The Collaboratory
BISC 2021

Bergen International Student Conference 2021: From crisis to action

Join us to discuss how we can move from crisis to sustainability action!

BISC 2021_visual_identity
Silje J. Skagseth, BISC team 2021

Main content

Opening speaker: rector Margareth Hagen will open the conference.

Keynote speakers and other guests: writer Andri Snær Magnason (IS), lecturer and facilitator Pernilla Glaser (SE), professor Roger Strand (UiB)

How can COVID-19 change the way we think about a sustainable future?

While we are in the midst of the corona outbreak we still face another major crisis: climate change and global sustainability. Both the climate and COVID-19 crises uncover risks and instabilities in an interconnected world. Their level of disruption requires coordinated responses from governments, businesses, researchers and the general population. But they are also different. The pandemic directly threatens individuals whereas climate change undermines both humans and nature. And while both crises call for deep and rapid change, COVID-19 has been able to mobilise quick responses while the climate crisis somehow appears less urgent. We know that crises are inevitable, but when they emerge they appear sudden and unexpected, and the outcome is unknown. Since we cannot eliminate risks, new crises will inevitably emerge. The resilience of the society and the capacity of the institutions are therefore of most importance. At the same time, we also need to move from crisis management to deliberate action towards a sustainable future.

Both collaboration across national borders and knowledge sharing across academic disciplines is crucial to deal with the complexity of these issues. We therefore invite undergraduate and postgraduate students from all countries and academic disciplines to participate in this important dialogue at the Bergen International Student Conference in March 2021. At the conference, we wish to explore how we can move from crisis to action by asking the following leading questions:

  • How can we move from crisis to action? What should the new normal post-COVID-19 look like?

  • What can the COVID-19 pandemic teach us about dealing with crises, and how this knowledge can be applied to tackle (sustainability) challenges posed by climate change?

  • Conflicts, risks and blindspots: what are the barriers to and opportunities for deep and rapid transformations, seen from your disciplinary viewpoint? And how can it make us more prepared for the unknown risks and the inevitable crises?

  • Which academic activities and methods are appropriate for the challenges of our time?


Practical information


The conference will be based on student talks, keynote speakers and parallel group sessions. Small changes might occur!

Monday 15.03

09:15-09:30 Opening session with rector Margareth Hagen

09:30-10:00 Keynote speaker: Andri Snær Magnason

10:00-10:15 Break 

10:15-11:15 Parallell sessions:


Lisa Garberson: COVID-19, climate change and conspiracy theories

Pablo Ignacio Soto Mota & Adrian Vargas Lopez: Covid-19 in Mexico City: A survey and four behavioral experiments

Camilla Ekanger: Miniature organs as a tool to combat the next pandemic

Globlisation and colonisation

Alejandro Herrera Cano: The COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst to decolonise the humanitarian sector

Jonathan Espinosa: “Normal” Was a Crisis: a Colonial, Gendered, and Neoliberal Crisis

Jayanna Killingsworth: Creative Cultivation or Disposable Design?

11:15-12:15 Lunch

12:15-13:15 Workshop with professor Roger Strand (UiB) "Narratives for change"

13:15-13:30 Break

13.30-14:30 Parallell sessions:

Consumer behaviour

Anna Schmideder: In honour of the rest

Helene Drevland: Individual behaviour adaption

Öner Kaynakdemir: From all in one bag to zero waste policy = Improving industrial and commercial waste policy in Turkey

Systemic change

Jelle Philippus Ronaldus Builjs: Transforming the global food system: Growing sustainability, equity, and democracy

Sara Eriksen: Decarbonising healthcare, time for action

Nadja Najjar: A green and just recovery from COVID-19- crisis as opportunity for urban socio-ecological transformation?

14:30-14:45 Concluding words


Tuesday 16.03

09:15-09:30 Opening session with BISC-team

09:30-11:00 Keynote speaker/workshop: Pernilla Glaser - Uncertainty gymnastics

11:00-11:15 Break 

11:15-12:15 Parallell sessions:

Leadership and decisionmaking

Lovisa Håkansson: Students as change agents – Reorienting higher education pedagogy for wicked times

Emilie Lindøe: Understanding the role of mindsets in sustainability leadership

Clara McDonnel: Investor initiatives and leaving fossil fuels underground

Social justice

Armando Garcia Teixeira: The Multiple Worlds We Inhabit: Sustainable futures and sustainability education in an era of crises

Ingrid Andrea Holland: Just transition, struggle of interests or space for cooperation?

12:15-13:00 Lunch 

13:00-14:00 Parallell sessions

Power and knowledge

Ingeborg Grindheim Slinde: Defining the Ice Edge: The relationship between science and politics in the Public Norwegian Discourse

Vilde Maria Bustetun Akselberg: Literature in the Anthropocene

Annelies Coessens: Moving forward: Positive peace as a framework to rebuild a more equal community


Andreas Langedal: Ranking novel marine resources according to their nutrient density, contaminants, and greenhouse gas emissions

Iwona Jalowczyc: Biomimetics as the answer to our problems

Adam Borkowski: Sustainable car - present and future

14:00-14:15 Break

14:15-15:15 Wrap-up panel discussion: from crisis to action 


Dates and venue: 15. – 16. March 2021, online and in Bergen, Norway

Call for abstracts deadline: closing

Conference format: digital