Students to explore SHAPE researchers’ impact on sustainability

12 Nov 2020

The British Academy and Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) today launch the collaborative SHAPE Impact Projects. The aim is to engage students and academics across SHAPE disciplines (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy) in realising the relevance and impact of their subjects in tackling environmental, social and economic sustainability challenges.

Students at Bangor University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of East Anglia will work on a range of projects and follow a multi and interdisciplinary ‘living laboratory’ approach. The institutions, as well as the students’ local communities, will serve as testbeds for their ideas, enabling an understanding of the real-world impact of their disciplines.

British Academy research award-holders and Fellows will also be taking part in the project. Professor Tim O’Riordan FBA (Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences at UEA), Dr Kerstin Oloff (Associate Professor and Director in the Centre for Culture and Ecology, Durham University) and Professor Angela McRobbie FBA (Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths) are among those who will work with the students to stimulate new ideas about how SHAPE disciplines can respond to sustainability challenges.

Each participating university will provide support and input from academic staff, the institution’s sustainability team and the Students’ Union.

Reporting in early 2021, the entire project will take place online.

Dr Molly Morgan Jones, Director of Policy at the British Academy, said:

“Climate and sustainability issues are so often thought to be the preserve of scientists and those working in STEM but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As we hope to demonstrate with this exciting new project with SOS-UK, SHAPE researchers have an essential role to play in finding new, more sustainable ways to live and thrive. From behavioural psychologists and human geographers to historians, economists and communications scholars, SHAPE researchers frequently collaborate with their counterparts in STEM and contribute invaluable insights to this most pressing of challenges.

“We look forward to working with students and staff at Bangor University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of East Anglia and to seeing the results of each project.”

Larissa Kennedy, SOS-UK and NUS President, said:

“Students have long been at the heart of movements for climate justice and social justice. I’m so excited to see us furthering this by working with the British Academy on the SHAPE Sustainability Impact projects, which provide an amazing opportunity to bring together students and academics from arts, humanities and social sciences, to take action for climate change and social justice.”

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on press@thebritishacademy.ac.uk  / 020 7969 5273 / 07500 010 432.

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