On Thursday 30th I delivered a lecture at the Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience (CAWR) at the University of Coventry (UC). Talk was entitled Transdisciplinary Research for Transformation in an African Context. I was invited by Michel Pimbert, the DIrector of CAWR. Wow, what an inspiring experience. A year and a half ago CAWR had 10 staff, now it has 80! This makes it one of the largest centres focussed on agroecological issues in the world, certainly in Europe. This is the result of a visionary strategy by the leadership of UC to invest heavily in a new generation of research institutes that are designed to position UC as an internationally leading University. It is very ambitious and could well pay off. Michel has appointed a truly diverse team, who share a commitment to agroecological approaches. They are also very interested in transdisciplinary research, in particular our approach. They have also recruited a good bunch of doctoral students, some of who have extensive experience in their respective fields (e.g. Miche Fabre-Lewin who I met in Stellenbosch in December with her collaborator Flora Gathorne-Hardy and who starts at residency at the Sustainability Institute in August). My talk was my first attempt to present our work on TD that has evolved over the past ten years – my colleague John van Breda usually presents this work. It was a truly great experience to present this work myself, and especially to this impressive progressive group of committed scholars. A MOU will be signed between CAWR/CU and CST/SU in the coming weeks which I hope is the start of a long-term collaboration. It will provide, in particular, a supportive network for our food systems research group in CST.
For ppt download: Coventry2