Cultural Engineering Group

Services & Ressources en ingénierie culturelle

Creative Transition towards Sustainability


3-day Interdisciplinary PhD Workshop from 3rd – 5th of November 2014 Design – Architecture – Engineering – Natural, Social and Cultural Sciences.

Sustainability is the main challenge of this century. How to deal with global crises like climate change, energy- and resource scarcity or related social conflicts? How is a good life possible for all people on a finite planet? Technological/industrial innovations or economic growth are not by themselves sufficient answers to such questions. What we need is a holistic and systemic approach in combination with a fundamental change of our production/consumption structures and behavioural patterns.

In a three day workshop, experts and PhD students from different European countries and disciplines will come together for an intensive exchange about strategies and specific possibilities of societal transformation towards more sustainable lifestyles. Through a dialogue between observers and analysts of the transformation on the one hand, and designers of the transformation on the other hand, the workshop promotes an intensive relationship between theory and praxis. The PhD Workshop therefore addresses different disciplines e.g. social, economic and cultural scientists, architects, product-designers, engineers. Best practice projects (e.g. living labs in Barcelona) will be presented and examined from an interdisciplinary perspective.

As the behaviour of individuals is strongly influenced by the design of the world we live in, the transformation of lifestyles needs a corresponding transformation of design, architecture and engineering together with a comprehensive re-definition of the concepts of ‚service‘ and of the production and ‚consumption system‘. Modern design is often object-oriented and underestimates the ecological, social and cultural environment. In contrast, this workshop looks for the complex interconnections between designed objects, products and services and their contribution to a creative transformation towards sustainability.

Call for abstracts:

We invite PhD students (and possibly some advanced Master students) from all disciplines conducting research related to the workshop theme „Creative transition towards sustainability“ and with a strong interest in scientific work, to submit an abstract in order to be selected for participation in this transdisciplinary event.
As the goal is to hand in the final paper to a scientific peer-reviewed journal, the applicants are expected to have informed themselves about possibilities for publishing their paper drafts.


UPC- Barcelona Tech is the second biggest university in Spain. The ETSAV School of Architecture at Sant Cugat del Vallés ( is a well recognized centre in the field of sustainable architecture and urbanism with a wide range of initiatives. This includes for example its Living Lab for Sustainable Architecture and Lifestyle (, which will also be the main venue of the workshop.


Applicants should send an abstract (max. 500 characters) about their on-going research work together with a letter of application/motivation and a short CV. An expert committee will select the most suitable contributions according to their quality in relation to the workshop topic.
A general explanation of the abstract and paper are included as an annex.


The workshop will combine theoretical sessions (presentations of research work, experts input, round table sessions) with practical work (living lab exploration, co-creation activities, group work) in order to create a lively atmosphere for a productive interdisciplinary exchange.

Expected outcomes:

Experts will assess participants in their research work to enable discussing specific aspects in small groups. The publication of papers will be prepared.


The Summer School committee will issue a certificate of successful attendance.


Submission of abstracts and application letter: 15th of September 2014 Notice of acceptance: 30th of September 2014.
Submission of full paper (draft) or presentation: 1st of October 2014

(see also template for paper and abstract).


280€Euro (includes 3-day workshop, 3 coffee breaks, 3 lunches and 3 dinners). Not included are: Flight, accommodation, breakfast and further travel costs.


Accommodation in Barcelona centre can be found individually e.g. through the following websites:,, or similar.
Student apartments might be available on short notice at the campus for 35€/night in a double room. Please contact us for further information.


For all applications and contacts please write to:

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