Call For Papers

International Transdisciplinary Conference

Culture(s) in Sustainable Futures: theories, policies, practices

May 6-8, 2015 | Helsinki, Finland

Is culture the fourth pillar of sustainability alongside the ecological, economic and social aspects? How does culture act as a catalyst for ecological sustainability, human well-being and economic viability?  What would our futures look like if sustainability was embedded in the multiple dimensions of culture?

This landmark conference explores the roles and meanings of culture in sustainable development. The new ideas generated in the conference will inform and advance understandings of sustainability with cultural studies and practices, and vice versa. The invited speakers of the conference are internationally well-known scholars and actors in this field:

Call For Papers open October 20 to December 5, 2014

We invite proposals for paper presentations in 19 sessions within the following four thematic streams:


  • Linking cultural and natural: Cultural ecosystem services, biocultural diversity, capabilities
  • Framing culture(s) in sustainable development: Breaking the boundaries
  • Developing assessment tools for measuring culture in sustainable development: Theoretical and practical approaches
  • Landscape as heritage: A central idea for the role of culture in sustainability?
  • The role of participative and perceptive maps in building and preserving sustainable culture(s)


  • Operationalizing culture in the sustainable development of cities
  • Culture and politics of development: Ethical challenges
  • Cultural and creative industries and sustainable development: Miracle or myth?
  • The role of cultural policy/ies in sustainable development
  • Governing cultural heritage – Governing the future? The role of cultural heritage in sustainable development


  • Values in place: The interior dimension of sustainability
  • Local movements in sustainable transitions
  • Local museums and heritage sites: What roles in community transitions?
  • The roles of design in the quest for sustainable futures
  • Cultures of using and disposing


  • The nature-culture nexus for more sustainable and just protected areas
  • Strategic gardening: Mobilizing cultural aspects of gardening in sustainable development
  • The transformative potential of cultural and artistic endeavours for sustainable rural futures
  • Artistic urban interventions: A sustainable urban heritage?

For further information about the individual sessions within these thematic streams, please see:

Proposals from all disciplines will be considered, provided they make an original academic contribution to the study of culture and sustainability and explicitly analyse multiple dimensions of culture in sustainable development. The abstracts (250-300 words) should be submitted through an online submission system.


  • Call for transdisciplinary panels for debates on a specific theme among scientists, policymakers, and practitioners.
  • Call for contributions for posters, artistic expressions and performances to explore the relationship between culture and sustainability through different presentational forms, employing the methods of science and/or arts.

For further information, please see:

Selected full papers and other contributions will be published in conference proceedings and in a book within the recently launched book series “Routledge Studies in Culture and Sustainable Development.”

The conference is organised by the COST Action “Investigating Cultural Sustainability” ( and hosted by the University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy.

Submit your proposal and join the dialogue!

On behalf of the Scientific and Local Organising Committees of the Conference,

Katriina Soini
Chair of the COST Action