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A narrow golden footbridge is supported by the grip of a vast stone hand.

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About the Hub

In 2015 UNESCO reminded the world that education and research need to be re-visioned so that humanity can attend to the comprehensive challenges of our time.

Despite numerous initiatives, including COP 26, in 2021, consensus holds that humankind has not yet taken the steps to respond effectively to current uncertainties. Now, perhaps more than ever, it is the time for concerted, global action that attends to ‘the slow violence of climate change and industrial environmental poisoning’ (Hartman et al 2020) and move towards creating a ‘community of practice’ (Ibid.) that can generate fresh insights for the world to share. After decades of what can only be described as slow progress, time for prevaricating has run out; brave, bold innovation that inspires care-filled rethinking is required to produce the genuine, lasting and just changes necessary to deliver the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and transform our world back to a place where life in its many manifestations can flourish.

BRIDGES, formalised under UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST), sits within UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences sector. It serves the promotion of sustainability science, namely, the integration of Humanities and Social Sciences in responding to global sustainability challenges and advancing transformation. The UNESCO BRIDGES Hubs form an international coalition and network of experts concerned with Building Resilience in Defence of Global Environments and Societies. One of 5 global hubs, the hub at UWTSD, will champion research, teaching and initiatives that use Sustainability Science to seek just and lasting solutions to current problems.

Sustainability Science: Building Collaboration, Reimagining Knowing

Sustainability Science is a developing field intended to generate solutions to the complex troubles that lie at the intersections of world processes.

Driven by the degradation and even collapse of earthly and social systems and the evident escalating risks to life, it is actively occupied with combining the knowledge and methods of the Humanities with the Arts and Sciences, to give rise to original answers which can address the pressing questions of today. Therefore, by encouraging dialogue, method sharing, and cooperation, Sustainability Science offers a route to creating the changes that siloed approaches struggle to achieve.

The Hub encourages and endorses initiatives, research and teaching that avoid perpetuating damage and innovatively attend to the urgent intersecting social complexities of poverty, inequality, migration, pollution, malnutrition, water security, public health, well-being and flooding, drought, wildfires and other effects of climate change, and of course maintaining peace. It will support new ideas to germinate and propagate across its multi-stakeholder network and is anticipated to generate the kind of knowledge and innovation that follows when different ontologies are encouraged to communicate, collaborate, and cooperate internationally, across both discipline and cultural boundaries.

Contact Despoina on d.tsimprikidou@uwtsd.ac.uk for more information.