Developing a minifesta for effective academic-activist collaboration in the context of the climate emergency

Duncan P. McLaren , Christine Anderson, John Barry , Vanesa Castán Broto, Suzanne de Cheveigné, Jason Chilvers, Alison Crowther , Jean-Michel Hupé, Liz Kalaugher, Olivier Labussiere, Tina L. Rothery, Alain Nadai, Nathalie Ortar, Jordan Raine, Graham Smith, Grégoire Wallenborn, Gordon Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Justice-oriented climate activism is proliferating. Many scholars aspire to
deliver research that supports activism. However, measures of impact for
research evaluation and funding purposes place little weight on the use
of research by activists. Here we consider how academics and academia
might effectively support and enable climate activism. We report outcomes
from a series of online deliberative workshops involving both activists and
academics from several European countries. The workshops were facilitated
to create space for discussion, sharing of experiences and the development
of proposals for the future. The outcomes take the form of a set of principles
(a “minifesta”) for academic-activist engagement generated by the group. In
discussing the process and outputs, we argue that a focus on inclusion can
support politically transformative change of the scale and urgency required.
We suggest that this also demands a shift in attitudes toward the role of activism
and activists in collaborative processes. We further discuss the inevitable
incompleteness of this process, arguing that incompleteness is, itself, a feature
of inclusive engagement. We conclude that scholars working on climate issues
in any discipline could benefit from increasing mutually supportive collaboration
with activists; and that such collaboration and inclusion could help liberate
democracy from authoritarian tendencies and market influences. Collaborative
engagements generate legitimate, rich, and impactful outcomes even with the
limitations posed by COVID19. We, therefore, commend both the model of
engagement and the principles it generated for our colleagues and peers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Education
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2024


  • climate justice, climate activism, minifesta, academic responsibilities, deliberative engagement, academic-activist collaboration, democracy


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