Transitions Talks

Seminar Series

​These are times of upheaval. Social unrest, far-reaching environmental degradation, and rapid technological change challenge the way we see the world.  These times call on us to think big and to think differently. 

Transitions Talks invites you to explore new perspectives on innovation and sustainability. We bring together leading thinkers from civil society with academic researchers. We present a challenging keynote speech and facilitate a discussion with invited panelists. We provide an opportunity to reflect, talk and network. 

The purpose of Transitions Talks is to put our research efforts in a broader context, by inviting new perspectives on innovation and sustainability, as well as to explore the role and orientation of our work in relation to pressing social and environmental challenges. In addition, Transitions Talks provides a platform for scholarly interaction and highlights the emerging network around Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions.

Five seminars are planned for 2020. The descriptions for the following talks will be updated in due time, after confirmation of the speaker. No registration is necessary. The talks will be held in English.

Transition Talks is a seminar series presented by Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions. The organizing team are Kjell Vowles (STS), Maria Blarr (ESA), Gavin McCrory (FRT), Martin Hultman (STS), Hans Hellsmark (ESA) and Frances Sprei (FRT). To contact the organising team, please send an email to:

Transiti(on-line) Talks 2020

12 June, 12:00 – 13:00

When COVID cut our wings
With planes on the ground and society homebound, what is the future of mobility?

In a matter of days, Coronavirus achieved what many climate activists and scientists have spent years striving towards; it brought aviation to a standstill across the globe. As flying flatlined and carbon emissions dropped in Sweden, an industry on the brink cut costs and requested bailouts. Despite the cautious optimism from within the climate community, there are also larger signs of uncertainty for the future of mobility; COVID-19 may have profound implications for not only flying, but also how we travel and move on a daily basis. What may this sudden moment of transformation mean for long-term transitions? Can practices developed or curbed during the pandemic lead to lasting societal norms? Is this simply a momentary lapse in the act of flying and the systems that support it? In this seminar we discuss the role of aviation in the climate transition and explore what may await aviation in a post-corona world.



Maja Rosén, climate activist and the co-founder of the organisation We Stay on the Ground, and the campaign Flight-Free 2020She is the author of a guide about how to talk about aviation and climate​ and has featured extensively in Swedish and international media on the subject of climate change and aviation, as well as holding a TedX-talk.


  • Stefan Gössling is a professor at the Department of Service Management and Service Studies, Lund University, and the School of Business and Economics at Linnaeus University. He works with tourism and transport in the context of sustainability and is specifically interested in climate change, transport policies, transport psychology, and transport economics.
  • Jörgen Larsson is Assistant professor at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment, at Chalmers. His research area is sustainable consumption patterns and in recent years the focus has been on long distance travel with research on methodology for emissions accounting, travel patterns analysis and policy analysis.​

Watch the talk on Chalmers TME YouTube channel
Download the list of references

29 APRIL, 12:00 –13:00

The stories we tell
What if we accept the grief and sorrow of rapid climate change and the loss of ecosystems?

Many have noted that we need a new story of human society, one not based on conquering nature but about a successful transition. One might ask, however, if we really can talk about success? Time is running out to limit global warming to 1,5 or 2 degrees, and even if we succeed, that amount of warming will have profound consequences for ecosystems and societies around the planet. What happens if we acknowledge our failure to prevent these losses? Would a story of failure lead to resignation, or to a deeper transition where we can acknowledge our grief and loss? In this seminar we discuss the role that stories and narratives may play.

Jesper Weithz, author, journalist, graphic designer, and playwright who has written extensively about climate change in both fiction and non-fiction. His new book 2020 (Ordfront) is a dark satirical novel about a boy born 2020, in the same year the UN declared the two-degree goal impossible to reach.

  • Madelene Ostwald, docent and affiliated researcher at the Department of Technology Management and Economics, at the division of Environmental System Analysis.
  • Rut Elliot Blomquist, a doctoral student at the department of language and literature at the University of Gothenburg.

Upcoming seminars

Climate justice
What if indigenous peoples had a say in capitalist decision-making?

Healthy transitions
What might it mean to prioritise health and well-being in sustainability transitions?

Restorative technologies
Can technology possibly heal some of the occured damage of the anthropocene or is it just another promise for growth

What is national security in times of climate change?

Published: Wed 17 Jun 2020.