CST Webinars

These webinars are part of a series of online conversations convened by the Centre for Sustainability Transitions (CST) that bring together scientists, practitioners and societal actors who use the frameworks of complexity and resilience thinking in their daily work to make sense of the complex dynamics of change and transformative processes.

There is a special focus on how these ideas and practices are used in current times and how local and regional processes and perspectives are being shaped by applying the theoretical concepts and tools for fostering more resilient organisations, communities and decision-making strategies. Click the links below to find out more (videos are arranged in chronological order).


COVID-19 – a nasty surprise?

Professor Wolfgang Preiser talks about his extensive experiences with other disease outbreaks, including the 2003 SARS epidemic, and implications for the novel coronavirus.

Resilient futures in the making

The CST’s Dr Rika Preiser is in conversation with futurists Tanja Hichert of Hichert & Associates and Dr Geci Karuri-Sebina from the SingularityU South Africa. They discuss the application of futures thinking and futures literacy in response to radical uncertainty.

Complexity in healthcare

This webinar sees Professor Joachim Sturmberg from Newcastle University (Australia) and Dr Bruno Kissling, a family doctor from Switzerland, in conversation with the CST’s Dr Rika Preiser about the complex interdependencies in global healthcare systems, and how to re-think health and resilience during COVID-19.

African post-crisis pathways

The CST’s Nina Callaghan and Professor Mark Swilling discuss post-COVID-19 crisis pathways for Africa, and specifically the choices that might lead towards a more resilient economic recovery. This webinar is moderated by Dr Rika Preiser.

Wildlife economies and livelihoods

Dr Hayley Clements from the CST and Steve Collins from the USAID Resilient Waters Program share their insights on the risks that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for the resilience of southern African wildlife economies and livelihoods. This webinar is moderated by the CST’s Dr Nadia Sitas.

Navigating systemic risks

The CST’s Professor Oonsie Biggs and Dr Rika Preiser are in conversation with Kule Chitepo from the USAID Resilient Waters Program and Dr Deon Nel from the Global Resilience Partnership. They discuss strategies for building more resilient futures.

Resilience across borders

Piet Theron from the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and Conservation Area is in conversation with Lola López and Dr Kristine Maciejewski from the USAID Resilient Waters Program. Moderated by Dr Rika Preiser, they discuss transfrontier collaboration for integrating conservation and livelihoods.

Resilience in the food system

The CST’s Dr Rika Preiser is in conversation with Kenneth Carden of the SPAR Rural Hub Development project and Kevin O’Brien, as Group Sustainability and Risk Executive at the Spar Group Ltd. They discuss place-based approaches that respond to local contexts for building resilient food systems.

Nature in cities in times of crisis

The CST’s Dr Maike Hamann is in conversation with Dr Sumetee Gajjar from PlanAdapt and Jessica Kavonic from ICLEI Africa. They discuss the role of urban nature-based solutions in enhancing human well-being and resilience to climate change and other stressors in cities of the Global South.

Humanity and the oceans

In this webinar, Professor Mark Swilling and Tanya Brodie Rudolph from the CST and Dr Philile Mbatha from UCT present their recent collaboration with researchers from across the world to create a Blue Paper for the High Level Panel for the Ocean on a transition to a sustainable ocean economy.

Imagining biodiversity futures

Dr Rika Preiser from the CST is in conversation with Dr Laura Pereira (City University of London), Dr Federico Davila (University of Technology Sydney), and Dr Michelle Lim (Macquarie Law School Sydney), who present their work on imagining transformative biodiversity futures and creating a new action agenda for biodiversity conservation.

Financing SA’s energy transition

In this webinar, Dr Nthabiseng Mohlakoana and Dr Rika Preiser from the CST are in conversation with Dr Chantal Naidoo from the University of Sussex (UK). Dr Naidoo presents her research on the role of financial systems in sustainability transitions, focusing on the energy transition in South Africa between 1994 and 2019.

Developmental entrepreneurship

In this webinar, Phumlani Nkontwana (Fuata Africa), Dr John van Breda (CST), and Prof Johan Burger (School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University) discuss sense-making of system changes for entrepreneurship-led development. Moderated by Dr Rika Preiser.

The Age of Sustainability

Professor Mark Swilling (CST) presents his new book, “The Age of Sustainability: Just Transitions in a Complex World”. He discusses his work with Professor Edgar Pieterse from the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, and Professor Johan Schot from the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges. Moderated by Dr Rika Preiser.

Games for the Global Goals

The CST’s Dr Rika Preiser is in conversation with student activists Reinhold Mangundu, coordinator of the Progress Namibia Project, and Hans Hague, coordinator of the Namibian Youth Coalition on Climate Change. They discuss new and creative ways of using games to understand sustainability challenges.

Business model innovation

The CST’s Dr Rika Preiser is in conversation with Walter Baets, Professor Emeritus of the University of Cape Town (UCT), and former Director of UCT’s Graduate School of Business and Allan Gray Chair in Values Based Leadership. They explore the complex aspects of business model innovation in the context of exponentiality.

Community work in Mozambique

Zachary Lager, founder and executive director of the Local Development Catalyst Network (LDCN), reflects on over 10 years of work with rural communities in Mozambique to promote agroecological farming practices, while supporting locally led conservation efforts and enhancing access to critical resources (water, energy and food).

Systems thinking in project management

Dr Rika Preiser (CST) is in conversation with Prof Shankar Sankaran (University of Technology Sydney), Prof Nathalie Drouin (Université du Québec à Montréal and Executive Director of KHEOPS), and Prof Ralf Müller (Department of Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Norwegian Business School) about developing a Viable Governance Model for project management.

Building system practitioners

Samual Njenga (Systems Thinking Africa & associate lecturer at various business schools in Africa) talks to the CST’s Dr Rika Preiser about his journey as a student of systems thinking. A key part of that journey has been a quest to build a body of systems thinking practitioners by raising awareness and equipping others with tools of systems inquiry and practice.

Reflections on the Ethiopian conflict

The CST’s Nina Callaghan is in conversation with Nava Derakhshani, a New York-based artist and writer. Her work explores themes of identity, belonging, and gender. During her Masters, Nava spent eight months in Tigray, Ethiopia. In this webinar, she shares her research findings on the political, historic, and spiritual ties to sustainability in the region.

Recognizing complexity

Dr Rika Preiser from the CST shares principles for recognizing the features of complex systems and discusses how these principles can assist us in engaging with sustainability challenges in practical ways. Complex adaptive systems thinking provides a way of bridging social and biophysical sciences to understand the intertwined nature of human–environment relations.