ASH seminar series: Towards game changing sustainable impact: Awareness-based education and co-creation

Kirsi Hakio Aalto University School of Arts and Meeri Karvinen Aalto University School of Engineering

Inner dimension of sustainability has a major role in transitioning towards life-positive futures. This means acknowledging the effect emotions and habits-of-mind have on learning and action, in order to catalyze rapid and large-scale systems change. Without recognizing and activating conscious human agency, all the detailed roadmaps, pathways and sustainability goals may just lead to a dead end.
Aalto Sustainability Hub, © Creative Sustainability Heidi Konttinen

Through the daily encounters we all participate in the process of reality creation with our thoughts, feelings and actions with relation to others, which affects the future unfolding. Awareness-based change process and transformative methods address these issues by acknowledging the conscious human agency, allowing people to connect to each other and moving to a deeper level of dialogue. In this process, the interconnectedness of all life, systemic wisdom and the view from ‘the whole’ build the basis for co-creating future possibilities. In higher education, awareness-based approach aims specifically at fertilising reflective innovation capacity and transformative tipping points, and offers a potential for co-creating conceptions on sustainability and sustainable practices.

This approach cannot be embraced by only talking or thinking, it has to be experienced. Therefore, this session concentrates on personal experiences and joint discussions with the aim of providing the participants concrete and inspirational takeaways on how to apply the awareness-based approach into their own work, teaching environment and research.


Meeri Karvinen is a doctoral candidate at the Department of the Built Environment, AaltoENG. She works in the Water and Environmental Engineering Research Group (WAT), studying and developing the working life connections and skills,  and sustainability integration of the WAT Master’s programme. Her special interest in sustainability in higher education research is affective learning outcomes.

Kirsi Hakio is a design researcher and doctoral candidate at the Department of Design, Aalto University. She is a member of ENCORE - Engaging Co-Design Research Group, where she is working in the intersection of design for services & social innovation and awareness-based change. The key question driving her research is to explore how awareness-based approach can foster the co-creation and emergence of sustainable future cultures.


  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!