We are a cross-disciplinary community of practice which includes academics and students. Our aim is to support students construct healthy futures for themselves, their communities and the planet. We involve community, public and private organisations to create authentic environments that develop learning about - and action on - key global issues.
The Sustainability Forum, coordinated by Dr Diana Pritchard (from the Centre for Learning Excellence), holds innovative University-wide events, or mass learn-ins, which link local action to achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our interactive events deliver curriculum, co-curriculum, extra-curriculum and research opportunities, and secure work and voluntary placements for students from different disciplines.
The impacts of our collaborative work on curriculum, pedagogy, staff development and community engagement are recognised nationally. In 2017, the HEA awarded us a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence and since 2016 the University League ‘People and Planet’ assessed our work at maximum level, securing the University’s position in the country’s top twenty.
This event, organised in conjunction with UNAssociation – Luton, was attended by 168 people from our usual mix. It included mainly students, but also 24 staff, 22 from the community and third sector organisations, Councillors and dignitaries (including the CEO of Luton Council, High Sheriff). Through interactive Q&A, group work and interactive session, participants developed knowledge and understandings about the extent and nature of modern day slavery, existing local service provision, and international UN protocol frameworks for protection against slavery and trafficking. The location of the University in a county which has the airport, an immigration detention centre and is close to London and other urban county-line networks, renders Bedfordshire one of the five highest regions for human trafficking.
Spearheading outcomes of this event include:
Video production in process.
Our multi-disciplinary Sustainability Forum is holding another university-wide event at our Luton campus. This will deepen knowledge and understandings of the contexts and extent of forced migration & human rights atrocities and abuses occurring in different regions across the globe.
This will involve students and academics from disciplines in all faculties. Former survivors of war and violations, representatives from local and national organisations, and local Councilors will join us. Collectively we will learn about and explore the reporting on and the consequences for individuals, families and our transnational communities. Through interactive and participatory sessions, we will identify key challenges and actions, which shine an authentic light on events, respond to needs, and create connections of solidarity.
Over 122 people (including 90 UG students from over six disciplines, together with academics, civic organisations, and local and international dignitaries) attended this event which created a dynamic learning experience for everyone.nIt involved simulated learning, incorporating the materials and software developed by Climate Interactive
Credits: BedsTV, School of Culture & Communications (Anthony Greenbank, Lucy Hunt and Chloe Slocombe).
The event focussed on discussions from practitioners on mitigations and adaptations to climate change in specialist workshops, and closed with a final plenary on Youth Action
Credit: Daniella Martins, UG student, School of Culture & Communications
Bringing in representatives from public, private and community organisations, this event involved over 170 people in participatory activities which explored current trends and impacts of climate change, and identified the areas for cross disciplinary, sector and generational collaborations.
Students gained knowledge and understandings about climate change and its relevance to their future work and lives.
Our events build on practices which are piloted and evaluated for learning impact and student experience.
Since 2016 we have designed and implemented University-wide events to involve students, staff and representatives of civic, public and private institutions in experiential, simulated and real-life learning.
An open meeting will be held on Wednesday 21st January 2018 to discuss the future direction and scope of the Sustainability Forum as an active force for teaching, research and curriculum innovations.
We meet at least twice a year - PDF 932.6 KB , on 1st June 2017 - PDF 68.7 KB and 21st September 2016 - PDF 179.4 KB . Staff and students open meeting 13 September 2017 - PDF 99.2 KB . For more information please email Diana Pritchard at email@example.com
We celebrate that our dedicated community is valued for having shaped the institutional agenda. Academic participation is recognised within the Professional Teaching Scheme
In recognition of their effective work, core members of the Sustainability Forum were nominated by the University for the prestigious HEA Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.
(Left to right: Dr Nicolas Worsfold, Biological Science; Dr Diana Pritchard, Centre for Learning Excellence; Dr Helen Connolly, Sociology; Dr Tamara Ashley, Dance Performance; David Jazani, Construction)