Två händer som håller en jordglob

Sustainable development and climate transition at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

The climate crisis is high on the agenda at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Our aim is to initiate a discussion on this – one of the most burning themes of our time.

There are various ways to approach issues of sustainable development and climate transition. Many may think of technical and scientific solutions first, since these tend to receive the most attention.

There is, however, another important take on these issues – namely the humanities perspective. Sustainable development and climate transition are not only about science; they are also cultural and social phenomena, as they involve human interests and behaviours. A reduction of greenhouse gases cannot be achieved solely through technical advancements. We, as human beings, must also change our behaviours and habits for any meaningful change to occur.

The arts and humanities provide us with an understanding of humans as cultural and social beings. They contribute knowledge about, for example, people’s ideas, behaviours, language, and values, both in the present day and in historical contexts.

The arts and humanities play a significant role in depicting and providing information about the climate crisis and its consequences in the form of, for instance, film and literature, thus creating understanding, engagement, and emotional experiences in the observer.

At the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, these issues permeate both education and research.

the sky


Our research explores climate transition and sustainable development from several different perspectives. Here are some examples:

Courses and programmes

All our students should have the opportunity to acquire knowledge to contribute to sustainable societal development. For instance, several of our courses and programmes are linked to the UN’s 17 global goals in Agenda 2030 and labelled with a sustainability symbol.

climate crisis

More examples of our work in the field of sustainable development

  • Sustainable journalism

    The media institute Fojo engages in national and global efforts to advance sustainable journalism – that is, free and independent journalism that not only safeguards and promotes democracy but also facilitates a sustainable society. Sustainable journalism is grounded in two sustainability crises:

    - The societal sustainability crisis: Climate change, poverty, inequality, lacking gender equality, and deteriorating democracies.

    - The sustainability crisis of journalism: Diminishing revenues, fierce competition from global media corporations, restrictions on freedom of speech, disinformation, and the declining trust of the public in the media.

    Fojo argues that these crises are intertwined. A sustainable society – environmentally, socially, and economically – requires journalism that addresses the sustainability challenges that society faces.

  • Design + Change

    Several of our programmes in design have + Change included in their titles. This is to underscore design’s potential for change.

    Today, it is both formally and globally recognised that not only our ecological systems, but also social ones, are in a critical state. We also know that human activities – not least design and the associated overconsumption – are driving unsustainability.

    Through + Change, we aim to emphasise design’s potential for change, and also expand it. Bringing about change through design can involve new initiatives for products, systems, or worldviews. We can choose to use design to effect change at the local, regional, or global level, with a focus on ecology, economy, and human health. In summary, + Change is about purposefully using design to bring about changes towards sustainable futures.

  • Lectures and debates

    We organise lectures where our researchers present their work within the fields of sustainable development, climate transition, and climate emergency. The starting point is the humanistic and artistic perspective. In the run-up to the 2022 election, we also hosted debates with local politicians, focusing on sustainability and climate issues.

What are we doing to reduce our own carbon footprint?

  • Carbon budget

    We have implemented a carbon budget for business travel in 2023, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40% compared to 2019. The budget primarily focuses on reducing the number of business flights. Each department or unit has its own carbon budget for the emissions it is allowed to generate in a year.

  • Compensation for train travel

    Employees can receive compensation for train travel. To encourage employees to choose trains over flights, we have allocated funds to cover the extra costs that may arise in such cases, such as more expensive tickets, extra overnight stays, or additional travel days.

  • Vegetarian food

    We always provide vegetarian food at our conferences and gatherings and avoid disposable items like plastic cups and paper plates.

  • Sustainable travel for students

    We encourage all students who can to travel sustainably to and from their destinations, meaning choosing trains as their first option. For instance, as a student you have access to Erasmus by Train, where you can get train tickets for exchange studies within the Erasmus+ programme.