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Power Literacy in #JustSustainabilityTransitions

februari 17, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

How do we do speak ‘truth to power’ in just sustainability transitions? In this 1,5-hour online event, you can join others who are also grappling with that question in their research, activism or practice. Without a presentation or a plenary panel discussion in sight, we will together dive into the power questions and dilemmas that are brought up by you, the crowd.

To tackle the societal challenges of our times, we need to challenge and alter the power structures that are perpetuating current patterns of injustice and unsustainability. On the one hand it is about challenging, altering and replacing those power relations that are impeding just sustainability transitions. On the other hand, it is also about acknowledging how processes of transformative change and innovation can also – willingly or unwillingly – (re)produce problematic power relations.

But how do we do speak ‘truth to power’ in just sustainability transitions? How can we share our thoughts about and experiences with power, not just at an academic or philosophical level, but also in more political and practical terms?

This question has sparked ongoing discussions across many different movements, organisations and projects. We are a group of action researchers who are interested in understanding and facilitating just sustainability transitions. In that search, we have addressed issues of power across different projects.

For instance, In the SONNET-projectOpens external, we have analysed power dynamics in social innovations in energy, experimented with a Transformative Power Lab and developed a so-called Transformative Power GuideOpens external to facilitate conversations about power in the context of energy. In the UrbanA project on sustainable just citiesOpens external, we have analysed drivers of injustice and identified honest conversations about powerOpens external as one of the main keys to unlocking sustainable and just citiesOpens external, and proposed power literacy labsOpens external as one of many follow up actions. These are just two examples of attempts to understand and address issues of power, which we continue to address and engage in at DRIFT for transitionsOpens external, at the Vital Cities & Citizens initiative and at ICLEI – local governments for sustainabilityOpens external.

In this event, we would like to gather people who are trying to understand power in just sustainability transitions in their research, activism or practice and tackle questions and dilemmas that come up from doing so together. Join us on the 17th february from 15:30 – 17:00 for a chat storm on how to speak “truth to power” in #JustSustainabilityTransitions. 


Inviting YOU to the stage: a chat storm of questions, answers and resources!

Many people working on transformations are grappling with questions about power. So rather than hosting presentations by experts, this event will be driven by the power questions that the participants have.

During the event, a diverse group of five people working on power issues join us for a 1,5-hour conversation. Questions are crowdsourced: participants are invited to drop their questions directly in the chat. This is followed by a ‘chat storm’ discussion. In this format, inspired by the STEPS centre, participants nominate the questions that they would like to have discussed by the panelists. This way, participants decide what issues are talked about and what direction the conversation takes. Everyone joining the event is also encouraged to share any resources on power issues that have helped or inspired them, from books to movies, images or organisations. The organizers will collect everything and share it with the participants later on.

Facilitators and panelists include Tessa de GeusOpens externalLucia di PaolaOpens externalFlor AvelinoOpens externalChris VrettosOpens externalNontokozo SabicOpens externalNitya RaoOpens external, Laura PereiraOpens externalAdrian SmithOpens external and Molly Walsh (tbc). Visual notes will be taken by Menah WellenOpens external. See more information about the panel here.

This event is a collaboration between the Vital Cities & Citizens initiative, DRIFT for transitionsOpens externalICLEI – local governments for sustainabilityOpens external, the UrbanA project on sustainable just citiesOpens external and the SONNET-projectOpens external on Social Innovation in Energy Transitions.


februari 17, 2022
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Erasmus Universiteit
Vital Cities & Citizens Initiative
DRIFT for Transitions
ICLEI – Local governmen for sustainibility
The UrbanA Project