About this site

The Exploring Sustainability website has been devised as part of the Canterbury Christ Church University Futures Initiative.

Launched in 2011, the initiative has worked closely with interested colleagues from all Faculties of the University and drawn many more into wider debates and discussions. As well as promoting links between the University and external community groups, the Futures Initiative actively encourages the involvement and engagement of students in both the planning and the delivery of new courses. The long term aim is to build the capacity and critical mass needed to initiate long term institutional change and new modes of thinking.

The Futures Initiative is underpinned by a number of clearly articulated principles and understandings including:

  • Staff development
    A focus on staff development and capacity building.
  • Voluntary change
    A commitment to organic, evolutionary and voluntary change.
  • Inclusive philosophy
    An inclusive philosophy which encourages participation from both staff and students.
  • Shallow hierarchies
    An organisational structure which favours shallow rather than steep hierarchies.
  • Active learning
    A bias towards interactive, holistic and creative approaches to learning.
  • Informal learning
    A recognition that learning happens in unexpected ways, often beyond the constraints of the formal curriculum.
  • Emotional awareness
    A recognition that learning involves emotional and spiritual as well as the cognitive dimension.
  • Hidden barriers
    An appreciation that sustainability is a complex notion and that there are many hidden barriers to learning.
  • Uncertainty
    A willingness to tolerate uncertainty.
  • Futures
    A focus on future needs and responsibilities which cross discipline boundaries.

These principles imply that the Futures Initiative is an exploratory process with no fixed agenda. Making ethical connections to oneself, to others and to the environment stand at its heart. Creative engagement and critical reflection are the tools which are central in its implementation.


The Futures Initiative is supported by an annual renewable grant which amounted to 75K. Approximately half the money has been allocated to funded projects and associated staff development. The other half has been used to second a small staff team (0.6 fractional equivalent in total) to run and develop the programme.

Key achievements to date include:

  • Funding and supporting nearly 100 projects from 2011 - 2017
  • Running staff development sessions including two 48 hour residential events for staff and students in conjunction with Commonwork, UK
  • Disseminating research via conferences and journals
  • Displaying and responding to the Whole Earth? exhibition at University campuses in Kent and southern India.
  • Ensuring that sustainability is represented within the existing University structures
  • Forging increasingly strong links with the student body
  • Building a shared philosophy and approach to sustainability and environmental responsibility which reflects the unique circumstances of the University.

Dr Stephen Scoffham ,

About Dr Stephen Scoffham

Dr Stephen Scoffham

Dr Stephen Scoffham has worked in the Faculty of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University for many years and is currently a Visiting Reader in Sustainability and Education.

Stephen is long-time member of the development education movement and is currently President elect (2018-19) of the UK Geographical Association.

An established author/consultant for school atlases and educational texts, his research interests include geography teaching, creativity, the environment and the global dimension.

Stephen is currently promoting sustainability and futures perspectives at Canterbury Christ Church University and pursuing his career as an educational author. His latest books are Teaching Geography Creatively (Routledge 2017) and Sustainability Leadership in Higher Education (Bloomsbury Academic 2018), co-authored with Janet Haddock Fraser and Peter Rands.

Find out more

Find out more about sustainability in practice at Canterbury Christ Church

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To hear how our students are engaging with sustainability at Canterbury Christ Church, find us on facebook and wordpress.

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Last edited: 11/05/2018 14:05:00