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20 Apr 2021

Call for Contributions! NORRAG Special Issue 07: Education in Times of Climate Change

NORRAG, an associate program of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, invites contributions to NORRAG Special Issue (NSI) 07 on Education in Times of Climate Change

The contributions are expected to be short written articles (typically around 1200-1500 words) or multimedia material that can speak to a wider audience of policymakers, academics, researchers, civil society organizations, and other actors working in education. Articles should be submitted in English but if you wish to send one in French or Spanish please let us know.

As a first step please indicate your interest by sending us a short abstract by 21 May 2021 with no more than 250 words. This will help us ensure a good balance of articles from diverse contributors in different regions. We will advise contributors by the end of May and would want to receive the first draft of articles themselves by 12 August 2021. Papers will be peer reviewed and revised in the remainder of 2021, with a view to publishing the Special Issue on Education in Times of Climate Change in February 2022.


Climate change is not a new issue for education, but new levels of consensus and concern are emerging, suggesting that new policy developments may follow, with hopefully a stronger connection to the educational opportunities, challenges and inequalities around the world and in particular in the Global South. Just how this is to be done in education at all levels, is not always clear. Educators in diverse fields need to do and share a deeper analysis of climate change education needs around the world quite urgently in order to inform policy formulation, the evaluation frameworks for success, and resourcing decisions. 

We invite authors to draw on the practical experiences of researcher-educators and on diverse scholarly traditions that illuminate the challenges of climate change education in diverse contexts, and what is to be done about them. How should educators and learners be engaged in, and conceptualize climate change education and learning? Do we need new imaginaries for framing learning and education? How can international and national policy platforms better support climate change education? Beyond well-motivated calls for “more resources”, we need to articulate exactly what resources should be used for, and why. What are young people asking for, and how should workers and rural communities be involved? And, how can climate change education and learning be evaluated and communicated, in ways that truly reflect the intentions, new imaginaries, and emerging and changing processes of climate change education as we move into uncertain futures?

A collection of diverse works is needed to unpack the challenges that have emerged in the past decades, bring new lenses, imaginaries and insights to them, and shine a stronger and more transgressive light on the way forward. To this end we propose six sections or themes, with five papers to be published in each. Authors should indicate which theme or themes they are addressing, with reference to the outline below (click “read more” for more details on each theme). We encourage collaborative authorship to strengthen perspective and engagement across contexts.

Six Themes in NSI 07:

1. The Contours of Climate Change Education Globally

This theme explores implications for education in all its forms, and for those who are involved in educational practices of varied kinds, policy, evaluation and funding for education. Contributions may range from comments on the geo-political landscape, to the implications for diverse classrooms, social learning settings and funding programmes. They may also consider more or less appropriate theoretical tools and methodologies for understanding global climate change(s) and educational (re)actions.

2. Transgressing Boundaries Between Formal and Informal Learning Systems in Building Forward Better Together

The Covid-19 pandemic is a defining moment in our shared global history, but countries and communities have experienced multiple crises in different ways. How do we transition in just and inclusive ways towards the alternatives? What are the implications for education and training systems and curricula, educators, educational institutions and researchers? What are the most promising practices in workplaces and among those providing education and training for work? Can partners in social skills ecosystems support work-based training, entrepreneurship and enterprise development training that truly help societies build towards inclusive, well governed and socially just green economies?

3. Transgressive, Transformative and Expansive Learning in Times of Climate Change

The need for more radical forms of learning-centred transformation is increasingly recognised in the discourse on transformations to sustainability. Yet these approaches to learning remain under-developed and undertheorized. How do the often ignored dimensions of cognitive and epistemic justice, environmental justice, solidarity, silent and previously hidden or marginalized knowledges, empathy, emotion, relationality, anger and other qualities of learning get more attention in mainstream learning sciences? Are they necessary for climate change education or not?

4. Diverse Knowledges for Responding to Climate Change

Decolonial scholar-activist De Sousa Santos claims that if we are to solve the complex problems of the globe, we have to transgress the ‘abyssal divide’ that has marginalized the knowledge(s) of the world’s majority peoples. Contributions are invited that share theoretical solutions and in particular, promising practical examples of pedagogy, learning processes, curricula, teaching programmes, evaluations, research and development projects and more, that have been able to mobilise and work with diverse knowledges in response to climate change and related challenges.

5. Young People and the Call for Climate Action

Young activists have stunned the world by speaking out against governments and for climate action. At the centre of their call is a re-imagining of materiality in modern societies. Have the schools and modern forms of binary reasoning and the foundational separation of nature and culture failed or shaped these young people? What more can education and training systems, funders and governments do to support young people? What do the curricula and classroom practices for the relationally conceived ‘assemblage’ approaches to education look like, in schools, universities, training colleges, and other learning / lifeworld sites? And where are the voices of young children in all this?

6. Transforming Education Systems for Sustainable Futures – How Do Schools, Universities and Technical Institutions Prepare Us for Climate Change?

This theme addresses the wider question of transforming the structures and functions of education systems for sustainable futures in all of their levels and facets.  It is vital for example to consider whole school / whole institution responses. How are educational institutions responding to climate change in their buildings, meals, gardens, transport and more? Are professional communities in agreement on the intended learning outcomes of climate change education? How supported are educators to be change agents in times of climate change? These are some of the questions authors could explore to guide more robust practice, policy, monitoring and evaluation for the educational transformations that are needed.

Guest Editors: Distinguished Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka and Professor Eureta Rosenberg, Rhodes University Environmental Learning Research Centre, South Africa. 

Feel free to contact Guest Editors to discuss a contribution!

Submission of Abstracts and Articles:

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 21 May 2021

Deadline for first draft of full articles: 12 August 2021

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