Karlsruhe School of Sustainability

Local Education – Science Society Interface

In addition to the responsibility for its own students, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, as a big player and as an educational institution, plays an important role beyond the borders of the campus, particularly in the region of Karlsruhe. Sustainable development is per se transdisciplinary, orientated on concrete action and tries to set impulses and support social innovation. This approach is reflected in the Karlsruhe School of Sustainability (KSN).

To facilitate the communication and knowledge transfer between the KIT and the citizenship, the teaching module local education is dedicated to the regional public. Science Society Interface and Responsible Public Science are related concepts with which the KSN works. As part of the KIT Center Humans and Technology the KSN is cooperating with various actors within the KIT and in Karlsruhe, such as the ZAK | Centre for Cultural and General Studies and the District Future – Urban Lab.

Within the framework of the learning module local education, various events took place in the past, such as the workshop “Better quality of life in the quarter” in cooperation with the Global Ecovillage Network, or the campaign “Karlsruhe shows Sustainability” as part of the Sustainability Days Baden-Württemberg. Furthermore, the KSN participated in various scientific and public events, for example, the opening of the Zukunftsraum in the Karlsruher Oststadt, the 300th city anniversary of the city of Karlsruhe, or the open house day at the KIT.



Photobox of Sustainability: giving sustainability a face

As transdisciplinary researchers developing cooperative sustainability projects with different interest groups, organisations and students we noticed that sustainability often remains an abstract concept for our partners. To help connecting the complex concept with its practical applications, we developed the Photobox of Sustainability.

By asking what sustainability means on the individual level, on the community level and in professional work, and how transformation towards more sustainable ways of life can take place, the box creates a space for dialogue and encourages reflexion. The unusual format also offers the opportunity to share the answers with a broader public by capturing the messages on the photos. The results serve both as input for scientific consideration and as 


The components of the Photobox of Sustanability are simple: a chalkboard, a photo camera, a laptop, wooden walls offering some privacy while still retaining open space, and one or two researchers inviting you to share your thoughts on sustainability.


The visitor can choose between two questions to start the dialogue. The first question is always the same: what does sustainability mean to me? The other question depends on the context. At the sustainability conference we ask for a recipe for global sustainability, at the city anniversary celebration we ask how the city can become more sustainable, at the open doors day of KIT we ask how the university can become more sustainable, and from our students we ask how education for sustainable development can succeed.


How does the Photobox work?


1) Choose the question you want to answer

2) Write (or draw) your answer on the board

3) Have a photo taken of you and your answer

4) Discuss your answer with us

5) Sign an agreement that your photo can be included in our webgallery or give us your email adress to receive your photo privately.

6) Find your photo from our gallery