How to be an Academic in a World on Fire: A Hands-On Workshop

Anne E. Urai, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Clare Kelly, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Addressing the climate crisis requires radical and urgent action at all levels of society. Universities are ideally positioned to lead such action but are largely failing to do so. At the same time, many academic scientists find their work impeded by corporatization and bureaucracy, a loss of academic freedom, overwork, casualisation, and poor mental health. Here, drawing on Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics framework, we suggest that modern academic life increasingly transgresses human and planetary limits while failing to provide a socially just foundation for its communities. In response, we suggest seven new principles for rethinking the norms of scientific practice. Based on these principles, we propose a call to action, and encourage academics to take concrete steps towards a thriving scientific enterprise that both works better for people and responds to the climate crisis. This hands-on workshop will support participants to take those steps. The workshop introduces our theoretical analysis of the academic doughnut (Urai & Kelly, 2023), and adapts the DEAL (Doughnut Economics Action Lab) ‘Doughnut Unrolled’ toolkit to our academic context ( . Participants will learn to analyse current academic norms through a doughnut lens, to identify and rethink unhelpful practices and institute new ones. Moderated activities will equip participants with new knowledge, motivation, and allegiances that will support them to take action as scientists and academics - in their local context and as part of the global scientific community.

Limited space, registration required