6 October 2022

Imagining a Climate Crisis Curriculum

Academics from the Department of Philosophy are working with partners to look at how educational curriucla could be changed in the face of climate change.

Posters showing climate crisis

Building on the semester-long Knowledge Exchange project supported by the Higher Education Innovation Fund that initiated a collaboration between Union of Justice, Synergie Family, and the University of Sheffield, Joshua Forstenzer convened a project workshop on how we ought to change educational curricula in the face of the climate crisis on the 27th of June 2022, in the ICOSS building at the University of Sheffield. 

The event brought NGO and charity workers, elected decision-makers, educational leaders, and philosophers of education into dialogue with local educators and members of the University community. The workshop addressed the challenges involved in imaging education in the face of the climate crisis by addressing questions relating to the purposes of education in the 21st century, the appropriate pedagogies for confronting and responding to the climate crisis, the responsibilities of educators and governments in responding to the evolving mental health needs of students, the duty of liberal neutrality, the skills of political communication and activism, the civic role of art education, the value of quietism, the role of NGOs and educational charities, the connection between climate change and human rights, the challenge of adding disciplines to a packed curriculum, the promise of doing philosophy with children, the wider curriculum, the role of the youth and the student movement in climate activism, and the pedagogic role of flourishing, among other topics.

Speakers included Magid Magid (Executive Director at Union of Justice, former Lord Mayor of Sheffield & former Member of European Parliament), Naïm Zriouel (Director at Synergie Family), Grace Lockrobin (Director of P4C at SAPERE and Founder of Thinking Space), Ian James Kidd (Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham), Abdi-Aziz Suleiman (Parliamentary Affairs Consultant at Cerulean Strategic Communications), Jane Gatley (Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Birmingham), Michael Hand (Professor at the University of Birmingham), Minesh Parekh (Labour & Co-operative Councillor for Crookes & Crosspool and Parliamentary Researcher for Olivia Blake MP), Laura D'Olimpio (Associate Professor at University of Birmingham), Evie Croxford (President of Sheffield Students' Union), Allie Cockburn (Instructional Designer in Human Rights Education at Amnesty International), and Chiara Liguori (Policy Advisor at Amnesty International).

Discussions were fruitful and key elements were captured in posters developed by Kevin Kennedy Ryan (Design and Marketing Consultant).

Posters designed by Kevin Kennedy Ryan based on the discussion

The next steps in this project will see Forstenzer continue to collaborate with Synergie Family -- returning to France on October 17th of this year for Marseille's festival de la Pop Philosophie -- and Union of Justice (in Sheffield and in Brussels) over the coming year.

For any interested students, Amnesty International offers an online training course on Climate Change and Human Rights (designed by Amnesty's Allie Cockburn). 

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