Call for applications for STEPS Centre Summer School

Invited author: Nathan Oxley (@nathan_oxley), Communications and Impact Manager, STEPS Centre

The STEPS Centre Summer School aims to bring together an exceptional group of people who are exploring ideas and research methodologies for pathways to sustainability. Through a mix of lectures, walks, discussions and public events, participants challenge the STEPS team and each other on questions of science, society and development.

The learning programme is informed by the STEPS ‘pathways approach’. Often sustainability is presented as a technical problem which can be solved if only we had enough information and the right kind of science. But this view ignores politics, democracy and power. In fact, there are many possible ways to seek sustainability. Decision making should be ‘opened up’ and ‘broadened out’ to include poor and marginalised people and diverse forms of knowledge.

Applications are open for the 5th Summer School in May 2016, and you can apply online  at the STEPS Centre website:

How does the Summer School work?

The programme includes lectures and discussions, ‘walkshops’ – longer discussions held on walks through the surrounding area – social events, and a chance to play the African Farmer game. The Summer School also includes some time in smaller groups, where participants get to reflect and discuss their own work, led and mentored by members of the STEPS Centre.

The discussion in these groups goes towards a mini-conference, planned and run by participants themselves, with support from the STEPS team.

The topics include:

  • Research methods and methodologies
  • Policy processes
  • Grassroots innovation
  • Resource politics
  • Complexity and uncertainty
  • Sustainability transitions and transformations

The Summer School has run since 2012 with the generous support of the ESRC, IDRC and UKIERI.


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