Sustainable Culture

Chair:       Katriina Siivonen, Finland Futures Research Centre
Time:        Thursday, 9th June, at 13-15
Venue:     Lecture room B3118
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Conditions of Cultural Sustainability: Cultural Creativity and Collective Culture
Katriina Siivonen
Finland Futures Research Centre
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Basically all human activities with their material and immaterial products are culture. One central tension between different definitions of culture exists because, culture is seen on the one hand as individual, free and creative self-expression and on the other hand as responsible and collective order.
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According to current definition, the creative, individual based interaction process is one basic quality of culture. Thus it can be seen as the primary object for safeguarding in culturally sustainable development. In addition, common value based cultural constructs are to be safeguarded. These constructs can be for example elements of distinctive local culture. In definition and selection of these, empowerment of all people is a central principle in terms of culturally sustainable development.
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Concerning cultural sustainability, I will have empirical examples from the project ‘Storm’. It is a Finnish national project where artistic activities are considered as a source for empowerment for especially marginalized young people. How cultural creativity and collective cultural order support well-being and positive futures images of young people in their own localities?
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Drivers and Barriers to Sustainable Development: An Historical-Futures Perspective (Case Study)
Marcus Bussey
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia
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This paper is based on research done at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia in 2009-2010 on cultural learning at times of environmental and social stress. The focus of this research was on how adaptive capacity was enabled or constrained by social and cultural dynamics at work in any historical context. Culture is framed as a human adaptation to the insecurities present in the environment.
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I propose that there is a lot of evidence that cultures and their traditions can respond positively to environmental stress. Climate change is just another of many challenges that humanity has faced. However history also demonstrates that there have been catastrophic failures to adapt so we should not be comfortable in the present but we can be hopeful.
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The paper will identify a set of drivers identified from a survey of 33 historical cases and make a argument for using historical experience in the form of historical scenarios in workshops that engage with stakeholders, particularly those who are resistors.
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Design and Implementation of Sustainable Development Program for Trade Union of Education in Finland
Lauri Kurvonen
Trade Union of Education in Finland
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Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ) represents teachers at various school levels and educational institutes, ranging from day-care center teachers to lecturers in universities and vocational school teachers. In Finland the education is considered as one of the most important assets for handling the future challenges such as sustainable development. Therefore OAJ is taking an active role as a promoter of sustainable development in field of education. As a practical measure OAJ is now creating a sustainable development program which will be implemented in its activities and policies. The program is divided into three different sections or sub-programs which are Organization activities, Education and salary politics and Sustainability support for the teachers and the local teachers’ unions.
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The aims of Organization activities are a) to reduce the ecological footprint of the organization to a sustainable level and b) to transform (or to strengthen) the organization to be a socially strong and innovative workplace.
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The aim of Education and salary politics is to transform the national education politics to promote and empower schools and educational institutes to be socially, culturally and ecologically sustainable societies.
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Sustainability support will provide the teachers and the local teachers’ unions guidance, advice and education for social, cultural and ecological development of their own work places and local societies.b
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Measuring Environmental Sustainability among Universities
Maryam Faghihimani
University of Oslo, Norway; University of Tampere, Finland & University of Aveiro, Portugal
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Purpose: To measure implementation of environmental sustainability concept and commitment to declarations for Higher Education and sustainability among universities. To analyze the current status and trend and providing a set of indicators for institute to assess environmental sustainability in their own institutes.
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Design/ Methodology: Based on university’s function model, declarations for Higher Education and Sustainability and previous studies, 50 indicators have been designed to measure the commitment to environmental sustainability in 21 universities all around the world.
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Findings: The matrix shows the assessment of implementation of environmental sustainability in different universities. Finding shows different trends in main functions of universities with regard to environmental sustainability. It address the issue within Governance, Education, Research, Operation and other related activities.
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Practical Implications: This project has provided a set of indicators which can measure environmental sustainability in any university, to benchmark sample universities and provide best practice in order to implement Environmental sustainability at the universities.
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Keywords: Environmental Sustainability, Higher Education, Sustainability Measurement, Benchmarking
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Designing Sustainability Together – Disciplinary Competences in Transdisciplinary Knowledge Building
Tatu Marttila
Aalto University, School of Art and Design, Finland
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In Sustainable Design transdisciplinarity has become “a label for collaborative research” that crosses over disciplinary boundaries and sectors of society (Bruun et al 2005), gradually deepening the integration in communication and knowledge between the participants (Hukkinen 2008). In this process the ability to understand disciplinary frameworks for problem setting and analysis becomes important, because without a mutual understanding and agreement on visions and scenarios true progress cannot be made (Kohtala and Marttila 2010).
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This paper looks into how students in design, engineering and business approach sustainability, and explores the differences between disciplinary approaches and understanding. Data is gathered with questionnaires and interviews from students and professors in a new multidisciplinary masters’ programme called Creative Sustainability (CS), which started in Fall 2010 in Aalto University. The programme’s curriculum has strong emphasis on collaborative courses and real-life cases, and as such it represents a good case to study transdisciplinary knowledge building.
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According to earlier research, the key elements in collaborative design process can be found from the ability to balance between different dimensions, issues and roles that are related to the problem context, and between hybrid and disciplinary identities, requiring collaborative and synthetic skills. This text seeks to further define the necessary emphases and focus points, to improve transdisciplinary collaboration.
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References
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   Bruun H., Hukkinen, J., Huutoniemi, K. and J. T. Klein (2005) Promoting Interdisciplinary Research: The Case of the Academy of Finland (Helsinki: Edita).
   Hukkinen, J. (2008) Sustainable Networks: Cognitive tools for expert collaboration in social-ecological systems (London, New York: Routledge).
   Kohtala, C. and T. Marttila (2011) ‘Transdisciplinary Platforms: Teaching Sustainability to Design Students’, in C. Vezzoli, C. Kohtala, A. Srinivasan, L. Xin, M. Fusakul and M. Jacob. (eds.) Product-Service System Design for Sustainability (tentative title; still in press) (Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing).
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