We need every sector of society to act if we are to face the harsh realities of the unprecedented instability that is already upon us. As knowledge producers, educators, and public communicators of privileged influence, academia bears particular responsibility in the quest for a safer, fairer, and more sustainable future amid such suffering.
Yet currently academia all too often enjoys this power and status without taking the action necessary to address the power structures within institutions that allow and encourage business as usual. Academia has not sufficiently responded or reacted to the warnings it itself has generated.
Academic institutions have been slow to reject fossil finance and energy. Disciplinary silos often make academics feel disempowered when engaging with the entangled and entrenched social and economic systems causing accelerating complex crises and suffering. And academics may simply feel abused if their research is used to create the illusion of decisive action, where none follows.
Access to research funding and influential journals is heavily concentrated in institutions from the Global North, perpetuating a colonial legacy that disrupted and erased non-Western contributions to knowledge and entrenched imbalances in living standards and power. In some countries, marketisation further incentivises research and teaching to continue optimising a productive but destructive economy.
Put simply, academia is not fit for future purpose.
As trust in traditional institutions continues to decline, academic institutions risk losing their social licence if they do not reorient themselves to reversing the destabilisation of ecosystems and societies. Much of the academic community is ready to move beyond its traditional confines, and academics typically have substantial agency to transform their research, teaching, engagement, and institutions. Noticing this increasing groundswell of shared feeling among other academics, and plenty doing great work at the individual level but no central community platforming and developing this work, we decided to try to fill that gap.
Faculty for a Future exists to coalesce the energy for change in academia, share insights from a fast-growing community of academics transforming their own work now, and build momentum for a systemic reorienting of academia’s role, inside or – if necessary – outside of existing structures. As a movement, we want to unite in the pursuit of a shared vision for all life to thrive equally on a finite and unprecedentedly unstable planet.
Faculty for a Future has distilled research at the intersection of social and ecological crisis into six key points describing the world ahead. This 'diagnosis' outlines our understanding of the emerging world and informs the objectives and development of all of our projects.Find out more
Academia has never been value-free. To orient objective academic work towards a safer, fairer, and healthier future, our community is guided by four values:
Acceptance: We join the dots between different academic disciplines and lived experience, actively acknowledging the severity of environmental and social crises.
Care: We feel a duty of care to those most affected by these crises, and a responsibility to prioritise life, wellbeing, and justice.
Integrity: We aim to conduct our personal and professional lives with respect, courage, and modesty, towards a better and more equal future for all living things.
Freedom: We seek ever greater freedom to act with care and integrity, so that others can enjoy ever greater freedom to live well.