restores natural systems while at the same time allows for the betterment of society.  One example is to live by the “7th generation” principle taught by Native Americans who encourage every decision, be it personal, governmental or corporate, to consider how it will affect our descendants seven generations into the future.

 

 

Bruce Goldstein
Bruce Goldstein

Bruce Goldstein is Associate Professor in the Program in Environmental Design and the Program in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, and core faculty in the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. Bruce is particularly interested in how collaborative learning networks can catalyze transformation within individual communities and the professional cultures and traditional practices of resource management. Bruce is working on four projects – research and developmental evaluation of the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, studies of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative and the Locally-Managed Marine Areas Network, and design and implementation of the National STEM Education Centers network.

In his own words…

I’m inspired by skilled facilitators who can enhance transformative capacity through collaborative learning. Over the last 40 years planning scholars have really nailed down how place-based collaboration can resolve intractable disputes – now we are seeing how innovative collaborative approaches such as learning networks can go beyond dispute resolution to promote transformative change. Network facilitators create network-wide coherence while enhancing community autonomy, so that communities can experiment with new ways of life that suit their unique circumstances, while sharing ideas and developing collective capacity to overcome powerful resistance to institutional change.

Hilary Bradbury
Hilary Bradbury

Hilary Bradbury, Ph.D., is a scholar-practitioner focused on the human and organizational dimensions of creating healthy communities. A Professor of Management at OHSU in Portland, USA, she is Editor-in-Chief of Action Research Journal and principal convener of the global AR+ commons, an international network of participatory action researchers. Her most recent books include “Eros/Power: Transforming how women and men relate” (Integral Publishers, 2016) and The Handbook of Action Research (Sage, 2015).  Hilary was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College, proceeding to Divinity Schools at Harvard and University of Chicago. She earned her PHD at Boston College in Organization Studies with a emphasis on change and transformation.

In her own words…

Transformation is this life just as it is! But unfortunately we don’t realize that. I am suggesting that we live in a world that is in constant interactive flux. Human beings (and all existence) do not have easily defined boundaries; experientially, we are not really separate like our rational mind/human ego assumes. We are part of constant transformative metabolizing of shared resources (air, water, ideas, language) that holds us within complex nonlinear processes (and problems such as climate change). Yet if, following Newton, philosophers and social engineers conceived a clockwork universe of particles that acted as billiard balls, it feels natural that, say, in my field of management, individuals are treated as cogs in a big machine to be fitted into vast bureaucratic systems.  Ignoring that the world is emergent and interactive, the result has been fragmentation, a sense of isolation and natural systems decline.  We continue to treat ourselves and natural processes as atoms, much like billiard balls, as if subjectivity doesn’t matter, as if the “system” has nothing to do with intersubjectivity. As we learn to grapple with the implications of relational subatomic swirl, it is now timely to re-conceive humans and systems coordination as webs of collaboration–the basic orientation of action research–rather than heavy-handed social engineering. There is an invitation here to re-imagine transformation as a collaborative potential, consciously directed toward optimizing our natural and human systems of intelligence, care and creative mystery.

Mark Howden
Mark Howden

Professor Mark Howden is Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. His work has focussed on climate impacts on systems we value (including agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems) and on incremental to transformational adaptations to these impacts. He has also developed GHG emission inventory methods and sustainable mitigation options. Mark has partnered with many industry, community and policy groups via both research and science-policy roles and has over 400 publications. He has been a major contributor to the IPCC since 1991 now being a Vice Chair of IPCC Working Group 2.

In his own words…

A decade ago it was increasingly clear to me that incremental adaptation alone will not be enough to deal with the scale and rapidity of climate change interacting with other change processes and that more systemic and transformative adaptation will be needed. We have researched transformational adaptation, developing a theoretical basis for this and then testing this through working with individuals, enterprises and communities who are transforming so as to understand the processes of such adaptation and what can help and hinder. The calls for and need for informed and wise transformational adaptation has only increased over that period.

Kate Irvine
Kate Irvine

Kate is a senior researcher in conservation behaviour / environmental psychology at the James Hutton Institute, focusing on people-environment relationships. She draws on an interdisciplinary background in molecular biology, natural resource management, conservation behaviour and environmental psychology to investigate the interface between people and their environmental settings (for example, natural, built, home, office) with an aim to develop bridges between issues of ecological quality, health/wellbeing and sustainability.

Kate is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council peer review college, a contributor to the UK’s Valuing Nature Network and a visiting research scholar at the University of Michigan with previous visiting appointments at University of Massachusetts and Johns Hopkins University. She was co-author on a highly cited interdisciplinary paper on biodiversity and wellbeing (Fuller, Irvine et al 2007) which was recommended by Faculty 1000 Review and has spawned a new area of research into the potential wellbeing benefits of biodiverse settings.

Matthias Klaes
Matthias Klaes

Matthias Klaes is a Professor at the University of Dundee with an interest in economic resilience and the historical and philosophical study of such resilience. He leads the Dundee team participating in the CrowdDundRES project and undertakes research on alternative finance and market technologies, including their history and depiction in economic thought. He is co-author of An Introduction to Behavioral Economics (2nd ed), advises industry and policy on the transformative nature of new market technologies such as P2P finance, and publishes widely in history and economics.

In his own words…

In pre-socratic throught already, we find the recognition that for better or worse everything around us keeps changing. In a world where change increasingly is the result of our own making, in particular in relation to our envorinments and with consequences often poorly understood, transformation means not just embracing change but to help balance and moderate it towards better understood outcomes. Historical and methodological perspectives are crucial in all this.

Derk Loorbach
Derk Loorbach

Derk Loorbach is director of DRIFT and Professor of Socio-economic Transitions at the Faculty of Social Science, both at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Derk is one of the founders of the transition management approach as new form of governance for sustainable development. He has over one hundred publications in this area and has been involved as an action researcher in numerous transition processes with government, business, civil society and science. He is a frequently invited keynote speaker in and outside Europe.

In his own words…

Transformations and transitions have now become buzzwords in science and policy that can easily distract from the actual urgency to move away from persistent unsustainability. While we are in the midst of discontinuous changes and disruptions, taking time for deeper reflection and shared learning should go hand in hand with proactive and transdisciplinary experimentation. The critical question to me is not whether we need transformation or not, but how we deal with to achieve a sustainable and just society.

Francisco Obreque
Francisco Obreque

Francisco Obreque is an agricultural specialist for the World Bank. Based in La Paz, Bolivia, he supports the governments of the Andean countries in implementing agricultural and rural development projects, with a focus on strengthening public research institutions. He seeks to help institutions become crucial actors in the national and global innovation systems by dealing with the current and future challenges in the agro-food system and generating meaningful solutions.

In his own words…

At the World Bank, supporting transformational policies and processes is our most fundamental aspiration. We strive to help countries and institutions build a better world—one in which everyone, everywhere has equal opportunities to flourish and lead prosperous lives. From a personal perspective, transformation is all about the wonderful and boundless capacity of humans to create and innovate.

Karen O’Brien
Karen O’Brien

Karen O’Brien is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. Her research focuses. She is interested in how transdisciplinary and integral approaches to global change research can contribute to a better understanding of how societies both create and respond to change. Her current research includes “AdaptationCONNECTS”, a 5-year research project that explores the relationship between climate change adaptation and transformations to sustainability, with an emphasis on collaboration, creativity, flexibility and empowerment. She has participated in four IPCC reports and is on the Science Committee for Future Earth. She is also the co-founder of cCHANGE.no, a website that provides perspectives on transformation in a changing climate.

In her own words…

Transformation is a process. Although it manifests through changes in form, structure or meaning making, it involves much more than “change”. Transformations are often related to new perspectives or ways of making sense of the world. In the context of environmental change, conscious transformations to sustainability can be seen as integrated, holistic responses that challenge the status quo. In practice, this may involve questioning assumptions about power, interests, and identities, including our own.

Per Olsson
Per Olsson

Per Olsson leads the Stockholm Resilience Centres initiative on Innovation and Transformation in Social-Ecological Systems. His current research is in agency, social-ecological innovations, transformations to sustainability and how to reverse current trends of crossing critical thresholds and tipping points in the Earth system. Per has co-authored a number of book chapters including a chapter for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and articles in scientific journals including Science, PNAS, TREE, Ambio, Global Environmental Change, Ecology and Society, and the Annual Review of the Environment and Resources.

Gil Penha-Lopes
Gil Penha-Lopes

Gil Penha-Lopes is an invited Professor at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon. He has been coordinating European and national projects on bottom-up climate change adaptation with a focus on community-led initiatives. He also lectures at the International Doctoral Program on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies at Lisbon University. Gil also cofounded the European platform of community-led initiatives on sustainability and climate change (ECOLISE) and published recently a book on “Permaculture and Climate Change Adaptation”.

In his own words…

Transformation is the visible and invisible process of unfolding and evolving… Humans and humanity will face several challenges that can enable significant shifts in the way that we see ourselves and the world, live our daily lives in our communities and integrate the living system that our planet is. Transformation will allow us to go beyond the new 17 Sustainable Developmental Goals in a much faster, interesting and joyful way.

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan is the Director of the Australian Resilience Centre, an organisation that builds the capacity of regional communities and agencies facing uncertain futures. His primary focus is putting resilience, adaptation and transformation science into practice. He does this through training, facilitation, mentoring, research and developing and supporting a national community of practitioners. More recently Paul has worked internationally to apply resilience concepts in developing nations. He has previously worked for the Resilience Alliance, CSIRO and regional and state agencies.

In his own words…

Youba Sokona
Youba Sokona

With over 35 years of experience addressing energy, environment and sustainable development in Africa, Dr Youba Sokona is a well-known, leading global figure. He is a global figure, with deep technical knowledge, extensive policy experience and an unreserved personal commitment to African led development. He’s advice is highly sought after, and as such, he is affiliated with numerous boards and organisations.

In his own words…

Transformation means better life for all. It requires clear vision, enduring effort, and investing for the long-term benefit for all while ensuring that short term imperatives of those in need are secured.

Steve Waddell
Steve Waddell

Steve Waddell, principal of NetworkingAction, focuses on multi-stakeholder large systems change to address critical issues. His does this as a researcher, consultant, educator, and through personal leadership with a range of clients and partners globally. He has a PhD in sociology and an MBA. He is author of several articles and other publications, including the books Societal Learning and Change: Innovation with Multi-Stakeholder Strategies; Global Action Networks: Creating Our Future Together and Change for the Audacious: a doers’ guide. Steve is a Canadian-American living in Boston.

In his own words…

We must and can create a flourishing future for all, growing out of today’s huge challenges. It won’t arise without painful destruction on a large scale – that is part of the transformation process. However, starting today we can bring together fragmented knowledge and greatly advance it and its application to moderate the pain and build resilient pathways. Working together in events like the Transformations meetings is critical to realizing this future.

Ruth Wolstenholme
Ruth Wolstenholme

Ruth is Managing Director of Sniffer – a charity that brokers knowledge on sustainability issues. She works with government, agencies, businesses and community-facing organisations to build capacity and facilitate collaborative working so that society is better prepared for environmental change. She has a strong focus on the use of evidence based tools and creative approaches to engagement, working across sectors. Under her leadership, Sniffer is delivering the Adaptation Scotland programme, which helps organisations and communities to prepare for and adapt to climate change.

In her own words…

Transformation is a process of thinking differently about how we address the scale of change that is needed to achieve a better, more sustainable planet. It is about moving beyond the advances that science and technology alone can offers us and finding courageous ways of using the power of imagination to harness creative forces. Transformation is about finding new ways of including society in this journey of imagining, taking risks and innovating, using our hearts as well as our heads to bring about changes in our values and lifestyles.

Mel Woods
Mel Woods

Mel is Reader in Creative Intelligence. She has a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to critical practice and is experienced in designing methods and technologies to support co-creation, futures, experiences for interaction between people. She is currently PI for H2020 Making Sense helping communities in EU monitor their environment, and Co-I for H2020 The GROW Observatory.

In her own words…

Transformation in terms of complex problems requires a multi faceted, and truly interdisciplinary approach, one that moves beyond the people centric rhetoric to encompass society, technology and culture. This is an area that the application of design and process can create the conditions for participation in order to understand futures, create vision and instigate emergent systems.

Carina Wyborn
Carina Wyborn

Carina is the Research Advisor at the Luc Hoffmann Institute. She is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a research focus on knowledge co-production in climate adaptation and biodiversity conservation. Carina is particularly interested in the connections between science, policy and practice, and the capacities that enable effective and ethical governance for conservation. In practice, this has meant working with conservation agencies and NGOs in Australia, the US and Colombia on climate adaptation, collaborative governance and connectivity conservation. She is an active member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and on the weekends can be found playing in the mountains or cooking up a storm.

In her own words…

For me, transformation is a difficult word to pin down – what is it? how do we know when it has happened? what is the impact? I think we expect that there will be some big flash or bang and we say “oh look transformation”, but in reality these processes are much more diffuse, happening on different time scales in different places and with different impacts on people and ecosystems. When I think about this in a biodiversity conservation context, the ultimate challenge is whether or not are systems of knowledge and governance are prepared for the changes that are coming and whether we can get ahead of the curve to anticipate rather than react to change, to minimise the potential negative impacts on the social and ecological values that we care about.

Local Organising Committee

Husam AlWaer
Husam AlWaer

Dr. AlWaer is a highly skilled URBANIST who writes intensively and speaks regularly on making better places (with a multi disciplinary approach involves drawing appropriately from multiple disciplines to redefine problems outside normal boundaries and reach solutions based on a new understanding of complex situations). He is a specialist in Sustainable Urban Design and Evaluation working at the University of Dundee, School of Social Sciences with a demonstrable leadership qualities with impact in academia, practice and in community out-reach. He has passionate interest in the future of sustainable and smart places and towns, in particular development of new thinking on processes and methods to unlock sustainable urbanism.

In addition to his experience as a masterplanner, with the skill sets of a facilitator/educator and a knowledge of sustainable urbanism, he has promoted the “place momentum” approach jointly with Kevin Murray associates, which treats place-making for more sustainable communities as an intelligent process, whereby stakeholders, community and specialists professionals collaborate in a progressive inquiry to deliver positive solutions and make a difference for people on ‘the ground’.

In his own words…

Economic, technological, lifestyle, and environmental change is often presented as inevitable and quite normal, but the exact nature of that change is inherently unpredictable. The challenge is find ways to make places that will be robust in the medium to long term by which time places will have experienced considerable change.

Change can occur across time, uses and scales, as well as to the frameworks employed for action and for quality control. The challenge is to find ways to incorporate changing priorities and thinking today, while ensuring, that what we put in place will have relevance in the future (25/30 years and beyond).

Focusing on longer-term outcomes, resilience is a key concept for future places. The resilience of sustainable places lies in their capacity to respond to forces of change in such a manner that the places are viewed positively in the eyes of the communities who live there. The focus of adaptation should both build adaptive capacity in terms of ‘physical infrastructure’ (roads, spaces, buildings…etc), ‘social infrastructure’ (social services, utilities, medical facilities,..etc) as well as actors capability to adapt, and make adaptation appropriate decision. This is about understanding how the physical-social interaction has existed in the thinking process, particularly in the context of decision-making, and its potential role in affecting the integration of the adaption process.

Jan Bebbington
Jan Bebbington

Professor Jan Bebbington holds a Chair in Accounting and Sustainable Development in the School of Management at the University of St. Andrews. Her research interests focus around the themes of organisational responses to the global climate change agenda as well as how governance regimes for sustainable development might be developed at organisational, regional and country level. This research focus is increasingly framed by sustainability science thinking. Professor Bebbington was the Vice-Chair (Scotland) of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission from 2006-2011 and brings substantial policy experience to her academic work.

In her own words…

The desire for more sustainable forms of development is predicated on the knowledge that we are currently unsustainable and as such there is a need for ‘change’. For me, transformation is something more than change. Transformation suggests a scale of change that is systemic and multi-dimensional (including transformation of our economic realtionships); a rate of change that is quicker than might seem possible as well as change that is deliberative and deliberate. Transformation also suggests that there is a view of what we need to aspire to be/do – a goal that might need to be imagined.

Ioan Fazey
Lead Convener
Ioan FazeyLead Convener

Professor Ioan Fazey is Director of the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience at the University of Dundee and Professor in Social Dimensions of Environmental Change. He is an interdisciplinary researcher with current research focusing on resilience, adaptation, what it means to achieve equitable and sustainable societal transformations and the practices that can help facilitate such changes. He has published over 50 peer reviewed articles. His work has included international projects on diverse issues relating to ecosystem services, biodiversity, agricultural systems, social change, vulnerability and climate change. He currently leads a Joseph Rowntree Funded project focusing on climate resilience in flood affected communities in the Scottish Borders.

In his own words…

The intense global challenges, including climate change, massive and rising inequalities, and the need for greater attention to social justice and human wellbeing are resulting in the emergence of an underlying current of change. Whether we like it or not, major change is coming. Yet how that change manifests will depend largely on the ability of humanity to come together and question many fundamental assumptions and values about what it means to be human and the goals and aspirations of the human global collective. This will necessarily include new formulations between science, technology, society and the environment. Enhancing understanding of what transformation is, how it comes about, and how academics and practitioners can best help shape the emergence of significant change along positive trajectories for humanity is perhaps the most critical question of our time.

Kate Irvine
Kate Irvine

Kate is a senior researcher in conservation behaviour / environmental psychology at the James Hutton Institute, focusing on people-environment relationships. She draws on an interdisciplinary background in molecular biology, natural resource management, conservation behaviour and environmental psychology to investigate the interface between people and their environmental settings (for example, natural, built, home, office) with an aim to develop bridges between issues of ecological quality, health/wellbeing and sustainability.

Kate is a member of the Economic and Social Research Council peer review college, a contributor to the UK’s Valuing Nature Network and a visiting research scholar at the University of Michigan with previous visiting appointments at University of Massachusetts and Johns Hopkins University. She was co-author on a highly cited interdisciplinary paper on biodiversity and wellbeing (Fuller, Irvine et al 2007) which was recommended by Faculty 1000 Review and has spawned a new area of research into the potential wellbeing benefits of biodiverse settings.

Matthias Klaes
Matthias Klaes

Matthias Klaes is a Professor at the University of Dundee with an interest in economic resilience and the historical and philosophical study of such resilience. He leads the Dundee team participating in the CrowdDundRES project and undertakes research on alternative finance and market technologies, including their history and depiction in economic thought. He is co-author of An Introduction to Behavioral Economics (2nd ed), advises industry and policy on the transformative nature of new market technologies such as P2P finance, and publishes widely in history and economics.

In his own words…

In pre-socratic throught already, we find the recognition that for better or worse everything around us keeps changing. In a world where change increasingly is the result of our own making, in particular in relation to our envorinments and with consequences often poorly understood, transformation means not just embracing change but to help balance and moderate it towards better understood outcomes. Historical and methodological perspectives are crucial in all this.

Mel Woods
Mel Woods

Mel is Reader in Creative Intelligence. She has a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to critical practice and is experienced in designing methods and technologies to support co-creation, futures, experiences for interaction between people. She is currently PI for H2020 Making Sense helping communities in EU monitor their environment, and Co-I for H2020 The GROW Observatory.

In her own words…

Transformation in terms of complex problems requires a multi faceted, and truly interdisciplinary approach, one that moves beyond the people centric rhetoric to encompass society, technology and culture. This is an area that the application of design and process can create the conditions for participation in order to understand futures, create vision and instigate emergent systems.

Conference Series Continuity Committee

Ioan Fazey
Lead Convener
Ioan FazeyLead Convener

Professor Ioan Fazey is Director of the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience at the University of Dundee and Professor in Social Dimensions of Environmental Change. He is an interdisciplinary researcher with current research focusing on resilience, adaptation, what it means to achieve equitable and sustainable societal transformations and the practices that can help facilitate such changes. He has published over 50 peer reviewed articles. His work has included international projects on diverse issues relating to ecosystem services, biodiversity, agricultural systems, social change, vulnerability and climate change. He currently leads a Joseph Rowntree Funded project focusing on climate resilience in flood affected communities in the Scottish Borders.

In his own words…

The intense global challenges, including climate change, massive and rising inequalities, and the need for greater attention to social justice and human wellbeing are resulting in the emergence of an underlying current of change. Whether we like it or not, major change is coming. Yet how that change manifests will depend largely on the ability of humanity to come together and question many fundamental assumptions and values about what it means to be human and the goals and aspirations of the human global collective. This will necessarily include new formulations between science, technology, society and the environment. Enhancing understanding of what transformation is, how it comes about, and how academics and practitioners can best help shape the emergence of significant change along positive trajectories for humanity is perhaps the most critical question of our time.

Mark Howden
Mark Howden

Professor Mark Howden is Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. His work has focussed on climate impacts on systems we value (including agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems) and on incremental to transformational adaptations to these impacts. He has also developed GHG emission inventory methods and sustainable mitigation options. Mark has partnered with many industry, community and policy groups via both research and science-policy roles and has over 400 publications. He has been a major contributor to the IPCC since 1991 now being a Vice Chair of IPCC Working Group 2.

In his own words…

A decade ago it was increasingly clear to me that incremental adaptation alone will not be enough to deal with the scale and rapidity of climate change interacting with other change processes and that more systemic and transformative adaptation will be needed. We have researched transformational adaptation, developing a theoretical basis for this and then testing this through working with individuals, enterprises and communities who are transforming so as to understand the processes of such adaptation and what can help and hinder. The calls for and need for informed and wise transformational adaptation has only increased over that period.

Karen O’Brien
Karen O’Brien

Karen O’Brien is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. Her research focuses. She is interested in how transdisciplinary and integral approaches to global change research can contribute to a better understanding of how societies both create and respond to change. Her current research includes “AdaptationCONNECTS”, a 5-year research project that explores the relationship between climate change adaptation and transformations to sustainability, with an emphasis on collaboration, creativity, flexibility and empowerment. She has participated in four IPCC reports and is on the Science Committee for Future Earth. She is also the co-founder of cCHANGE.no, a website that provides perspectives on transformation in a changing climate.

In her own words…

Transformation is a process. Although it manifests through changes in form, structure or meaning making, it involves much more than “change”. Transformations are often related to new perspectives or ways of making sense of the world. In the context of environmental change, conscious transformations to sustainability can be seen as integrated, holistic responses that challenge the status quo. In practice, this may involve questioning assumptions about power, interests, and identities, including our own.

Per Olsson
Per Olsson

Per Olsson leads the Stockholm Resilience Centres initiative on Innovation and Transformation in Social-Ecological Systems. His current research is in agency, social-ecological innovations, transformations to sustainability and how to reverse current trends of crossing critical thresholds and tipping points in the Earth system. Per has co-authored a number of book chapters including a chapter for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and articles in scientific journals including Science, PNAS, TREE, Ambio, Global Environmental Change, Ecology and Society, and the Annual Review of the Environment and Resources.