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New collaboration with school children focuses on children's ideas and questions on sustainable development
Cecilia [dot] von_arnold [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se (Cecilia von Arnold)
- published 24 January 2022
A unique collaboration between school children and researchers and students at LUCSUS, focusing on children’s thoughts and questions related to sustainable development, aims to contribute to the development of a future UNESCO biosphere reserve in the Vombsjö basin.
The project, Ung SciShop, is a collaboration between the association ARNA (Art and Nature), researchers and students at LUCSUS and schools in three different municipalities in the region.
The project wants to contribute to UNESCO's vision of strengthening the role of children and young people in the development of a democratic society and to an increased understanding of how research works to solve today's and tomorrow's sustainability challenges. The aim is to develop a new kind of citizen platform for young people in a biosphere reserve, to contribute to increased knowledge about what research entails and about sustainable development.
The project, which kicked off in the autumn 2021 with its first activities and meeting between school children and researchers, runs between 2021-2024 when the Vombsjö basin candidates to become a UNESCO biosphere.
The first meeting between researchers, students and school children
During the fall 2021, activities started with outdoor sessions with two school classes (grade 4 and 6) using innovative outdoor pedagogics to stimulate reflections and questions around their local environment, facilitated by the artist and pedagogue Jasmine Cederqvist. The children then continued their work in the schools. In October, the two classes met at a joint a workshop where they presented and discussed issues of nature with master students and researchers from Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, LUCSUS.
– It will be exciting to see how we can pick up and develop the children's thoughts and questions about different sustainability challenges. To do this in the local environment in Vombsjösänkan, and at the same time try to connect to the global issues is an exciting challenge for everyone in the project, says Sara Brogaard, senior lecturer at LUCSUS.
Working with intergenerational perspectives is key for sustainability science
Sara Brogaard sees many possibilities being part of this project: for researchers and students Ung SciShop provides an opportunity to collaborate with different actors in the future biosphere reserve, and for LUCSUS it is a possibility to develop a clearer anchorage in rural areas in the Vomsjöregion.
– For our students and for us as researchers it is a possibility to work with intergenerational perspectives through children's own questions and reflections. This is a key perspective in sustainability science; as the younger generation have few possibilities to engage with and have their perspectives heard about how they perceive our long-term sustainability challenges. It is in the end a matter of justice between generations, says Sara Brogaard.
For our students and for us as researchers it is a possibility to work with intergenerational perspectives through children's own questions and reflections.
The project continues a long tradition of collaboration with school children at LUCSUS
LUCSUS has a strong tradition of working closely with different stakeholders in society and have participated in several educational initiatives where interdisciplinary dimensions of socio-ecological systems have been in the centre. For example, LUCSUS was the university partner when Sydvatten started the project “Tänk H2O”, where high school students learn about interdisciplinary aspects of water resources. In the EU project InnoForESt, LUCSUS researchers investigated children’s and youth´s knowledge about forest and their ecosystem services in times of climate changes.
Futher, Ung SciShop connects well to LUCSUS interests in using art and culture to express and engage with the ongoing transitions.
The Vombsjö basin – on the way to becoming a unique new biosphere reserve
Science shops are a platform for dialogue between universities and civil society. At a science shop, independent research is conducted to help the public and associations solve problems and get answers to questions that concern them and the world around them. Read more on ARNA's website
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves
Biosphere reserves contribute to sustainable development by being model areas in support of Agenda 2030. In a biosphere reserve, new methods are tested and new knowledge is sought to provide examples of how we can preserve a natural area while people live there. The biosphere program is based on local commitment to sustainable development with the motto "local solutions on global challenges". There are just over 700 biosphere reserves around the world. In Sweden there are currently seven biosphere's and Vombsjösänkan is running for becoming the eighth.
The association ARNA works through the culture dimension of sustainability in Vombsjösänkan in the south of Sweden. Their vision is to contribute to innovation in sustainable development by creating bridges between generations' of experiences, science of today and people's visions for the future.
Sara Brogaard is a senior lecturer in Sustainability Science with a background in geography and geosciences. Her research addresses issues related to climate change, rural land use, livelihoods, small scale farming, vulnerability and extreme weather events