Summer School 2023: "Doing Justice! Doing Just This! - Understanding justice in transdisciplinary and transformative research"

June 28th – 29th, 2023

Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), Dresden, Germany

Transdisciplinary and transformative research (TTR) seeks to address pressing and complex sustainability problems by bringing together academic and societal partners. In doing so, TTR aims to  co-produce new types of knowledge and transform the ways in which such knowledge is used in society. However, TTR might as well reproduce or create new social, economic and environmental injustices if it lacks concepts and methods to reflect upon and address justice. These concern all stages and aspects of the research process - from preliminary ideation to ex-post evaluation, from project management to practical experimentation, from interaction formats to process designs. If unattended, their diverse justice implications may run the risk of ultimately exacerbating divides e.g. within or between species (non-/human), social groups (gender, class, ethnicity, religion, age, ability, etc.), urban and rural communities, or between the Global South and the Global North.

Such challenges urge for reflexivity to acknowledge the bright and dark sides of transformations and to engage with the concept of justice and its implications for TTR. We need to ask:

  • What are “just” transformations and how to enable them?
  • How can TTR methods contribute to reflexivity and depth in terms of just transformations?
  • How to ensure reciprocity and diversity in research processes in support of justice?
  • How to define and apply ethical reflection criteria in the research process?

To reflect upon and deepen our collective understandings of justice as applied to TTR for sustainability transformation, we invite you to a two day postdoctoral summer school organised by the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER)in Dresden, Germany, in collaboration with the Leibniz Research Network “Knowledge for Sustainable Development". This interdisciplinary training and networking event provides an excellent opportunity for engaged post-doc researchers to learn about, and co-develop new robust TTR approaches that address aspects of justice comprehensively. We will explore this through a mix of lectures, creative formats and group work, involving senior international experts:

Dr. Martin Savransky is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he convenes the MA Ecology, Culture & Society. His work combines philosophy and the social sciences, postcolonial thought and the environmental humanities, to activate speculative concepts and methodologies of life on unstable ecological terrain. He is the author of Around the Day in Eighty Worlds: Politics of the Pluriverse (Duke University Press, 2021) and The Adventure of Relevance: An Ethics of Social Inquiry (with a foreword by Isabelle Stengers; Palgrave, 2016), and the co-editor of After Progress (Sage, 2022) and of Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures (Routledge, 2017). He has published essays in forums such as Theory, Culture & Society, Dialogues in Human Geography, Social Text, and The Sociological Review. He has co-curated the After Progress digital exhibition (, and is currently working on a new book length project (tentatively) titled The Murmurs of the Outside: Planetary Improvisation and Uncivilised Life.

Dr. Dr. Guido Caniglia is a philosopher of science working in inter- and transdisciplinary sustainability science. His work aims to develop frameworks that intersect epistemological, ethical, and political considerations in support of knowledge co-production processes in the field. Guido is currently the Scientific Director of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) in Klosternueburg close to Vienna. He earned a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Florence (Italy) and a PhD in Biology, from Arizona State University (USA).

Dr. Saurabh Arora works on politics of sustainability at Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex (UK), where he co-convenes two MSc programmes on Sustainable Development. In the last 15 years, Saurabh has written on political issues including agroecological alternatives to modern industrial agriculture; relational alternatives to categorical approaches that dominate policy discourses on poverty; participation (and diversity) in policies and plans for ‘smart’ urbanism and for biofuel development; and conceptualisations of care and conviviality for highlighting sustainability that goes beyond modernist ‘technofixes’. Much of this work has focused on developments in India, Indonesia, and East Africa. In ongoing work, Saurabh is trying to develop a new topological approach to colonial modernity and its re-enactments in sociotechnical interventions that are promoted as sustainability transformations.

The Summer School is organised in collaboration with the NEST (Network of early career researchers in sustainability transitions) Conference Re-imagining Transititions: Beyond established methods and concepts"  2023 of the Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN), taking place in Dresden, Germany, from 30th June to 1st July 2023. Participation in the workshop is free of cost. However, participants will have to cover their travel and accommodation.

Key dates

March 15th 2023 – Application submission deadline

Early-April - Anticipated notification of application acceptance

Early-April - Registration opens

April 30th 2023 – Registration deadline

June 28th – June 29th LRN Summer School