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Sustainability and Higher Education in a Nordic Perspective

CHEF thematic webinar series 2

07.04.2021 | Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard

Dato tor 15 apr
Tid 12:00 14:00
Sted Online (Zoom)


Press here to register for the seminar




The webinar series is aimed at spurring academic debate, dialogue, community and engagement around the theme of Sustainability & Higher Education Futures. In the webinar series leading scholars, thinkers and practitioners will explore links between different concepts of and formats for sustainability and higher education. 

Higher education is central to the sustainability agenda in at least two ways: 1) As higher education for sustainable development - Higher education as hubs for developing and disseminating knowledge about sustainable paths forward across society through focusing on sustainability issues as the object and content of research and education. 2) Higher education as sustainable development - Higher education as signifying and embodying the hardship and need of constantly engaging with emerging challenges in order to change status quo and develop widespread sustainable development. 

This webinar series will approach these agendas from different perspectives though continued critical and creative dialogue around how, why, when and for what sustainability links with higher education futures. But the webinar series also has the mission of creating more engaging, interactive and participatory online events - with the aim of facilitating reflections and dialogue around the theme of Sustainability & Higher Education Futures in both thinking and action. Besides working towards lively and participatory interaction during the events, the webinar series will also have an informal social networking extension to continue the dialogue - much like the social mingling with a drink that follows after onsite seminars or conference presentations.

The webinar series is organised in collaboration between CHEF and the European Universities - Critical Futures project

Organised and chaired by Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard and Rikke Toft Nørgård, Center for Higher Education Futures, Aarhus University and the European Universities - Critical Futures working group on Sustainable universities and higher education 



Webinar: Sustainability and Higher Education in a Nordic Perspective


Time: April 15th 12.00 – 14.00 CET on ZOOM – link to follow




Stefan Bengtsson, Associate Professor, Uppsala University (Sweden): “Education and the possibility of change: Insights from working with transgressive learning”


The keynote is to dwell on the discussion of the need to facilitate in and through education that aims to address current unstainable ways of being. Education thought has here stressed that education can be seen as a means to, both, reproduction and change. In the context of environmental and sustainability education research, the danger of reproduction of unsustainable social and economic structures has been highlighted for decades and research has been focused on moving beyond the status quo in and through education. The recent launch of the Education for Sustainable Development Goals (ESD2030) framework by UNESCO and its member states has underlined that education in many ways has failed to facilitate a shift towards more sustainable ways of being stressing the need for education to foster and accelerate transformation and disruption of resilient unsustainability. The T-learning project (2015-2019) aimed to develop transformative and transgressive learning in concrete and practical ways to experiment with the power of education to change ways of being. In my presentation I will try to synthetise some theoretical approaches to transgressive learning as a novel and radical notion of learning that substantiates change.  


Stefan Bengtsson is senior lecturer of curriculum theory (didaktik) focusing on issues of sustainability in education. He has been national coordinator for ESD implementation in Sweden during the Global Action Programme on ESD and is currently deputy link convenor for the Environmental and Sustainability Education network of the European Education Research Association. In parallel to his academic work, he has been providing technical assistance to international efforts to address sustainability and gender issues in education, in particular in the East and South-East Asian context.



Claus Holm, Ph.D., Associate professor, Head of The Danish School of Education (DPU), Aarhus University. “Relationships between Higher Education and Sustainable Development”

The keynote presents different approaches to the relationship between higher education and sustainable development. Its purpose is firstly to provide an overview of four main approaches to this relationship and their key conflicts. Secondly, it argues that the approach “lifelong learning skills for a resilient life” is beginning to establish itself as part of a main conflict with the approach “necessary knowledge for a secured life.” That is to say that these two approaches to the question of the relationship between higher education and sustainable development are in conflict with each other and with understanding of higher education, in casu with the curriculum and assessment activity of the university, as well as with sustainable development. This gives rise to very different conditions for future forms of life and learning inside, as well as outside, higher education.


Registration ends April 13th 23.59