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TU Berlin

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Critical Sustainability / Kritische Nachhaltigkeit

The course "Critical Sustainability" provides a digital space to learn, reflect, discuss and take action together. The participants will jointly analyze existing power relations as well as society-nature relations and democratize them. The course is the compulsory module of the Sustainability Certificate for Students issued by TU Berlin.

Through various interactive, artistic and group-dynamic formats, the participants will broaden their understanding of sustainability. For this they engage in individual work as well as small and large group work to jointly reflect and analyze their own positions/conditions in society. This will be the basis for their contribution to a socio-ecological transformation of society through individual and collective action.

Students of all study programs from all universities/colleges in Berlin and beyond are cordially invited. Non-Students are also warmly welcomed. In this course they come together to share and question their different knowledges,  expertises and perspectives. Together they will explore societal problems across any borders between humans and mutually work on them.

In addition to the Critical Sustainability Course, we are occasionally offering thematic workshops, i.e. in February/March 2021 on Politics - What’s the difference between democracy and politics? and in April/May 2021 on Money - ...makes the world go round! – Can the world not turn by itself? and in June/July 2021 on Violence - Is it a mere continuation of politics by other means?! and in January/February 2022 on Dare to Progress - Do you really want a system change?


Weitere Informationen zum Kurs in deutscher Sprache.



Winter Semester - 18 Oct > 08 Dec - 14.00 > 16.00 CET - Mondays + Wednesdays per Video Conference

The Critical Sustainability course takes place twice per week on Mondays and Wednesdays from 14.00 to 16.00 CET for a total of 16 meetings.  It starts on Monday, 18 October and ends on Wednesday, 08 December 2021. This condensed format allows for an intensive and focused work within the course. Upon successful completion, a certificate of performance of 6 ECTS points is handed out, which might be credited in one’s own study program. The course is offered for free by Technische Universität Berlin and anyone may enroll in the course.


What is the Critical Sustainability course about? - Power Relations - Society-Nature Relations - Critical Theory - Merging Arts and Science - Intervention Research - Democratization - Social-Ecological Transformation

The participants expand their understanding of sustainability, especially with regard to social aspects such as power relations as well as society-nature relations and political ecology. The theoretical foundation for this is Critical Theory and theories of radical democracy. The pedagogical foundation of the course lies in the realm of critical pedagogy and pedagogies of democracy. During the course, the participants work on societal challenges from different interdisciplinary and artistic perspectives and engage in corresponding practices. They conduct an intervention research project through which they contribute to a democratization of society and its social-ecological transformation.


Which learning outcomes? - Analyzing and Democratizing the Reciprocal Relations of Technology - Nature - Individuals - Society (TINS-D)

The participants analyze and evaluate in a democratic process the present reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy (TINS-D). Based on this analysis and evaluation, they learn to democratize these reciprocal relations.

The participants acquire the competence to unveil the complex interdependency of their social, political, ecological and economic surroundings. This includes the consideration of different values, interests and needs within a global perspective as well as within one class(room). The course design encourages democratic decision-making not only to solve but also to define problems within the course itself and moreover outside of the classroom. In addition, the participants deal with artistic positions and practice artistic actions, for example by doing performances, and integrate these practices in their intervention research project.


How is it taught? - High engagement and interaction between the participants

The course promotes exchange and joint actions in digital as well as real life. This is why all participants are actively involved in the course again and again. Unlike many digital courses, this course lives from interactivity - dare to show yourself and contribute to the conduction of the entire course through individual, small and large group work as well as group-dynamic activities - only few lectures will be given. In order to achieve this high degree of interactivity, please make sure that you are able and willing to participate in the video conference of the course with audio and video. In addition,  all meetings are intensely prepared and followed up with exercises by the participants through which they will intervene in their everyday-life. The single meetings build strongly up on each other so that the reciprocal relations of technology, individuals, nature, society and democracy (TINS-D) are continuously unveiled over the entire course.


Who can attend? - all those who are there : ) 

No matter if you are still studying or already working, no matter if in Berlin or elsewhere - every person is invited to participate. Thanks to video conferencing we can offer the course almost without limits and borders - so please let your friends outside of Germany know.


Which language is used? - English

The course will be conducted in English. Most participants will not be native speakers, so don’t worry - enjoy the ride of and improve your English as well. If you prefer that the course would be held in German, please let us know.


When? - Mondays and Wednesdays  - 14.00 > 16.00 CET - 18 Oct > 08 Dec

The course starts on Monday, 18 October 2021 14.00 and consists of 16 meetings for 2 hours/120 minutes each. It finishes on Wednesday, 08 December 2021.


Where? - Video Conference and Learning Platform/Forum

The course will take place through a video conference based on Zoom. Therefore, please make sure that you are willing and able to participate with video/audio as the course is highly interactive and you must be ready to exchange with your fellow participants.

Forum of the Critical Sustainability Course - Link to Video Conference in the Forum


How is it examined? - 6 ECTS Points - Portfolio Assessment

The course is credited with 6 ECTS points. The portfolio assessment totals 100 points - 5 points per meeting for the preparation and/or follow-up activities - 80 points // Intervention research conducted in a small group - 20 points


What about attendance? - Up to Two Missed Meetings

The course is based on the interaction of the participants and the mutual learning from each other. Therefore, only two meetings can be missed. Please write an email beforehand.


How can I integrate the course in my own study program? - Certificate of Performance

A certificate of performance (Leistungsnachweis) will be issued upon successful examination at the end of the course. This certificate can be used to credit the course in your own study program - for instance as an elective or with some justification/paperwork/luck as a compulsory elective. In this case you must clarify the details with your university.


I am a student at TU Berlin. What is there to know? - Elective Course - maybe Compulsory Elective

The Critical Sustainability Course is credited as a 6 ECTS elective course at TU Berlin. You register with the examination office with a special form which we will provide once the course has started. In some cases, students were successful in getting the course credited as a compulsory elective (Wahlpflichtfach) in their respective study program. You have to discuss this with your examination board (Prüfungsausschuss / Prüfungsobfrau/-mann).


I am a student at another university. What is there to know? - Registration within the course

Welcome! We are happy that you want to partake in the course at TU Berlin. The course is offered free of costs to students enrolled at other universities. You will have to register within the course and upon successful completion of the course we will issue a certificate of performance. There are many reports that other universities will credit the course within your own study program. For this, you must clarify the details with your university.


I am not a student. What is there to know? - Welcome! Whether you are in school, work or retirement.

Welcome! We are happy to accept people that are not enrolled in a university - be it that they are still in school, are working or are retired. There are no special requirements or knowledge needed to attend the course. Please, contact us beforehand for details.


How do I sign up? - Just be there in the first lesson.

The course is offered by Technische Universität Berlin and it is free of costs. To participate in the course you must attend the first meeting. After the second meeting registration is closed and no newcomers will be accepted. The link for the video conference and the learning platform will be provided on this website one day before the course starts.



Zusatzinformationen / Extras


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