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“The climate and ecological emergency should be seen as the greatest creative challenge of our time and this recognition must inform what we do in every area of university life.”  – UAL Citizen assembly  

 

In November 2021 UAL shared its Climate Action Plan which spoke of the role UAL must play in achieving climate justice. Integral to this commitment is creating institutional change and this will be realised through our pledges to change the way we teach, research and work with others.   

As a University, we need a curriculum which empowers our students, across all programmes and levels, to take action in response to the imperatives of the climate and ecological crisis and to engage their work, practice and research in making change for a better world.   

In order to bring to life a curriculum underpinned by climate justice we know that we must equip students and staff with the tools, skills and resource to support the development of a new type of curriculum. Changing not only what we teach – but how UAL approaches the development of learning, teaching and practice for our community.      

This key area of the Climate Action Plan is being delivered by the Academic Discourse and Action Learning (ADAL) Working Group – one of four working groups within UAL’s Climate and Environmental Action Group (CEAG).  

The ADAL Working Group is committed to three key aims, with a view to have delivered on these by September 2023.  

The group’s aims are to:  

  • Embed climate justice, and its intersectionality, in all UAL courses through foundational science-based learning and teaching and discipline-specific critical exploration, contextualisation and pedagogies.  

  • Provide all UAL staff will have opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills to contextualise their discipline and transform their teaching to advocate for and take action on climate, social and racial justice.   

  • UAL will create flexible and collaborative conditions and actively support students and staff to live change and work together as advocates, partners and activists to achieve the above.   
     

Work is already underway with the group developing a set of guiding Principles and a tool kit of Baseline Knowledge and Skills for climate, racial and social justice. The next phase, fast approaching, will be to consult with our students, academic, technical and administration staff across the Colleges on a draft version of the Principles and tool kit, ahead of the official launch on Earth Day, 22 April 2022.   

A programme of staff development opportunities to support staff in transforming their teaching to deliver climate, racial and social justice in the curriculum is also currently in development, and an Educational Developer based in the Teaching and Learning Exchange is being recruited to coordinate these activities.  

The group is also working to provide opportunities for student and staff voice and activism through a roll-out of student Climate Advocates across UAL and a university-wide project to mobilize models of co-production, rapid adaptation and student climate advocacy.  

Climate and Social Justice in the Curriculum at UAL

As part of UAL’s Climate and Environment Action Group, Centre for Sustainable Fashion is working with staff and students from across UAL to ensure every course is committed to teaching and learning to pursue shared values for Climate and Social Justice.

Project Team

  • Dilys Williams, Director, Centre for Sustainable Fashion 

  • Nina Stevenson, Head of Education (Sustainability) 

  • Nicky Ryan, Dean of Design School, LCC 

  • Sarah Temple, LCC 

  • Janine Francois, CSM 

  • Niki Wallace, CCW 

  • Alejandro Martinez, Climate Advocate, LCC 

  • Jhinuk Sarkar, Lecturer, CCW 

  • Danielle Tran, Interim Dean of Learning and Teaching, UAL 

  • Carole Morrison, Educational Developer, LCF 

  • Fred Meller, Programme Director, CSM 

  • Margot Bannerman, CSM 

  • Chiron Hooson, Students Union 

  • Syahadah Shahril, Students Union 

Contact for the project 

Nina Stevenson, Head of Education (Sustainability) at Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UAL

 

Email: sustainability@fashion.arts.ac.uk