Transgressive Learning in Times of Climate Change (T-learning) - A Transformative Knowledge Network

Contemporary educational research shows that learning can lead human development and societal transformations. The need for more radical forms of learning-centred transformation is increasingly recognised in the social-ecological sciences (SES). For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014) reports that there is a strong need for learning-centred approaches to climate change adaptation.

Yet these approaches to learning remain under-developed and under theorised in the SES and limited research has been done on this type of learning. In other words, more theory and research is needed on how such learning emerges, or can be expanded and up-scaled, to strengthen agency for sustainability transformations at multi-levels.

Working with civil society, youth, academic, government and community partners, across nine countries in diverse areas that are vulnerable to arising impacts at the climate-energy-food-water security and social justice nexus, we aim to: 1) initiate, 2) frame, 3) and investigate expansive, transgressive approaches to learning.

The programme will identify ‘germ cell’ activities for T-learning and examine how T-learning can initiate and expand sustainability transformations in selected community sites in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Cross case knowledge exchange will allow for development of theory and methodology, especially transgressive learning theory, and generative, interventionist, learning-centred research methodologies, which are broadly characteristic of transdisciplinary research.


SWEDESD is one of nine consortium partners who have agreed to establish an international Transformative Knowledge Network and implement the T-Learning project. SWEDESD will develop a case study in Sweden, and contribute to the collective analysis, synthesis, sharing and documenting of the project. SWEDESD is also in charge of conceptual development in the project.

  • Duration: 2016 to 2018
  • Partners: Africa Rhodes University’s Environmental Learning Research Centre (project lead), Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Southern and Eastern Africa (Chancellor College, University of Malawi), Social Learning Innovations and Garden Africa (Zimbabwe), MELCA Ethiopia and the African Food Sovereignty Alliance (Ethiopia), (NGO, social movement and academic partners). Asia Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Peace and Education for Sustainable Development (India), Centre for Research and Promotion of Education for Sustainable Development (CEREPROD), Hanoi National University of Education (Vietnam) (NGO and academic partners. Europe SWEDESD, UNESCO Chair of Transformative Learning at Wageningen University (academic partners). Latin America CASA, Colombia (social movement partners)
  • Funders: The International Social Science Council (ISSC), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • Contact: Stefan Bengtsson,


Hellquist, A; Westin, M. (2019) On the Inevitable Bounding of Pluralism in ESE—An Empirical Study of the Swedish Green Flag Initiative, Sustainability, DOI: 10.3390/su11072026

Bengtsson, S. (2018). Outlining an Education Without Nature and Object-Oriented Learning. In Research Handbook on ChildhoodNature - Assemblages of Childhood and Nature Research, Springer International Handbooks of Education, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-51949-4_12-1

Mickelsson, M., Kronlid, D. & Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. (2018) Consider the unexpected: scaling ESD as a matter of learning. Environmental Education Research, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2018.1429572

More publications (pdf)