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Webinar: Introducing ‘Beyond Consumption Practices’ as the theme for 23/24 Social Change Beyond Consumerism WG
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Webinar: Introducing ‘Beyond Consumption Practices’ as the theme for 23/24 Social Change Beyond Consumerism WG

Date: October 12, 2023

Time: 1:30-3:00pm GMT/ 2:30-4:00m CET

Hosted by the Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production Working Group on Social Change Beyond Consumerism.


This session introduces ‘Beyond Consumption’ as the 2023-24 theme for our Social Change Beyond Consumerism Working Group. Our working group is part of the Future Earth’s Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SSCP) Knowledge-Action Network (KAN). SSCP KAN is a global network of researchers and practitioners interested in ways that systems of sustainable consumption and production can be created, nurtured and contribute to a more sustainable world. In our working group, we aim to foster collaborative dialogue that contributes to accelerating social change. This year we would like to focus our Working Group sessions on realms of change beyond consumption practices. Although we all agree that changing away from consumerism shouldn’t be on the plate of consumers (alone), a large part of our research efforts and discussions focus on consumption practices.

This year, we would like to pay specific attention to discussions of our work in other realms, focusing on the practices of other stakeholder groups: policy makers, industry, designers, academia, activist groups, and so on.  In this session we will introduce Lenneke Kuijer as co-chair, provide an outline of this years theme, and outline our 2023-24 programme for your feedback.

It is our intention to organise five or six sessions around the theme, including a session on theoretical perspectives on the ‘bigger picture’ embedding of consumerism in society (planned for 28 November – details to follow soon), a session on hands on approaches of working with communities in multistakeholder projects, a session on the role of technology design in consumerism, and a session on frictions and opportunities arising from our roles as both consumers and academics researching and promoting alternative consumption practices.

As part of the session, we would like to engage in discussions on what you would like to hear about/who you would like to hear from this year.

Speaker BIO’s 

Lenneke Kuijer is assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology (NL). She works at the touching points of design methodology, domestic consumption and social practice theories. Inspired by studies highlighting the complex, unintended secondary effects that new technologies can have on everyday life (e.g. the work of Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Elizabeth Shove, Yolande Strengers and others), her research has focused on translating these insights into future oriented approaches and teaching materials that can assist technology designers in better anticipating and leveraging the effects of their design decisions on shaping futures. Through case studies on bathing, domestic heating and summer comfort she has developed practices-oriented design approaches. More recently, she is integrating futures methods such as design fiction and simulation studies to explore and extend possible (less resource intensive) futures through design. This work has directed her towards alternative consumption paradigms such as degrowth, slow living and alternative hedonism that she is currently exploring. In her projects she works closely with industry partners to explore how alternative consumption practices might be shaped through different kinds of innovation practices.

Claire Hoolohan is a senior lecturer at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester. Her research focusses on how government and industry actors can enable sustainable practices, by engaging in the social relationships and material infrastructures that contribute to producing and reproducing everyday practices. With past projects on food and dietary emissions, water demand management and mobility, her current work explores the relationship between emissions reduction, sustainable consumption, systems of provision and housing development with a particular focus on water-related climate challenges. This work bring ideas from social theory into industry collaborations and develop resources and tools to support effective governance of sustainable consumption. She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Civil Engineering and Geography, aiming to bring sensitivities from sustainable consumption into adjacent disciplines.