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Students to explore SHAPE disciplines’ impact on sustainability

Rachel Soper
October 27, 2021

The British Academy and SOS-UK have just launched the collaborative ‘SHAPE Sustainability Impact Projects’ with six institutions across the UK. The aim of this project is to engage students and academics across SHAPE disciplines (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People, the Environment and Economy) in realising the relevance and impact of their subjects in tackling environmental, social, and economic sustainability challenges.

More than 100 students from Aberystwyth University, De Montfort University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Goldsmiths University of London, Leeds Arts University and the University of West London have been selected to take part. The virtual launch of the project on 25th and 26th October saw SOS-UK, the British Academy, and guest speakers outline the context and expectations of the project as well as providing opportunity for the student project leaders to get to know each other.

Over the next few months, participating students will work in small groups to problem-solve a range of real-world local sustainability challenges, following a multi- and inter-disciplinary ‘living laboratory’ approach. Each of the participating institutions, as well as their local communities, will serve as testbeds for their ideas, enabling an understanding of the real-world impact of their disciplines.

Student project leaders will have the opportunity to network with students from other universities and will receive training and support from SOS-UK to develop their projects and transferable professional and academic skills. Support will combine online national collaboration, and local in-person activities. The project concludes in April 2022, where groups will present their findings and recommendations for the chance to be awarded funding to continue the legacy of their project.

Ellen Fearon, NUS-USI president and Trustee of SOS-UK, said:

“Students have long been at the heart of movements for climate justice and social justice. I’m so excited to see us furthering this by working with the British Academy on SHAPE Sustainability Impact projects, which provide an amazing opportunity to bring together students and academics from arts, humanities and social sciences, to take action for climate change and social justice.”