Sustainability in the Time of Covid-19: A Global Interdisciplinary Conference

deadline for submissions: 
September 25, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Progressive Connexions
contact email: 

Sustainability in the Time of Covid-19
A Global Interdisciplinary Conference

Sunday 18th April 2021 - Monday 19th April 2021
Vienna, Austria

Sustainability has emerged as a watchword for our collective preoccupation with ensuring that human needs are able to be met now and into the future — a future in which we may or may not have access to the things that we have relied upon to support our way of life. This is made more difficult by the inevitability of change. Indeed, the changes wrought by waves of industrialisation, globalisation and technological innovation have resulted in greater awareness of the finite nature of the resources we have at our disposal, the transformation of the labour economy amid growing mechanisation, and so on. While the concept of sustainability is most commonly associated with environmental and business contexts, the notion of sustainable living applies much more broadly, taking in every facet of our day-to-day existence, including personal interactions, work, education, scientific practices, leisure, the arts, politics, and more.

Devastation, mortality and sweeping societal transformations triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic have created a new environment in which prior understandings of sustainability must be re-evaluated and adapted to suit the unprecedented challenges presented by a coronavirus for which there is presently no cure. COVID-19 has affected virtually every corner of the world in more traditionally understood medical, economic and socio-political ways, it has simultaneously ‘infected’ everything else as well, from our innermost psyche to micro and macro levels of understandings of the most basic and complex systems, places and issues facing us. This is an opportune moment for reflection and evaluation of where we are and what we should do going forward. How has the COVID-19 pandemic uniquely exposed issues that were already known, whilst also presenting unforeseen problems and opportunities for the future? How has this event affected interpersonal communication, relationships, individual feelings of security and wellbeing? Is it sustainable to maintain social distancing and wear masks in all of our interactions with others in public settings? How can an appropriate balance be struck between public safety and economic stability? How has COVID-19 impacted understandings of infectious diseases and science as well as concepts of personal liberty and community — and how might learnings influence the way we raise interact with family, teach and learn, participate in civic life and govern? Will entertainment such as concerts, movies and sporting events ever be the same; what might the future hold for these leisure activities and the industries that support them? To what extent have our previous actions as a global community supported or undermined our ability to live sustainability in the time of COVID-19? Are the changes we have made in response to the coronavirus sustainable and if not, what should be done instead? How can we come together and discover new ways of coexisting on this planet as a result of these events?

This conference provides a platform for exploring these and other questions, using trans-, multi- and inter-disciplinary lenses. By bringing together a widely diverse cross section of people at this conference, we hope to generate a new, exciting transdisciplinary approach to understanding post-pandemic issues of sustainability. The conference offers an inclusive platform for participants from diverse professions, practices and vocations to engage in a transdisciplinary exploration of what sustainability means in a reimagined world. Scientists, researchers, historians, policy makers, academics, community members and activists from any field of study are welcome to engage in dialogue with each other on the critical issues we all face, and look for tangible applications of our shared learning and opportunities for innovative collaborations.

Key Topics
Key topics, themes and issues for discussion may include, but are definitely not limited to:

~ Lessons learned through the Pandemic that can help us renew our focus on traditional and non-traditional concepts of sustainability
~ How can research methodologies that break down disciplinary barriers support new (sustainable) ways of looking at issues – both at the macro and micro levels.
~ Explorations of the concept of Sustainability as related to:
~ Planet Earth, the environment and natural resources
~ Indigenous cultures, racial identities, marginalized and vulnerable populations
~ Movements, activism and civic engagement
~ Migratory practices, immigration issues
~ Concepts of quarantine, isolation, social distancing, mask wearing
~ Legal, policy and legislative issues
~ News/social media
~ Science vs. Opinion
~ Food systems
~ Politicization of the pandemic/cultural wars
~ Self-care, personal security, health and well-being
~ Clinical practices
~ Fear, Stress, Happiness
~ Faith and religion
~ Questions around morality
~ Liberties/Freedoms vs Responsibilities
~ Community
~ Cultural norms and practices
~ Communication – virtual vs. in person
~ Education
~ Family, childhood development, elder care
~ Entertainment, leisure, sport, travel
~ Wealth, power and class
~ Capitalism, local economies, productivity, consumerism, workforce, trade and globalisation
~ Technology and innovation

What To Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc.

At the end of the conference we will be exploring ways in which we can develop the discussions and dialogues in new and sustainably inclusive interdisciplinary directions, including research, workshops, publications, public interest days, associations, developing courses, etc which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the conference and ensure that our efforts are continued in our own communities.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 2nd October 2020. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 9th October 2020.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 12th February 2021

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Sustainability Submission.

Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Desi Brown (Organizing Chair): desibrown50@gmail.com
Len Capuli (Project Administrator): viennasustain@progressiveconnexions.net

What's so Special About a Progressive Connexions Event?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format: at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashioned conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.
 
A chance to network with international professionals: the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.
 
A chance to be part of constructing change: There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.
 
An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you: Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field - what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.
 
An unforgettable experience: When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.
 
Ethos
Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
 
Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.
 
Please send all enquiries to: viennasustain@progressiveconnexions.net
 
For further details and information please visit the conference web page: https://www.progressiveconnexions.net/interdisciplinary-projects/global-...

Sponsored by: Progressive Connexions