Learning innovation for tomorrow
Learning Innovation for Tomorrow (LIFT) is our professional support programme to bring transformative, futures-oriented learning into the curriculum, co-curriculum and education support. It is led by the Sustainability Team, with support from the Academic Development Unit, delivering curriculum change initiatives to support our sustainability strategy and internationalisation strategy.
LIFT offers funding and guidance for new initiatives that enable course teams to experiment in Education for Sustainability. It also supports university-community learning partnerships through RCE Severn, our UN Regional Centre of Expertise in Sustainability Education. To find out more about LIFT funding in 2019/20, see our FAQs.
Changing learning experiences
LIFT is grounded in the principles of Education for Sustainability and provides new professional development opportunities for our academics as well as experiences for our students. It supports them to be more than specialists trained in one discipline, and to educate and collaborate to support the development of sustainability from a broader professional and societal viewpoint.
The core pedagogical principles of LIFT are:
- Futures thinking
- Systems thinking
- Critically reflective practice
- Decolonising learning
- Stakeholder engagement
- Learner empowerment
LIFT projects are encouraged to use co-creation in design and delivery, actively involving students in shaping their focus and goals. They also deliver on curriculum enhancement priorities such as innovative assessment and feedback, technology for learning and research-teaching transfer.
See our quick guide to applying LIFT principles in learning experiences
Browse examples of sustainability curriculum experiences for students
LIFT funding in action
Examples of LIFT activities across our subject communities:
This collaborative project with Performing Arts and Media students developed an innovative and immersive multimedia storytelling methodology on the theme of ‘survival’. Students created narratives focused on ways to understand and improve prospects for sustainable futures, working with young people through a local youth theatre group and created education resources and workshop methods to use in wider comunity learning activities.
The Forward Thinking event connected academic staff with local organisations to build collaboration and inspire new partnerships on emerging sustainability agendas. It featured business blasts on sustainability in the teaching of leadership development, financial decision-making, social impact businesses, marketing and retail, entrepreneurship and the experience economy, with resilience scenario workshops on positive business impact for the global goals.
Students researched and designed digital and public exhibitions that explored local history topics and sustainability as part of the Cotswold Centre for History and Heritage. Their assignments reflected on sustainability in history, heritage and conservation, using examples such as wartime experiences and women’s suffrage to analyse community impacts and legacies that can support future sustainability, through conservation and regeneration work.
This project supported connected Restorative Justice practice with Education for Sustainability principles, in collaboration with Ulster University in Northern Ireland and Humber College in Toronto, Canada. Students expanded their global perspective through curriculum-based activities with local stakeholders across three unique cultural settings and political contexts, experiencing different empowerment and dialogue techniques in action.
Using a critical dialogue group, staff and students explored the use of blockchain and disruptive technology to help them respond to sustainability as creative professionals. With guest input from industry speakers, they created learning materials and app concepts to reflect how a sustainability focus reduces negative impacts in music production and consumption, while supporting creative, financial and professional benefits for entrepreneurs.
Using interviews on kindergarten experiences of recent graduates working in China, this project aimed to sharpen the cultural lens and sustainability focus of the Early Childhood Studies degree. It used the views of current students with frameworks for sustainability education, to develop curriculum change plans that better equip students in early years education for international work attuned to sustainability and that increases their positive impact as educators.
Using Public Sociology methods, this project aimed to support effective, equitable community development, using ‘sustainable communities’ framework and participatory research in students’ local areas, to develop proposals for a community festival. It actively involved students with community ‘co-learners’ and insights from global community development networks, resulting in a report to local authorities on the positive impact potential for local people.
The sports coaching and development team delivered an employability and enterprise challenge that saw students developing independent learning and enterprise skills. They provided sustainability-oriented responses to scenarios presented by local organisations, to introduce beneficiaries of the services to sustainability ideas in practice e.g. an Education for Sustainability training package for school and community learning environments.
A cross-professional team of accounting, international business and law students devised a not-for-profit business model to support an established small-scale local company in Vietnam. Using insights from the company and its focus on fair trade and self-reliance, the student team developed strategies to reach into UK sales activities using online methods and tested the options for supporting this type of enterprise, exploring the legal and policy changes required.
This Virtual Reality project brought together three academic schools to develop innovative training resources for Social Work that place people into challenging scenarios they will meet in practice. On a practical level the project supported sustainability through resource efficient use of technology and through its evaluation and training insights, it uncovered ways that social work professional training can better integrate the wider global sustainable development agenda.