Exploring artful possibilities: a transdisciplinary research on culture, arts and sustainability

Research output: Books and anthologiesPost-doctoral dissertations


The texts gathered in this manuscript offer a largely congruent set of insights on the cultural dimension of sustainability and on the important functions of the arts in relation to the cultural dimension of sustainability, not only in society – more particularly in cities – but also more self- reflexively in transdisciplinary sustainability research itself. The introduction paper (original text for the Cumulative Habilitation) presents all the published texts included in the cumulative habilitation manuscript, and discusses the challenges of transdisciplinary research, differentiating two schools of transdisciplinarity (the so-called the ‘ETH’ and ‘CIRET’ approaches) to which the author’s postdoctoral research relates. The four texts in the first part (PART 1 - Culture(s) and Aesthetics of sustainability)articulate the relations between culture and sustainability. They focus on a theoretical dimension of the author’s postdoctoral research that further developed an understanding of “cultures of sustainability” and of “aesthetics of complexity” that was initiated in the author’s PhD, bringing them in a dialogue with other ongoing and emerging discourses about “cultural sustainability” and “queer ecologies”. The four texts in the second part (PART 2 - The Arts in Relation to Culture(s) and Aesthetics of Sustainability) represent the part of the author’s research that constituted a closer examination of specific artistic practices: ecological art, musical practices, and contemporary interdisciplinary arts in urban arts organizations.
The ten texts in the third part (PART 3 - Creative Sustainable Cities) share the insights gained in the parts of the author’s research work that focused on urban cultural and arts-related phenomena in their relationships to urban sustainability. Several of the texts lay out a critique of the “Creative City” and demonstrate an effort to develop an alternative understanding of the Creative City that would deserve to be also named a “Sustainable City”. Later texts share the insights from the author’s co-leading of the “Stadt als Möglichkeitsraum” (“City as Space of Possibilities”) research project (2015-2018).
The nine texts collected in the fourth part (PART 4 - Towards Artful Sustainability Research)reflect how the author’s ongoing research work included a transdisciplinary reflection and development in terms of epistemology and methodology, incorporating increasingly more elements of arts-based research and of phenomenology and integrating them with systems thinking and qualitative social-scientific research. This development brought the author to reflect further upon the imaginaries and research practices of sustainability researchers, and to advocate for an “artistic turn” in sustainability research (including the more specific field of sustainability science).
The conclusion paper (original text for the Cumulative Habilitation) summarizes the insights from all the published texts included in the cumulative habilitation manuscript, and suggests ways to address the transdisciplinary challenges presented in the introduction paper, suggesting ways to articulate the ‘ETH’ and ‘CIRET’ approaches to transdisciplinarity.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLüneburg
Number of pages252
Publication statusPublished - 02.07.2021