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Developing stakeholder agency in higher education sustainability initiatives: Insights from a Change Laboratory research-intervention

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Abstract

This chapter positions Education for Sustainable Development as a project of ongoing educational change, and explores how such change might take place in ways that empower stakeholders. We explore how a particular approach, the Change Laboratory, has been used as a vehicle for sustainability-related capacity building in a university in Ireland. A range of institutional stakeholders—varied in seniority, professional role and disciplinary background—came together in workshops, over several months, and co-designed several outcomes including a Campus Sustainability Statement. In the chapter, we set out the principles underpinning the Change Laboratory approach and the conception of transformative agency that underpins our understanding of its capacity building; describe the design of a local project which applied those principles to problems of sustainability; identify the core expressions of stakeholder agency that were evident as the change process unfolded; and discuss the implications for scholarship and future practice in HEIs.