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Accompanying Lausanne University's Transition Assembly

Workshop: Sustainable visions of the future, 3 hours, in French

13 December 2022, Transition Assembly of University of Lausanne

Methods: Map of the future in the space, Myths of the future, Map of the probable vs desirable future

Insights about the workshop (in French) on the Assembly's website


© Nora Rupp

In 2022, the University of Lausanne (UNIL) initiated the Transition Assembly, a one-year process to formulate measures for a just and fair ecological transition of University by 2050.

60 people representative of all the University community participated to the process (selection by lottery).

The Assembly had one academic year 2022-2023 to formulate measures to the UNIL rectorate for a just and fair ecological transition of University by 2050.

The aim of the workshop was to raise awareness among the 60 participants of the existence of different pathways to a sustainable future for the university, and the importance of challenging unreflected beliefs and assumptions in evaluating these different pathways.

We opened the Assembly's work with a workshop around the Myths of the future which offers an excellent basis for objectifying and challenging the main Western stories about the future.

To that aim, we started by filling the Myths of the future quiz (short version available on the Myths of the future page) and shared our quiz results by positioning ourselves in the space according to a corresponding map of the future. In this way became visible the diversity of views and beliefs about the future.

map of the Myths of the future © Nora Rupp

On that basis, 10 groups worked to create their common narrative of the future and of sustainability in that context, that we then shared on a map of the probable versus desirable future.

Participants were then asked why desirable visions of the future often do not match perceptions of the probable future?

To what extent is this related to our perception of 'human nature', i.e. to our perception of ourselves individually and collectively? And to what extent do those self-perceptions constraint our capacity for action and our horizon of possibilities? In which ways do these perceptions of ourselves also influence our relations to the environment and technology?

E.g.: What potential for change and transformation do we give ourselves?

What probability do we see for society to address the climate and environmental crisis through decisive and responsible action?

How confident are we in the ability of people to be able to co-construct a fair and inclusive society for everyone? And in the ability of politics to govern technology for the common good?

Participants then reflected on how they could find common ground between their different views of human nature and its relationship with nature and technology.

© Nora Rupp

This workshop on visions and concepts of sustainability provided a common foundation and understanding among the Assembly members and opened the one-year process of the Assembly towards formulating ecological transition measures for the UNIL's future until 2050.

« This session has been fundamental to the work of the Assembly: the futures outlined today will guide members in proposing the measures needed to achieve them. »


« Very interesting session on the future perspectives

of sustainable development. »

« The workshop helps me not only for the Assembly's work, but also in my private life. »


Members of the Transition Assembly


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