Keri Facer

19 October 2021

ZENNSTRÖM VISITING PROFESSOR 2019–2020

Dr. Keri Facer, Professor of Educational and Social Futures

Contact: keri.facer@geo.uu.se

Keri Facer is Professor of Educational and Social Futures at the University of Bristol, School of Education. She works on rethinking the relationship between formal educational institutions and wider society and is particularly concerned with the sorts of knowledge that may be needed to address contemporary environmental, economic, social, and technological changes.

Since 2013, Keri has been Leadership Fellow for the RCUK Connected Communities Programme. This research programme is creating new relationships between communities and universities, drawing on arts and humanities perspectives and methods to enable new forms of knowledge production to address urgent contemporary issues.

The key themes from Keri Facer’s time at Uppsala University included

  • Education, Universities and Climate Change
  • Convening Publics for Rapid Societal Transformation

You can read the report summarising Keri Facer’s time at Uppsala University here:

Scroll down to read more about the different thematic activities of Keri Facer, and a compilation of talks and reports.

Theme 1 : Education, Universities and Climate Change

This question of the relevance and role of higher education institutions in relation to a changing climate was core to Professor Facer’s tenure. This aim explored how universities can build partnerships with local, national, and international communities, how we can develop powerful knowledge, and how we can educate students to enable the massive transitions we need to live well with climate change. Her inaugural lecture drew upon the growing activities of academic institutions transforming their activities in response to a changing climate. These responses have led to radical reconceptions of the purposes of Higher Education, of the curriculum, of the campus, of the identity of the university itself. 

Throughout Professor Facer’s term, she has continued to both challenge and inspire Uppsala University to develop its approaches to climate change and education in ways that reflect the shifting structures of society in response to the scale of the civilisational and existential climate change challenge. 

A new sustainability curriculum on Campus Gotland 

With partners from SWEDESD, Professor Facer has contributed towards developing sustainability education on Campus Gotland. This work has brought together leading teachers and researchers in the field of sustainability on Campus Gotland in order to develop a world-leading course package that will be open to all students on Campus Gotland in Autumn 2021. These courses will offer participatory, interdisciplinary, collaborative, authentic project based learning activities that develop students’ capacity to understand and act on complex sustainability challenges in the real world. 

Learn more about these courses here:

Internationalisation & Sustainability 

To address the challenge of internationalisation in relation to climate change in the contemporary university, Professor Facer led a workshop bringing together university leadership, students, faculty and administrative staff. This resulted in a widely-spread report identifying key tensions, possibilities, and routes towards achieving more sustainable internationalisation strategies in universities. It combines a short programme of desk research by the CCL team and the creative results of the workshop. 

Future of the Campus 

In collaboration with Akademiska Hus Uppsala, Professor Facer led a futures-thinking workshop to further develop the Campus 2050 project. The goal of the collaboration was to reflect on working with uncertainty in relation to sustainability and address long-term perspectives of campus development.

Theme 2 : Convening Publics for Rapid Societal Transformation

A second theme in Professor Facer’s tenureship covered the approaches towards convening publics. This began through questioning the ways in which the university facilitated and held relationships between city partners, but extended into two areas. The first looked at developing understanding of the structures of partnerships between public insitutitions and the modes of convening publics in artistic spaces. The second explored the roles of civil society actors and the ways in which they drove sustainable development in cities.

A collaboration with the Uppsala Art Museum centred around “The Non Human Animal: Negotiating Bio Relations”, and explored different holding spaces for recalibrating the relationships between humans and the natural world. Together, the CCL Node and the museum hosted public activities, lectures, and workshops. More details from the collaboration can be found in a report on the Climate Change Leadership blog. 

In the early spring of 2020, Professor Facer convened members of civil society organisations to explore how to develop their capacities and leadership roles in developing a city. The workshops were facilitated by Pernilla Glaser, RISE Sverige, and Martin Westin, SLU, and included a diversity of actors who are all leading different grassroots initiatives for the development of creative, caring and sustainable futures in the city of Uppsala. This project was developed through the support of Region Uppsala and Uppsala Kommun, who both have vested interests in exploring the perspectives of societal actors and community leaders in the future of Uppsala. 

Lectures and Talks

Keri Facer’s Inaugural Lecture Learning to Live with a Lively Planet, discussing the futures of the European University in face of a changing climate. Also available here.
Keynote lecture by Keri Facer at the International Association of Universities 2019 Conference in Mexico, discussing the Transformation of Universities for the Future
Professor Keri Facer contributes towards a panel discussion at KTH after a lecture by Richard Florida.
During Almedalen 2019 Professor Keri Facer hosted this panel on the role of universities in combating climate change, together with the Minister for Higher Education Matilda Ernkrans, Uppsala University Vice Chancellor Professor Eva Åkesson and the lead for Sweden’s Environment agenda, Dr Emma Nohrén. You can also watch the recording here.
Another public debate also took place in Swedish on Universitetens roll för en hållbar värld. Watch this public debate at Almedalen 2019 with Uppsala universitet, SLU, Karolinska institutet, Stockholms universitet, Handelshögskolan i Stockholm and KTH. Recordings also found here.
Sustainability Talk by Professor Keri Facer for Campus Gotland on the topic of Building a University for the Common Good.
Podcast with Keri Facer on Universities, Futures Thinking and Climate Change.
Four-part interview with Keri Facer, on the role of the future, the richness of the meanwhile, and desirable futures at the Constructing Social Futures Conference 2019 for Futuuri magazine. 
Climate change leadership – perspectives from science, industry and politics. 2019 Almedalen panel hosted by Keri Facer with Anna Rutgersson, Åsa Wikforss, John Hassler, Klas Palm, and Kristina Persson. You can also watch here

Reports

Zennström Professor Keri Facer has written a report on Higher Education in the era of Climate Change, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute. This report argues for radically restructuring education and universities in response to the challenges of climate change.

This report on Internalisation and Sustainability provides a brief exploration of the relationship between internationalisation and sustainability agendas in the contemporary university. It reports on a desk research by the CCL team and a workshop bringing together university leadership, students, faculty and administrative staff. It identifies key tensions, possibilities, and routes towards achieving more sustainable internationalisation strategies in universities. The report has been compiled rapidly to respond to current debates and is intended as the basis for wider discussion.

For her inaugural lecture, Professor Keri Face spoke about how universities can work not only on the question of urgent mitigation, but on the deeper understory of climate change. You can find the lecture in written form here.

As part of the Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures program, led by Professor Keri Facer, the following report was issued, making recommendations on Education and Climate Change.

In this report you can read about the 2019 collaboration between Zennström Climate Change Leadership at Uppsala University and the Uppsala Art Museum. Some of the ideas and findings from this report are elaborated upon in a forthcoming publication.


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