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Minutes 2012

Minutes from the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Virtual Community on Sustainability and Consumption

6th of September 2012

Wroclaw, Poland

In regards to the VC and it’s activities during its first year of existence, John Thøgersen (JT) gave a brief status. At the end of August there were 71 members of the community. JT urged all members to spread the word about the VC to other scholars and PhD students working on or being interested in Sustainability & Consumption and to encourage them to sign up. Most of the activities mentioned at the inaugural meeting have been carried out or started in the first year, at least at an initial basis.

  • The VC has a running website, hosted by Aarhus University and a monthly newsletter.
  • The first virtual (or hybrid) VC seminar was carried out in October 2011 and a video of the presentation can be watched at the VC website.

In July 2012 the VC carried out a successful doctoral course/summer school with 50 participating PhD students and 10 teachers at Aarhus University.

However, there still hasn’t been new research project or applications than can be specifically attributed to the VC, and the virtual platform still does not contain sufficient facilities for interaction between members.

There was a good and open discussion about how and what can be improved to make the VC more valuable. The discussion was more a brainstorming than a planning exercise. Some of the proposals were:

  • We should develop an online facility to share project ideas with the community with the purpose of inviting feedback and collaboration (e.g. write 1 page about a project – post it – get feedback – find collaborators)
  • We should develop an online facility to express interest in new, e.g. European, projects, for people who want to make an application and are looking for partners, or for people who want to be partner if somebody else are applying for funding for larger projects. Might link into “research-dating” platforms that the EU and others are already running. (An EU platform was mentioned that has already been implemented and will start running soon.)
  • We should also have a space where we can invite people to collaborate on data one already has, and has reported in publications, but where others may see additional opportunities for interesting papers.
  • We should agree upon and announce research priorities for the near future.
  • We should have a place/section for mini CVs – to enable conversations and to introduce ourselves to others in the community; on the VC’s website or on a dedicated social network site, such as LinkedIn. In any case, members expressed their interest in being able to see who else is a member.
  • We should have a forum specifically for PhD students – a network where they can post information, like conferences they are attending, Q&A etc (Wencke Gwozdz [WG] mentioned that something similar is running at CBS and she would be happy to establish a contact, if advice is needed)
  • Perhaps the newsletter could be made more interactive – for example with links to places where people can comment or make recommendations. Perhaps a blog would be better than a newsletter?
  • The VC contains groups of members from different research groups. These research groups should take turns on being responsible for the editorial content of the newsletter, and report about their ongoing research activities with relevance for the community when they hold the torch.
  • We should add a more active international management group to the organizational structure.

It was made clear at the meeting that not all of these suggestions will necessarily be realized, but they definitely contain good and constructive ideas for making the VC more valuable and it seems realistic that several of them can be borne out during the next year.

The next year, we will work on improving the virtual platform and realize several of the ideas mentioned above. There was also general support for the proposal by JT that we should add a more active international management group to the organizational structure. The method for organizing an annual event was discussed, as well as what the meeting would consist of. The general sentiment was that we should continue the format with “piggy-bagging” on an existing conference, but shift between conferences to make participation sometimes more attractive to different people. A number of options for next year’s annual event were discussed. There was most support expressed, not least from PhD students, for having the annual event

in connection with the environmental psychology conference 22-25 September 2013 in Magdeburg, Germany. Several board members have also proposed that option and the head of the organizing committee (and member of the VC’s board), Professor Ellen Matthies, has kindly invited us to do so. For these reasons, the management group has after the meeting decided to accept Ellen’s invitation with thanks. So, we can already now announce that the next annual meeting of the VC will be at the environmental psychology conference 22-25 September 2013 in Magdeburg.

Last modified:20 October 2015 4.16 p.m.