The International Sciences Council programme on Transformations to Sustainability strengthens social responses to climate change and environmental concerns. It has established a number of Transformative Knowledge Networks linking scientists, educators, civil society, policy makers, business and other stakeholders together.  The T-learning project was one of the first of these Transformative Knowledge Networks.

The T-Learning project focused on learning as an important driver of change towards sustainability. Yet, we know little about the type of transformative, transgressive learning (t-learning) that could potentially enable such change.

In response, this t-learning transformative knowledge network, focusing specifically on transgressive social learning for social-ecological sustainability in times of climate change, will seek to uncover and enable t-learning processes at the climate-energy-food-water security and social justice nexus. We aim to generate, surface and describe qualities of T-learning processes, and their role and contribution to sustainability transformations.

Our specific objectives are to:

1. Investigate and expand the emergence and qualities of t-learning processes in selected food-water-energy-climate-social justice nexus contexts in diverse niche level settings,

2. Investigate and identify potential ‘germ cell’ sustainability activities and engage these in potential expansions within a multi-levelled perspective, and trace how this is done, and

3. Develop generative t-learning methodologies for informing social-ecological science research and praxis, and extend current theoretical work on t-learning within the social-ecological sciences.

We will pursue these objectives via co-engaged processes of working with diverse actors across nine countries in selected t-learning community sites (t-learning LABS) in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe to develop inter-cultural understanding of such learning processes.

Through co-engaged research and actively engaged t-learning processes, network members aim to shape practice, theory and methodology for t-learning, developing the theory and practice of t-learing in practice.

Visit the rest of our website:

  • Our news and views section will carry up to date news and views on t-learning research.
  • The case studies will share updates of the work emerging in our T-LEARNING LABS in the different countries.  
  • The resources page will share papers we are publishing, as well as videos, podcasts, webinars and other material to support t-learning research and practice.  We also share insights into readings that inspire our work.  
  • The research school will share insight into t-learning narratives, methods and approaches.  In time, we will also add short on-line research school courses focussing on t-learning research as activism. 


Transformative learning involves psycho-social processes of cognitive and emotional, and potentially also social change. Sometimes this learning involves perspective change, or change in norms. Transgressive learning is a form of transformative learning that intentionally generates critical thinking, collective agency and changed practices. Transgressive learning explicitly challenges that which is normalised (e.g. colonial practices, overconsumption, or environmental injustice). It uncovers areas that need transforming if sustainability transformations are to emerge.

Being critical, empathetic, connected, counter-normative and challenging are features of t-learning, and are potentially interesting for sustainability transformations. T-learning is also a form of expansive learning, and as such it involves collaborative learning to address new and emerging problems. It seeks to create new knowledge in ways that are not only in the mould of vertical mastery. It is concerned with iterative knowledge creation and application.

As yet, we know little about cross cultural engagement and interpretations of t-learning approaches in transformations to sustainability.

Reframing narratives

Transforming to sustainability requires moving away from and transgressing boundaries and dominant narratives that hold poverty, inequality and ecological degradation (amongst other ills) in place. T-learning research can potentially reframe narratives that arise at the nexus of climate change, water, food security, energy, and social justice concerns.

The t-learning transformative knowledge network actively works on reframing dominant narratives in education and learning spaces. It embraces a commitment to the commons and the common good, to decolonisation, the good life, ecological economics, real sustainability and will seek to bring environmental and social justice into being.

T-learning research also reframes research narratives towards co-engaged research. Methods that can be used for co-engaged t-learning research will be posted in the research school as they evolve.