SR+ Seminars 2015/16


For info on past talks, meetings, etc., see:

2016 Schedule: all Thursdays, 12.00-13.30 (Charles Carter C37 and C40, unless otherwise stated)


Thursday 21st Jan 12.00-13.30 LT6 Management School:     Cllr Jon Barry, Lancaster City Green Councillor and Mayor of Lancaster. Title: “Greening Lancaster – 25 years of trials, tribulations and occasional successes

Since 1987, Jon Barry has been a Green activist, councillor, cabinet member and mayor in Lancaster. He describes some of the Green, community and sustainable successes and failures along the way. He also explores how deep any changes have been and what their prospects are for the future. He attempts as many funny stories as he can fit in to the time. Jon worked at the University between 1987 and 1999. He now works for the Centre for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment Science, based in Lowestoft (don’t ask).

11th Feb:   Nadine Andrews, HighWire CDT. Title: “Psychosocial factors influencing responses to ecological crisis: defences, needs and frames”

People don’t always act in accordance with their values. In this seminar I identify and discuss psychosocial factors influencing responses to ecological crisis in organisational contexts, which is under-explored in sustainability and environmental research. Psychosocial factors are psychological processes that interact with social factors to influence cognition and behaviour. Drawing on the findings of an empirical transdisciplinary study into the lived experience of sustainability managers and leaders in their work to influence pro-environmental decision-making in their organisations, I show how psychosocial processes may interact to create tensions within the individual. How these tensions are negotiated has implications for effectiveness in responding adaptively to ecological crisis. I focus particularly on the dynamics between psychological threat defences/coping strategies, psychological needs and motivation, and cognitive frames.

10th Mar:  Dr Dmitry Yumashev, LUMS, Pentland Centre. Title: Modelling Global Risks of Climate Change

Slides available via the following link:

Modelling Global Risks of Climate Change – Dmitry Yumashev – edited

Climate change caused by multiple emissions accompanying our economic activities is now widely understood to be the biggest force that has potential to exacerbate the existing problems facing mankind and negatively affect the prospects of long-term socioeconomic development globally. The recent Paris Agreement has provided the first comprehensive roadmap of its kind which could serve to achieve substantial cuts in global emissions in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The policy changes pledged by the individual countries as part of the Paris Agreement are based on a wide range of modelling studies spanning across the fields of climate science and economics, and their successful implementation relies on management studies tackling the required behavioural changes in individuals and organisations. The work on all these fronts is very much ongoing; in particular, further quantitative assessments of the underlying risks are needed to narrow down the multiple uncertainties and design more effective policies to deal with climate change. In this talk I am going to describe some of the modelling approaches that are being used in shaping climate policy, and will present the latest results of our work at the Pentland Centre aiming to put a global price tag on the rapidly warming Arctic.

17th Mar: Dr Gerald Aiken, University of Luxembourg: Title: The Politics of Community Low Carbon Transitions

Taking the title in reverse order this talk first outlines low carbon transition, the system-wide transformation necessary to address the 21st century’s greatest challenges: climate change, peak oil and social and environmental injustices. These challenges are multifaceted, complex and wicked. Increasingly ‘community’ is seen as a major solution by a variety of actors: academics, states and grassroots participants. So secondly, it looks to the increasing positing of community as a site of great promise in this transition. Community is understood variously here, and I will discuss the varieties of community on offer and attempt to understand why community has achieved such prominence.

Lastly then the talk will address the politics of community low carbon transitions. These are the tensions that arise within the state-sponsored use of community to meet the low carbon challenge. It is these tensions that I find most interesting. Community action is rarely smooth, and tensions exist and can emerge within these groups over vision, level of community coherence, and how definite or wide a community’s border should be. But differences also emerge between these groups and their outside. Community has been seen as a form of governmentalisation, getting citizens to behave. In this case to lead more disciplined carbon lives. Some have called the use of community to meet the low-carbon challenge post-political: smothering collective action with a blanket of well-meaning, but inoperative belonging. These tensions also include the difference in subjectivities imagined between those participants and funders of the low carbon communities. The talk is wide-ranging, but specific themes will be described with examples from the types of low carbon communities I have worked with previously: Transition Towns, CRAG’s, and Carbon Conversations.

26th May: Dr Jessica Davies, LEC, Pentland Centre. Title: Sustainable soils and land use