Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG)

Summer School on Local Initiatives for Sustainable Development

From:Mo 12-07-2021
Until:Fr 16-07-2021
Where:Groningen (and online)


What are the pressing issues of development today? Poverty, inequality and climate change are certainly outstanding candidates in the world we live in. However, what to say about the local problems that cities and communities all around the world face daily? What actions have been taken to tackle such issues? Who are the stewards driving processes of change at the local level? Most importantly, how do these local initiatives connect to the global sustainable development agenda?

In this summer school, we will look into the roles of local actors, particularly the youth, who are coming together to create alternative solutions to the challenges people face in their everyday lives. Our focus is local, looking at the initiatives around the city of Groningen, but also international when discussing the experiences within other hubs in Africa, Middle East and Latin America where embedded researchers and practitioners have been involved in processes of change. We will actively seek for different stories from individuals seeking to overcome ethnic, religious and political divides in their communities to young people transforming post-conflict situations in livelihood opportunities through collective action. We expect to draw a connection among these stories and to engage in a joint production of knowledge with our interlocutors.

Working in core themes connected to local initiatives around Groningen, participants will be able to contact community engaged actors, physically and/or online, and to investigate further into their challenges and inspirations. This small-scale fieldwork experience will be reflected upon under the light of participatory approaches to research and social change. Participants in this summer school will learn about the role of community stewards, particularly of local youth, and will be given the tools to identify key social issues. Furthermore, they will be motivated to find meaningful ways to contribute to social change whatever they are.

Public Webinar - Young Activists as Public Pedagogues
When:    Mo 12-07-2021 11:00 - 12:30

In recent years we have seen the emergence of world-wide youth movements caring for the future of the planet. They organize massive protests in the streets, participate in school strikes, study scientific analyses on climate change, engage in local sustainability experiments, etc.. Their criticism of the older generations in general and on the policymakers in particular is often harsh and reproachful. These movements obtain much attention in all kinds of media for their sensational character. However, apart from this eye-catching feature, these movements have a deeper layer. They have taken up the role of public pedagogues, educating the older generations about the urgency of taking action with regard to climate change. In my contribution I explore the role of Youth for Climate in creating ‘new attachments to the Earth’ (Bruno Latour) and the meaning of public pedagogy in connection with environmental activism.


Danny Wildemeersch is an emeritus professor of Social and Cultural Pedagogy at the KULeuven and a former professor of Social Pedagogy and Andragogy at the Radboud University (Netherlands).