SUSPLACE Autumn School 2017

Map of key words related to ‘sustainable place-shaping’, cretated by the Autumn School participants

From October 2 -6, 2017 the SUSPLACE Autumn School took place in Aveiro, Portugal. Hosted by the University of Aveiro, the week brought together 15 SUSPLACE researchers and 6 PhDs from other programmes and places. With guest contributions from prof. Adrian Smith (University of Sussex), dr. Maria Tengö (Stockholm Resilience Centre), prof. Artura da Rosa Pires (Uuniversity of Aveiro), prof. Celeste Coelho (University of Aveiro), Leila Dregger  (Tamera Ecovillage) and SUSPLACE Visiting Scientist prof. Katherine Gibson (Western Sydney University), the school addressed a diversity of approaches and perspectives on sustainable place-shaping practices.

Sustainable place-shaping

On Monday, the school opened with a keynote lecture by SUSPLACE coordinator Prof. Ina Horlings on Sustainanbility, Transformation and Place, followed by introductions and a silent mapping of sustainable place-shaping. In the afternoon, Artur da Rosa Pires and Celeste Coelho addressed issue around inter- and transdisciplinary research, using examples from research on forest management in Portugal.

In the evening, the Autumn School participants got together in the Aveiro Arts House and to movies about their research in the underground cinema of the late Portuguese artist Vasco Branco. His grandson started a museum, bed and breakfast and artist-in-residency in his former home – an inspiring example of sustainable place-shaping itself!

Grassroots Innovations

On Tuesday, Adrian Smith gave a presentation about Grassroots Innovations in the context of maker spaces. In the afternoon, participants worked in groups, using the  methods of peer-to-peer coaching to help each other with their PhD project.

Prof. Adrian Smith on grassroots innovations

Appreciating Ansiães through the eyes of….

On Wednesday, SUSPLACE researchers Marta Nieto and Alessandro Vasta, organised a full day field trip to Ansiães, where we visited large forest commons. Using Appreciative Inquiry, Mart and Alessandro had prepared a booklet for all the participants, introducing them to the case and a local persona that they would be adopting for the day. This invited us  to appreciate the area and its challenges through the eyes of a local resident. After a language game, allowing us to understanding the complexities involved when dealing with different languages and types of knowledge, we toured around the area, meeting some of the commoners and gaining understanding of local issues and complexities. In the afternoon, we were hosted at the community center for a co-design workshop, creatively imagining the common land in 2025.

Understanding the local complexities of the forest commons in Ansiaes
One of the creative designs for the common land of Ansiaes in 2025

Sense of Place

On Thursday, Maria Tengö gave an interesting keynote on Sense of Place in Socio-Ecological Systems, followed by an experiential story from Leila Dregger on community-building in the Eco-Village of Tamera, Portugal. In the afternoon, a team of SUSPLACE researchers hosted a workshop on Arts-based Methods for Transformative Design.  The workshop was based on a format developed for, and earlier presented at, the Transformations Conference 2017 in Dundee, Schotland.

Maria Tengo on Sense of Place in Socio-Ecological Systems

On Friday morning,  those interested joined an online session with Katherine Gibson on Diverse Economies and the role of the researcher as a change agent. The school ended with a final session of peer-to-peer coaching and the drawing and presentation of  personal Learning Journeys.

We thank all the participants and contributors for their input and inspiration!

Participants of the SUSPLACE Autumn School 2017, Aveiro