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SHAPE Sustainability Impact Projects conclude at virtual conference

More than 40 students will present at the final conference of the SHAPE Sustainability Impact Project, led by SOS-UK and the British Academy.


The SHAPE Sustainability Impact Project is a collaborative project between the British Academy and SOS-UK which uses a "living laboratory" model to demonstrate the importance of arts, humanities and social sciences in tackling sustainability challenges. The project adopts the British Academy's use of the term SHAPE to describe Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for the People and the Economy/Environment.

Three universities were selected to take part in the project: UEA, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Bangor University. Each university recruited a cohort of students from arts, humanities and social science disciplines, who would become SHAPE project leaders at their university. At the virtual project launch in November 2020, staff from each university pitched three sustainability challenges, with students forming interdisciplinary teams to design a project which tackles their assigned challenge.

The nine challenges cover a wide range of environmental, economic and social sustainability issues including energy use, curriculum reform, the local community, creative expression and shared values.

Since the project's launch, workshops and support were facilitated by SOS-UK and staff at each of the three universities to prepare students to plan and develop their projects, supporting them to apply their specialist knowledge to find solutions for sustainability challenges, and enabling an understanding of the relevance and impact of their disciplines in tackling these challenges through applied learning.

Now, after three months of working on their projects, the more than 40 student project leaders are presenting their nine projects, including their recommendations, to university stakeholders, SOS-UK and the British Academy at the final project conference, which will be held via zoom on 10th and 11th February 2021. Following their project presentations at the conference, students will hear feedback from stakeholders at their own university on how their projects' findings and recommendations will inform future work, and the student project leaders will all receive a certificate and digital badge.

If you would like to find out more about the project, or our wider ESD work, please contact Rachel.Soper@sos-uk.org. You may also be interested in our Global Goals Teach In, and is another opportunity for students from all disciplines to engage in sustainability through their learning.