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Let’s get started! “Tapping our Collective capacities” – What’s new for our 2020-21 Course

By November 4, 2020News

A couple of months ago, we left you with our last blog post telling you a bit how the way we work and build on what we learn year after year going through this complex yet exciting journey in urban resilience, could somehow represent a pandemic-proof education, where the main goal is to keep shaping this community of practice, where active and transdisciplinary learning is the only way to be able to tackle current societal challenges.

In line with that intention, we would like to share with you one of the latest news regarding our program.

We had the great pleasure to welcome professor Giulia Sonetti as part of our core team. She is architect and sustainability advisor at the Green Team of Politecnico di Torino, while being a multidisciplinary assistant professor in decision-making for SDGs and evaluation currently appointed at the Interuniversity Department of Regional & Urban Studies and Planning (Turin, Italy). While being organiser, speaker and facilitator of several shared-science and multi-stakeholder workshops around Europe, she designed and implemented many national, EU FP7 / H2020 research projects about inter/trans-disciplinary approaches, university campus sustainability management strategies, organizational change, and transformative education methods. Currently she is Principal Investigator of the research project “TrUST – Transdisciplinarity for Urban Sustainability Transition”.

Giulia will support the students throughout their transdisciplinary journey, in a world where complex and challenges require a joint language across disciplines capable of addressing interconnected resilience problems. How do we design transitions between the technological, the economic and the socio-cultural dimensions across scales and how does this enable us to better investigate, engage and shape transformation processes? How do different disciplinary lenses approach the challenges of cross-scale interdependencies of interventions in planning, design, and governance patterns?

Students, with the supervision from the professor Giulia Sonetti, will also learn about the Theory U, by joining the u.Lab. Leading from the Emerging Future. It is a 14 weeks program, which the Presencing Institute‘s faculty teaches through the MITx on edX platform. It is free and self-paced. It is propaedeutic for the work they will be doing with her on Transdisciplinarity, Self-knowledge, Capacities of deep listening, precise observation, and dialogue, and practices for creating innovations that generate wellbeing in society.


It is important to know that this is not a merely cognitive ‘study – do the work – pass’ type of course. As Otto Scharmer says, “You don’t learn #ulab by reading and watching videos. You learn it by practicing, specifically by participating in group practices.”

“Once a group crosses this threshold, nothing remains the same. Individual members and the group as a whole begin to operate with a heightened level of energy and sense of future possibility. Often they then begin to function as an intentional vehicle for an emerging future.”

Consequently, students will not master the methodology and tools of TheoryU going solo, they will be called to and need to do it in the company of others, and there is a reason for that. The most important, yet not explicit, requirement of the course is that the person taking it must change — this is a process of inner, no outer change. We hope that this self-paced course plus the live meetings on the platform, and the constant guidance from Giulia will help the new group of students through their journey in this Master.