2012 Grassroots Innovations Academic Workshop

Grassroots Innovations for Sustainability: A Research Workshop

Aim: critical reflection, analytical consolidation and developing research agendas

16-18th May 2012 at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.

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Organised by Adrian Smith (SPRU at University of Sussex) and Gill Seyfang (3S at University of East Anglia).

Until recently, the potential role of grassroots innovations in offering sustainability solutions has largely been forgotten and overlooked in policy documents, business strategies and academic research. However, an emerging body of research is beginning to study and understand the scope and scale of this sector, and its potential role in achieving transitions to sustainable development. This workshop will bring to- gether experts in grassroots innovations from around the world, to exchange knowledge and ideas about different ways of understanding community-led innovations for sustainability, and how those innovative ideas might be harnessed to achieve (or transform) sustainability objectives.

We wish to consider whether and how grassroots innovators network with one another, the extent to which movements for grassroots innovation approaches exist and how they operate, and whether or not these developments represent the emergence of alternative pathways for sustainability. In keeping with the critical spirit of the workshop, we will also discuss the dilemmas of going to scale, the risks of capture and instrumentality from elites, accusations of marginality compared to mainstream reforms, and disputes over the evaluative frameworks applied to grass- roots initiatives. Consequently, we invite you to come to the workshop with a paper that addresses one or more of our workshop themes:

  • How do grassroots innovations operate?
  • How might grassroots innovations help constitute alternatives in the context of dominant regimes?
  • How can theories of grassroots innovation be further developed?
Archived resources:
PhD Posters from the poster session

Sarah Bradbury: Grassroots Innovations and their Human Resources

Rachael Durrant (prize-winner): Can Civil Society be a Key to Unlocking Food System Transformations?

Jyotsna Ram: Sustainable Systems of Provision and Urban Grassroots Initiatives
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