CES Winter School

Sustainable development, complexity and change: thinking and practices for the SDG and other objectives

14-18 December 2020, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm (GMT)



 [The School's descriptive and evaluation summary report can be found here]

This School is based in a logic of deep interdisciplinarity, oriented towards promoting productive, collaborative, critical and creative dialogues between different disciplines and modes of thinking, between theory and research and the practices that “in the real world” enact and realise, critique or present alternative or complementary proposals to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Being a part of the international political agenda since 1987, the notion of sustainable development is considered a global mark towards the awareness of the need of a new paradigm for development, guiding policies aimed at the respecting the interrelation between economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection as cornerstones for the individual and collective well-being.

However, both the concept and it’s expression, configured in the 17 SDG and their indicators, remain under discussion, raising issues about their adequacy to places, contexts and specific problems, about the practices that sustain the concept of sustainable development and the degree of congruence between the thinking underlying the SDG, the complexity of the world and the actions informed by such thinking.

The question needs to be raised that an insufficient recognition of the complexity of the problems that sustain the SDG and the realities they aim to dress, as well as of the need to develop modes of thinking and practices congruent with such complexity, may prevent or limit the success of this new agenda, even leading, in unpredictable ways to the configurations of new, more or less preferred or unwanted realities.

This Winter School aims to stimulate the discussion around the SDG, guided by critical, alternative and complementary views. We invite academics, activists, intervenors, educators and whoever more is interested in participating in the co-constuction of new ways of thinking and action that inform the pursue of sustainable and desirable alternatives for the place of humanity. A variety of creative techniques and mediums will be used to support rich interactions and dialogues amongst the participants and the co-evolution and co-construction of new ideas. 

The School will welcome the exhibit of posters from doctoral or postdoctoral researchers which will be target of a critical re-construction process throughout the School and equally presented in the last day. Throughout all days there will be an online exhibition of informative materials around the actions of diverse organisations, practitioners and activists, oriented to themes of development. The wider audience interested in the themes of the  School is invited to follow our daily reports and to interact with the group by posing questions and raising issues through our social media pages.

* This School was originally scheduled for September 2020 and then postponed to December and converted to a virtual/online format due to the COVID-19 pandemics


Rita Campos (CES-UC), Ana Teixeira de Melo (CES-UC), Philip Garnett (York Management School e York Cross-Disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis, University of York, UK), Leo Caves (Independent researcher, PT, collaborator of the Centre for the Philosophy of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Associate do York Cross-Disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis, University of York, UK).

Note: The team of coordinators leads and integrates the central team of the project  “Building Foundations for Complex Thinking to Promote Positive Change in Complex Systems” which aims at objectives aligned with those of the WS.

Casa da Esquina (Coimbra)

The School will use a variety of platforms and techniques to support rich interactions and dialogues between the participants and ensure conditions for the emergence of novel and creative ideas. It will combine  lectures/seminars and guided moments of group discussion aimed at the integration of knowledge and experiences towards the production of new ideas and projects.  The presentation of posters will take place in the afternoon of the first day which will be reconstructed collectively during the event. A graphic artist will contribute to the facilitation of the event and the production of a final Visual Manifesto. 

To ensure the full engagement in the group activities, participants will be asked to guarantee a minimal number of conditions and to have at their disposal a list of materials (cf. notes on REGISTRATION section, bellow).

The School will produce a variety of materials and outputs, targeting different audiences, which will  synthesise the contributions of the group for the rehearsal and experimentation of alternatives towards the construction of a  more positive and sustainable future for all. The Visual Manifesto, along with other outputs, will be shared with a wider audience, following the end of the Winter School. 

The development of the Winter School will be reported, day by day, through social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) allowing all of those interested in the subject to follow our work and contribute to our discussions with comments and questions which will for brought back to the group for reflection. Different organisations, institutions and initiatives, groups and practitioners and activists committed with sustainability and development are invited to share their work on our Facebook page


The official language of the School will be English.

Researchers, doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, practitioners of NGO and NGOD, activists

The School will take place with minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 participants

Deadline for submission of applications: 23 October
Communication of acceptance of applications: 30 October


Registration fee: 100€

- The deadline for registration and payment is the 15th of November

- The registration includes access to all of the School activities and the platforms that will support them as well as the emission of  certificates 
- Registrations are only considered valid after payment.
- For cancellations up to 30th of November an administrative fee of 35€ will be charged. For cancellations after the 1st of December there will be no refunds. 

-The fees will be used to support the Graphic Facilitation of the event.

-The School will be hosted through Zoom and will combine a variety of other platforms and applications including Google Jam Board, Plectica, You Tube.
- The participants must ensure the following technical conditions: 

  • A stable, secure and sufficiently robust internet connection;
  • Video and audio connection: it will be required that the video is turned on during the whole sessions and there are conditions for good audio connections;
  • A smartphone capable of connecting to Zoom if necessary;
  • A smartphone capable of taking photos (to photograph the works they will be invited to produce individually); 
  • A Google account to connect to shared folders and other applications by Google and other providers (Google shared folders; Google Jamboard; Youtube channel) .

    -Participants must have a working kit with the following materials: White paper (A3 and A4); colour A4 sheets; sellotape; scissor; glue; colour felt tip pens or marker pens; play dough or plasticine; crayons (if very solid and with vibrant colours that will show well on photos). Additional optional materials include: colorful threads; lego blocks; pieces of cloth; journals and magazines for paper cuttings; lids of plastic bottles or tin lids; corks; or any other material for creative craft work. 


DAY 1: 14  December

11:00-13:30 - Welcoming and introduction. Presentation of the objectives and modes of operation of the  School. Warm-up and presentation activities. [Rita Campos e Ana Teixeira de Melo, CES-UC]

13:30-14:30 Break

14:30-15:00 - Collective work: Building narratives for change 

15:00-15:50 - Session 1

Part 1 - (15:00-15:40) - Introduction to the ODS and critical visions. Rita Campos (CES-UC)

Part 2 - (15:40-15:50) - Q&A

15:50-16:20 Break

16:20-18:00 - Poster presentation and integrative discussion of the day


DAY 2: 15 December

11:00-13:00 -Session 2

Part 1 - (11:00-11:40) - Systems thinking and complexity. Phil Garnett (YMS, YCCSA, U. of York)

Part 2 - (11:40-11:50) - Q&A

Part 4 - (11:50-12:30) - Complexity, change and complex thinking. Ana Teixeira Melo (CES-UC)

Part 5 - (12:30-12:40) - Q&A

Part 6 - (12:40-13:00) - Integrative discussion of the day

13:00-14:30 Break

14:30-15:00 - Collective work: Building narratives for change 


15:00-16:40 - Session 3

Part 1 - (15:00-15:40) - Ontologies and Multiverses of the Anthropocene. António Carvalho (CES-UC)

Part 2 - (15:50-16:30) -Q&A

Part 3 - (16:20-16:30) - Critical views from the Epistemologies of the South. Sara Araújo (CES-UC)

Part 4 - (16:30-16:40) - Q&A

16:40-17:00 Break

17:00-18:00 - Integrative discussion of the day


DAY 3: 16 December

11:00-11:50 Session 4

Part 1 - (11:00-11:40) - Construction of policies and SDGs.  Paula Duarte Lopes (FEUC; CES-UC)

Part 2 - (11:40-11:50) - Q&A

11:50-12:05 Break

12:05-13:30 - Integrative discussion with creative craft work

13:30-14:30 Break

14:30-15:00 - Collective work: Building narratives for change 


15:00-15:50 Session 5

Part 1 - (15:00-15:40) - Network approaches and SDGs. Leo Caves  (Inv. Indp, YCCSA)

Part 2 - (15:40-15:50) - Q&A

15:50-16:10 - Break

16:10-18:00 - Integrative discussion of the day and collective work for the reconstruction of the posters


DAY 4: 17 de December

11:00-12:40 Session 6
Part 1 - (11:00-11:40) - The debate about inequality in the SDG: a feminist and post-colonial reflection. Luciane Lucas dos Santos (CES-UC)

Part 2 - (11:40-11:50) - Q&A

Part 3 - (11:50-12:30) - Modes of living with life in its core. On the other side of the contemporary capitalist developmentalism. Teresa Cunha (CES-UC)

Part 4 - (12:30 - 12:40) - Q&A

12:40-12:50 Break

12:50 - 13h30 - Integrative discussion with creative craft work

13:30 - 14:30 Break

14:30 - 15:00 - Collective work: Building narratives for change 

15:00 - 16:00 - Integrative discussion of the day and collective work for the reconstruction of the posters

16:00-16:30 Break

16:30-18:00 - Integrative discussion with constructive work


DAY 5: 18 December

11:00-12:40 Session 7
Part 1 - (11:00-11:40) - Modes of living with people at the center. Co-creation experiences in inclusive urban regeneration. Beatriz Caitana e Isabel Ferreira (CES-UC)

Part 2 - (11:40-11:50) - Q&A

Part 3 - (11:50-12:30) - Education for sustainability in the context of the SDG. Magnólia Araújo (Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Norte, Natal, Brazil) 
Part 4 - (12:30-12:40) - Q&A 

12:40-12:50 Break

12:50-13:30 - Integrative discussion with creative craft work

13:30 - 14:30 Break

14:30 - 15:00 - Collective work: Building narratives for change

15:00-16:00 Session 8
15:00-15:30 - Guided graphical reflection (Daniela Barros - Futilidades)

15:30-16:00 - Discussion

16:00-16:30 Break

16:30-18:00 - Integrative final discussion. Conclusion of the collaborative re-construction of the posters, collective products and Visual Manifesto. [Graphic facilitation by (Daniela Barros - Futilidades)

 (End of School)


ANA TEIXEIRA DE MELO (Co-coordinator)
Ana Melo has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and is a member of the Portuguese Order of Psychologists with a recognised speciality in Clinical Psychology and an Advanced Speciality in Community Psychology. She is a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra and an associate of the University of York Cross-Disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis, of the University of York, where she was a visiting academic. She is an elected member of the Council of the Complex Systems Society.  She has focused her practice and research on processes of change, flourishment and resilience in families and communities. She also investigates human social systems and their change processes informed by a complex systems approach. She has also dedicated her activities to the theory, research and practices associated with the development, promotion and evaluation of a complex thinking applied to the understanding and management of change in complex systems, as a way of thinking that aims to build itself in a way that is congruent with the complexity of the world. She explores processes of inter and transdisciplinarity in the crossing with  complex thinking  for  the construction of more effective responses to the challenges of Complexity associated with  Humanity’s Well-Being and Sustainable Development.

António Carvalho currently works as a research fellow at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra, where he is the principal investigator of TROPO (2018-2021), a research project funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology which aims at analyzing the multiple ontologies of the Anthropocene in Portugal. Previously he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Nova University of Lisbon (IHMT/NOVA), where he was in charge of implementing the Research Fairness Initiative. His research interests include affect, post-humanist theory, the ethics of emerging technologies, mindfulness and the Anthropocene.

Junior researcher at the European Project - URBiNAT "Healthy corridor as drivers of social housing neighbourhoods for the co-creation of social, environmental and marketable NBS", supported by H2020 and coordinated by CES. She takes part in the study group on Solidarity Economy at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra (CES /UC). Her academic research focus is about alternative economies, namely solidarity economy, social incubation and co-production. She is a PhD student in sociology at the Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra (FEUC) and, current is a senior specialist in monitoring and advocacy for human rights on the children (Brazil). Also, she collaborated in project PATHS - Youth for Solidarity Economy and Entrepreneurship in Europe, supported by Erasmus + program and Social Innovation Platform (PIS) supported by Compete Program and POA FSE/FCT. She was founder-member of the academic social incubator at FEUC and visiting professor in social and solidarity economy in the Polytechnic of Leiria (Portugal). With regard to the professional area, having worked as project coordinator in the non-for-profit national and international organizations, such as Plan-International Brazil. Her academic and professional trajectory focuses on the one hand in the alternative economies, urban space and the other hand in the human rights of the child and sociology of childhood.

Daniela was born in Porto in 1981. She studied architecture at the University of Minho (1999-2000), the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto (FAUP; 1999-2006) and at the BTU - Cottbus / Germany (2004-2005). At the Alquimia da Cor she attended the modular formation of Electronic Edition - Pagination and Graphic Design (400h; 2012-2013). In 2007, she started to do some architectural projects and, in 2012, design graphic projects. The brand Futilidades was created during this period. In 2016 she started, in co-authorship, the Association Cultura Curto Espaço, at Aguda Beach, Vila Nova de Gaia, with the goal of “bringing and taking culture”, developing in an eclectic way diverse work aiming at bringing the community closer to culture. My main responsibilities are programming and communication.

Isabel Ferreira is a junior researcher at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (CES-UC) and is currently dedicated to the PhD project “Governance, citizenship and participation in small and medium-sized cities: a comparative study between Portuguese and Canadian cities” (funded by FCT - SFRH/BD/129936/2017; the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the International Council of Canadian Studies). Has experience in fieldwork in Portugal and Canada; joined the organizing committee of the IV international conference of doctoral students of CES-UC in 2013; worked on the coordination, in 2014, of the international pilot course in cultural sustainability, in collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and the University of Jagiellonian (Poland); integrated the project EMPATIA (funded by H2020). Currently, integrates the co-coordination of the URBiNAT project - Healthy corridors and drivers of social housing neighborhoods for the coordination of social, environmental and marketable NBS (funded by H2020). Since 2015, collaborates with the Executive Agency for Research (European Commission) as an independent expert for applications evaluation. Her professional experience mainly relates to local planning in environmental, territorial, cultural, educational and sports planning. Holds a graduation in Geography, specializations in Environmental Studies (University of Coimbra) and in Environmental Impact Studies (University of Murcia, Spain), and a Master in Territorial and Environmental Planning (New University of Lisbon).

LEO CAVES (Co-coordinator)
Leo Caves has a PhD in Computational Biophysics and throughout his career has operated at the interface of the physical, biological and computational sciences. Formerly a Senior Lecturer at the University of York, he worked in both the Departments of Chemistry and Biology. He is a co-founder and associate of the York Cross-disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis (YCCSA). He is a collaborator of the Centre for the Philosophy of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (CFC UL). His research experience encompasses computational biophysics, data science and evolutionary computation. He has experience in multivariate data and network analyses, as well as a variety of simulation and visualisation methods. He offers biological perspectives on complex systems and seeks to support more systemic and complex approaches to real world issues through broad and deep interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration. He is interested in complex thinking and in the investigation and facilitation of interdisciplinary processes. More recently he has been working within the domain of the Philosophy of Biology, integrating themes of process philosophy with systems and relational biology, cybernetics and coordination dynamics amongst others. He has a broad interest in the Philosophy of Science.

Luciane Lucas dos Santos is a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, integrating and co-coordinating the Research Group on Democracy, Citizenship and Law (DECIDe) as well as the Study Group on Solidarity Economy (ECOSOL-CES). She is part of the academic staff of the Doctoral Programme "Democracy in the 21st Century" as invited lecturer and of the research team of the Observatory of Religion in the Public Space (POLICREDOS). She holds a PhD in Communication and Culture from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2004) and a Master's Degree from the same institution (1999). She worked as senior lecturer and researcher at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ/Brazil), having consolidated a long academic career there. She has moved to Sociology for 15 years, being dedicated to the consumption studies and studies on the economy, particularly Feminist Economics. Her main research and lecturing interests are: Feminist Economics, Feminist Aesthetics, postcolonial feminisms, postcolonial and decolonial studies on consumption and Economics, poverty and social inequalities from an interseccional perspective, Global South within Europe.

Magnólia Araújo graduated in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN; 1987, degree; 1988, Bachelor), with Specialization in Microbiology (1995, UFRN), Master in Aquatic Bioecology (1997, UFRN) and PhD in Ecology and Natural Resources by the Federal University of São Carlos/SP (2004). She also has a postdoctoral experience in Science Education/Education for Sustainability at the University of Coimbra (2012-2013). She is a permanent professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, working in face-to-face and distance learning. She has experience in the area of Environmental Microbiology, with an emphasis on Ecology of Aquatic Microorganisms, mainly in aquatic ecosystems in the Northeast semiarid region. She supervises graduate students (at the master's and PhD level) and conducts research on Biology Teaching, namely on the learning difficulties and alternative conceptions of teachers and students of basic education in biological content and sustainability. Develops extension work for scientific dissemination and education for sustainability.

Paula Duarte Lopes is a researcher on Peace Studies at the Center for Social Studies and an International Relations professor at the School of Economics of the University of Coimbra. She lectures at the undergraduate and graduate levels in International Relations, including the MA in Peace, Security and Development Studies and the PhD in International Politics and Conflict Resolution (with a performance evaluation of 'Excellent' for 2011-2013 and 2014-2016). She received her PhD from The Johns Hopkins University, United States of America, and her Masters from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Great Britain. She has a Bachelor Degree (five years) in Economics from the School of Economics of the University of Coimbra. Her research interests include peace missions, development aid, environmental governance and international water conflicts. She has several publications on these issues.

PHILIP GARNETT (Co-coordinator)
Philip Garnett is a Senior Lecturer of Systems and Organisation in the School of Management, University of York. He is interested in the application of complex systems theory in organisations, and how organisational culture, memory, and knowledge can be theorised as an emergent property of the system itself. He combines modelling and simulation techniques (agent based modelling, and network analysis) with the analysis of information and its flow (natural language processing and machine learning/AI) to investigate how organisations and society works (and fails), and how interventions could be made. He is also interested in the power of information and its consequences for our privacy and liberty, and conducts research on cyber and information security. Philip also has a philosophical interest in complexity theory and complexity thinking.

RITA CAMPOS (Co-coordinator)
Rita has an undergraduate degree and a PhD in Biology from the University of Porto. She is currently a researcher in Communication and Non-Formal Education of Science of the Research Group on Science, Economy and Society (NECES) of the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (CES-UC) in collaboration with the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra, the Centre for Research on Biodiversity and Natural Resources (CIBIO-UP/InBIO) and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN; Brasil). Her research interests are focused on public participation and engagement with science, namely on issues regarding the biodiversity crisis, the relation between biodiversity and health, environmental education and education for sustainable development.

Sara Araújo holds a PhD in Sociology of Law with a thesis on legal pluralism and Epistemologies of the South. Member of the coordinating team of the Alice project, coordinated by Boaventura de Sousa Santos. She is also a member of the collective that coordinates the Popular University of Social Movements (UPMS) in Europe and co-coordinator of the Summer School on Epistemologies of the South. Co-editor of the book "A dinâmica do pluralismo jurídico em Moçambique" (2014) and has published several articles in scientific journals on justice in Mozambique and decolonialisation of State and law. Her research interests included legal pluralism, transformative constitutionalism, post-abyssal judicial cartographies, human rights and interculturality, popular education, ecology of knowledges and ecology of justices.

Teresa Cunha holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Coimbra. She is a senior researcher at the Center for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra where she lectures in several PhD Courses; co-coordinates the publication 'Oficina do CES', the Gender Workshop Series and the Research Program 'Epistemologies of the South. Coordinator of the Advanced School 'Feminist Ecologies of Knowledges'; associated-professor at the College of Education of the Polytechnic College Coimbra; associate researcher at CODESRIA and the Center for African Studies at Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique. In 2017, the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste awarded her with the Order of Timor-Leste. Her research interests are feminisms and postcolonialisms; other feminist economies and women's economies; post war transition, peace and memories; women's human rights in the Indian Ocean space. She has published several scientific books and articles in several countries and languages of which stand out: Women InPower Women. Other economies created and led by women from the non-imperial south; Never Trust Sindarela. Feminisms, Postcolonialisms, Mozambique and Timor-Leste; Essays for Democracy. Justice, dignity and good-living; They in the South and North; Women's Voices of Timor; Timor-Leste: Chronicle of an Observation of Courage; Feto Timor Nain Hitu - Seven Women of Timor; Walking Through Other Paths and Roots of Participation.

Overview Programme Trainers/Facilitators Pper published about the School