News

Professor Danielle Celermajer Awarded Prestigious Grant

We are thrilled to announce that a team of SEI researchers, headed up by Professor Danielle Celermajer, have been awarded a prestigious grant from the V K Rasmussen Foundation to explore future, grounded imaginaries in Australia and India.

Auroville, India. Image by Alexandra Lande, via Shuetterstock. ID-499957678

SEI Research Lead Danielle Celermajer, Director David Schlosberg and Deputy Director Michelle St Anne have been awarded funds to conduct research on gathering and communicating a set of grounded, alternative, and transformative imaginaries. This research project, Transforming future imaginaries from the ground up, is set to be an important, multidisciplinary contribution to the field of environmental studies.

Forged through a rich collaboration amongst the partners, this prestigious grant will enable the team to explore how grounded and transformative imaginaries can shift how communities across the world approach organising their lives in a climate changed world.

The work will address the problem of the failure of existing forms of imagination of a climate changed future to enable community transformation and, correlatively, the need for alternative imaginaries that provide an empowering context for transformative action. The project is designed to achieve three specific objectives; to effectively convey existing stories of community-driven, transformative responses to multisystemic climate change-driven destabilisations, to enhance the capacity of communities to act as a model for adapted replication by others, and to develop the youth leadership capabilities to collaborate and communicate in responses to systems breakdown.

This research project will take place across two countries, Australia and India, with two sites in India, one based in New Delhi and focusing on the north and one based in Auroville focusing on the south. These two countries and three sites have been chosen as ‘cases’ because they offer the opportunity to work in communities that are:

  • already facing climate-related systems breakdown;
  • living and working across a diverse range of social, economic, political, cultural, geographical and ecological conditions and contexts;
  • facing different types of systemic challenges and breakdowns;
  • located broadly in the global north and global south, in rural, remote and urban settings, and
  • offer a range of examples of transformative and grounded imaginaries on issues of food, water, energy, and health.

In the true spirit of multidisciplinarity, this project is also designed to benefit from collaboration between three partners with different but complementary expertise, experiences, skills, orientations and networks: an academic institution, the Sydney Environment Institute, India and Bharat Together (IABT) and a community-based organisation, Social Entrepreneurship Association (SEA). The cross-fertilisation of thinking from these three partners aims to contribute to a meaningful body of work on climate changed realities, with imagination at the heart of the research.

Forged through a rich collaboration amongst the partners, this prestigious grant will enable the team to explore how grounded and transformative imaginaries can shift how communities across the world approach organising their lives in a climate changed world. It will also, it is hoped, influence governments and NGOs to establish policy environments that enable community driven practices of transformation. Imagination does not operate outside the worlds from which it arises, but it can nevertheless act as a source of transformation. Imagination matters.