Session: Education, Culture and Sustainability

Cultural Sustainability Stream


Day 1, Parallel Session 1C: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16), Seminar Room 1, Level 7, Room 1

Chair: John Smithies (Cultural Development Network)


Blanche Higgins Culturing Education for Sustainability: Evaluating a Tertiary Course Against Good Practice Guidelines

  • Presenter and main author: Blanche Higgins (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: Discussions of sustainability often call for a ‘cultural transformation’ or ‘culture change’ however this is rarely matched by strategies for working at a cultural level. Cultural diversity is a source of innovation and resilience, and intercultural dialogue is a method for exchanging values and challenging and changing unsustainable cultures. Yet education for sustainability (EfS), the project that is supposed to assist in this transformation has generally not yet acknowledged the contribution that culture, cultural diversity or intercultural dialogue make to sustainable futures. This presentation reviews the literature on culture, sustainability and education for sustainability, suggesting good practice guidelines for culturing education for sustainability. To explore the application and relevance of these guidelines, a tertiary sustainability course was evaluated against them confirming the benefit of examining sustainability education through a cultural lens.
  • About the presenter: Blanche is a sessional tutor in RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and climate change activist. Blanche is interested in post-colonial approaches to environmental education.
Abolfazl Dehghanm Questioning the Contribution of Higher Education Institutions to Cultural Sustainability of Local Communities

  • Presenter and main author: Abolfazl Dehghanmongabadi (Eastern Mediterranean University)
  • Abstract: From last century, the issue of requirement and application of the concept of sustainability has become a serious topic of discussion. Traditionally, Culture has been a part of social sustainability but gradually culture emerged as a fourth pillar of sustainable development along with the social, economic and environmental dimensions. Thus, the four-pillar model of sustainability incorporates four interlinked dimensions: environmental responsibility, economic health, social equity, and cultural vitality. Furthermore, due to the critical role of education for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environment and development issues, it can be discussed that higher education institutions would also play an indispensable role to this end. The main purpose of this research is concentrated to highlight the position of culture as a fourth pillar of sustainability as well as the contribution of higher education institutions for achieving cultural sustainability in their respective communities. This research is aimed to be a case study and action research. Hence, the theoretical and survey techniques are used in this research. The research would express to the understanding the substantial role of culture within sustainability approach as well as the vital role of higher education institutions for promoting cultural sustainability in their respective communities.
  • Co-author: Nina Shirkhanloo (Eastern Mediterranean University)
  • About the presenter: Abolfazl Dehghanm was born in Yazd city, one of the oldest cities in the world, which is situated in the centre of Iran. He is currently a first year PhD candidate and research assistant in the Faculty of Architecture at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU). He completed a Master of Science in Urban Design under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Şebnem Önal Hoşkara at EMU in 2013. His Masters thesis focused on sustainable transportation within university campuses. Abolfazl is particularly interested in field of sustainable development in urban areas and university campuses. His other major research interests lie in the fields of sustainable transportation and walkability in urban environments.