Organizing team: Anja Heikkinen, Professor emerita, Tampere University, anja.heikkinen@tuni.fi, Golaleh Makrooni, Doctoral researcher,  Tampere University,  golaleh.makrooni@tuni.fi, Xin Xing, Lecturer, Baoji University of Arts and Sciences, China, xgxy1@126.com, Cheng Jiao, Lecturer, South China Normal University, cheng_jiao@m.scnu.edu.cn, Nasrin Jinia, Researcher, Tampere University, nasrin.jinia@tuni.fi, SM Shafiqul Alam, Researcher, Tampere University, smalamuta@gmail.fi

The workshop follows a pedagogical approach, facilitating mutual reflections, debate and dialogue, in order to find ideas and issues for continuing the process towards cross-cultural collaboration.

The workshop starts with opening statements, which provide a brief overview – general introduction – on the topic and themes. It continues with concrete questions, based on the themes. Depending on the number of participants, we create small groups for breakout rooms, which progressively discuss the topics of the workshop. Before each breakout room session there will be a short introduction for a more detailed discussion. We may use padlets or jamboard for documentation of discussions in breakout rooms. In the end, the summary of each small group discussion is shared and reflected collectively.

The combat against climate change, following the UN agenda of SDGs, has become mainstream in the policies of most countries in the world as well as of supranational agencies, such as the EU. However, the suggested measures are addressing the inhabitants of the planet very unevenly. The policies emphasize scientific and technological innovations, led by universities and higher education institutions. Yet, the scaling and implementation of the universalist and decontextualized recommendations may be impossible and unfair even for many humans and nonhumans in the Global North, but especially for those in the Global South.

In the global division and hierarchies of labor, the role of most workers and consumers is to submit to changes in the global production and commodity chains. Still, solutions to planetary environmental crises may require local understanding and participation by local inhabitants and workers. Although adult and vocational education could empower local communities to find such solutions, their transformative potential is largely ignored in the academy.

In the workshop, we question the responsibility of universities and higher education in promoting adult and vocational education in the search for local interpretations and solutions for environmental sustainability, which could and should be integrated across localities. We reflect on possible ways forward, such as co-creative research strategies, integrated to cross-disciplinary degree programs and curricula, which could and should be developed and implemented collaboratively with local actors. When emphasizing the need for contextualized approach across localities and cultures, we build on our research findings and experiences, which exemplify the controversies of agendas and policies of “sustainability”, from the transforming and complex perspectives of the Global North and Global South.

The aim of the workshop is to facilitate mutual reflections, debate and dialogue, and to find ideas and issues for continuing the process towards cross-cultural collaboration of universities, in promotion of adult and vocational education for environmental sustainability.

The workshop builds on the background and expertise of our team and its individual members. We integrate views from the Global North, represented by Finland, and from the Global South, represented by Bangladesh and Kurdistan of Iraq, and from China, as a context with features from both Global North and South, but also with a distinctive position between them. Our inputs and topics in the workshop would be:

  • to clarify the potential of adult and vocational education as a change agent in political, economic and industrial systems and structures locally and across localities
  • to explore the impact of governance and administration to adult and vocational education for sustainability
  • to identify the role of educational actors – institutions, their leaders and educators – in adult and vocational education for sustainability
  • to specify the responsibility and opportunities of universities in promoting local interpretations and solutions for environmental sustainability across localities, through integration of research, education of professionals and co-creative collaboration with relevant non-university actors.

The topics will lead discussions in the small groups. We invite participants to reflect on their interpretations and conceptions on the topics in advance and to bring them to the workshop.

The conference is free of charge. Please register latest by 10.11.2021 on website https://events.tuni.fi/jolii2021/registration/.