Sustainability: how to change the things we can. In Person Event

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Portrait Image of Rosie Robison

Many of the challenges we face in tackling climate change are social, involving societal and political dynamics as well as our own emotional responses.

To achieve a more sustainable society, Rosie will argue, we need to better understand ourselves, our amazing capacity for innovation and our human limitations.

Her lecture will explore how individuals and communities can work effectively to reduce their climate impact, what the common challenges are, and which (social) skills might we need to foster as a society to navigate all of this.

Rosie will relate lessons she has learnt from family, friends and colleagues, as well as from her research over the past 17 years.

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Rosie Robison joined ARU’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) soon after it was established in 2011, and has been part of the institute’s development over the past decade into a high-profile centre leading major international projects aimed at supporting more sustainable societies. This lecture marks Rosie’s promotion to Professor of Social Sustainability in 2022.

Put simply, Rosie researches sustainable lives – the ways we consume energy, food, goods, and travel – and what could help us all reduce our carbon impact.

Her work explores both personal journeys of change and policy interventions to facilitate societal-level outcomes. Her research draws primarily on social science approaches (psychology, science & technology studies, psychosocial studies, human geography) to explore the tensions we navigate when trying to effect positive social change.

She currently co-leads the €5m Horizon 2020 SHARED GREEN DEAL project (2022-2027) as well as the €3m Horizon Europe SSH CENTRE project (2022-2026). These action research projects are looking at how lessons from on-the-ground social innovation can help support better European policymaking, in order to reach EU climate targets in the coming years. At a more local level, she has been working in recent years with theatre makers in Norwich to explore themes of eco-anxiety and eco-anger.

She previously co-led the high-impact Horizon 2020 projects Energy-SHIFTS (2019-2021) and SHAPE ENERGY (2017-2019) – which sought to better integrate energy-related social sciences and humanities (SSH) into policy processes at EU, national and local scale. She was also Principal Investigator (2015-2017) of the £193k EPSRC Balance Network, exploring how digital technologies are changing how we live and work.

Rosie regularly appears in the media, including developing a week-long feature on home energy for the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Two, speaking on the BBC News Channel, and numerous live radio contributions.

Prior to joining the GSI, Rosie undertook her PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, during which time she was also an EPSRC-funded fellow at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology where she focused on electric vehicle policy.

She is a Quaker, a somewhat lapsed choral singer, and – thanks to her two children – a co-founder of ARU’s Part-Time and Flexible Working staff forum. These experiences have taught her much which is relevant to sustainability challenges.

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