Leverage Points 2019 Conference: Time to Rethink!

By Liz Clarke

From 6-8 February 2019, Leuphana University will host the Leverage Points 2019 international conference on sustainability research and transformation. The conference is inspired by the seminal essay by Donella Meadows on Leverage Points: Places to intervene in a system.

“Rethinking”, one of the conference themes, focuses on knowledge and knowing. In particular, how we transform through the creation, coproduction and use of knowledge, where the “re” signals ongoing process and change.

So rather than simply focusing on gathering ever more and more knowledge, Meadows points to the underlying social paradigms: the assumptions, norms, values and beliefs that shape how we learn and what we know.  Meadows identifies the two deepest leverage points as “2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system arises” and “1. The power to transcend paradigms”.

As we sit on the knife-edge of change in the Anthropocene facing a complex network of wicked problems, the dominant social paradigms in our society are coming under increasing scrutiny, with reflection on our assumptions, beliefs and values at the heart of this.

What helps us, and what hinders us, in our striving towards a just and sustainable future? And how can science and society come together more effectively to create this change? So how we are developing a new understanding of our relationship to the earth; a willingness to change; a collective learning approach among all participating interests; and openness to new kinds of solutions?

Join us at the Leverage Points 2019 Conference to discuss the following issues and topics and more:

  • Knowledge coproduction and collective learning
  • Modes of research for rethinking (including transdisciplinarity, mode 2 research, interdisciplinarity, transgression etc)
  • Knowledge and understanding in complex systems – notions of self-organisation, emergence, creativity and feedback
  • Narratives and pathways for transformation
  • Knowledge governance and knowledge networks for transformation
  • Processes of transformation, such as amplification, scaling, or diffusion
  • Different ways of understanding and implementing transformation, such as context-specific or indigenous and local perspectives


We welcome your contributions to these important topics: Abstract submission for this conference closes on 30 June — soon! Submit your Abstract here.

For more information please visit: http://leveragepoints2019.leuphana.de

If you have any specific enquiries about abstract submission please contact: Leveragepoints2019@leuphana.de

Feel free to distribute the conference flyer, available as a PDF here.

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