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Rethinking our practices at the 2nd Sustainability Science Conference in Marseille, France

Les Rencontres Sciences de la durabilité (Sustainability Science Conference) is an annual meeting organised by the French Hub of Future Earth Secretariat, which aims at strengthening the sustainability science community in France by creating a safe space for discussion, reflection, and debate.

This year’s event was organised in collaboration with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Aix-Marseille University, the French National Research for Sustainable Development (IRD), Labos1point5, the Movement for Engaged and Connected Knowledge (MESR), and past participants of the Future Earth France Autumn School. A total of 130 participants gathered in person in Marseille, France to challenge our current research practices and think about our societal impact as researchers and our contribution to transformative change.

Over two days, from June 28-29, we explored opportunities to shift towards more transformative research practices, and the potential challenges and implications involved during sessions organised and led by networks and collectives engaged in transformative research. The sessions discussed how research can better support knowledge co-production and transformations, how to minimise the carbon footprint of conducting research, how the humanities contribute to transformative research through narrative analyses, the different ways researchers can engage with society, and how education can support a new generation of actors and researchers working towards a desirable future.

These sessions were punctuated by notable keynotes from Coffi Aholou, who presented examples of transdisciplinary work in the context of urban planning in Togo, Christophe Bonneuil, who gave insights on the concept of the Anthropocene from a historical perspective, Hendrik Davi, who, as a political actor, reminded us of the role that science has to play in societal and political transitions, and Julia Steinberger, who shared her vision for a society where well-being is compatible with planetary boundaries and made the case for blurring the lines between activism and academia. The event concluded with perspectives from early career researchers, giving us hope for the next generation of sustainability scientists, while at the same time, reminding us of the many challenges that remain.

Learn more about Les Rencontres Sciences de la durabilité.

Session recordings will be available shortly. Click HERE to watch recordings from last year’s event.