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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Summer School 2016: Transformative Human-Environment Research & Participatory Methods: From Co-production to Co-producing

IRI THESys is hosting its Summer School 2016 on transdisciplinary methods

26-30 September 2016
IRI THESys offices, 4 Floor, Friedrichstraße 191, 10117 Berlin


Human-environment research is the interdisciplinary study of how humans live in, affect, govern, reflect upon and perceive their natural environment, and how, in turn, that environment supports or constrains human life and culture. This research draws much of its legitimacy from being relevant for the very organisation of human-environment relations themselves. Considerable effort is thus invested in understanding pressing societal challenges such as sustainable development, climate change adaptation, land competition, biodiversity conservation and water, food and energy security, to name a few. Yet, researchers are increasingly mandated to engage more actively with politics and the plurality of epistemologies and perspectives on these challenges that exist in society. So, how may human-environment research take an active role in transformative research for and with society?

This is the overall question for this summer school which will be addressed by applying science and technology studies (STS) and political ecology perspectives to participants’ own cases as well as getting first hands-on experience with transdisciplinary research methods. First, drawing on STS, we will discuss how human-environment research is co-produced (passive voice) through its historical interplay with culture, politics, economy and technology. The participants will appreciate how any prevalent knowledge could have turned out differently had other cultural, political, economic and technological factors dominated in its production. Second, drawing on political ecology, we will discuss how this prevalent knowledge is always contested, overtly or not, by alternative framings, and how people are implicated by this knowledge that had no say in its production. Recognising this democratic deficit in knowledge production will provide us with arguments for opening up human-environment research to those different framings, alternative knowledges and implications that exist. Thus, in the remainder of the summer school, we will learn transdisciplinary methods for co-producing (active voice) knowledge between academics and actors outside the academy. The programme will be rounded off with a guide to reflexion on transdisciplinary practice, touching on issues such as fairness and competence of transdisciplinary processes.

The participants will bring their own cases in the form of posters to the summer school, where the cases will react in structured discussions and exercises with the theories and methods offered by international lecturers of STS, political ecology and transdisciplinary research.


Programme (download)



Application - Deadline: 31 May 2016

Applications are invited from highly-motivated doctoral researchers, working in fields such as geography, environmental science, anthropology, development studies, agricultural science, political science, institutional economics and applied philosophy, conducting research on human-environment relations.

The Summer School is free of charge, including material, lunch and coffee breaks. Accommodation as well as transport to and from Berlin will be paid.

Numbers are limited, so recruitment will be by refereed selection. Experience with transdisciplinarity or participatory methods is not a selection criteria, but motivation should be visible.

Required documents for application are:

  •       Application form (download)
  •       Letter of Motivation (download)
  •       Curriculum Vitae

Please send your application documents by email to kathrin.klementz@hu-berlin.de by 31 May 2016 9pm GMT. Applications received afterwards will not be considered. We hope to let you know the outcome of the selection process by 20 June 2016.


Kathrin Klementz
Photo: Kathrin Klementz


Kathrin Klementz, Graduate Program Coordination
Phone: +49 (030) 2093-66346
E-Mail: kathrin.klementz@hu-berlin.de


Tobias Krüger Photo: Andresa Süß
Photo: Andreas Süß


Prof. Dr. Tobias Krüger, Research Group Leader
Phone: +49 (030) 2093-66342
E-Mail: tobias.krueger@hu-berlin.de