SDG Conference Bergen

Ways of knowing, modes of living: Dialogues across a fragmented Earth for the 2030 Agenda

Read the concept note for the SDG Conference Bergen 2022.

Scene from SDG Conference Bergen 2022.
Scene from SDG Conference Bergen 2022.
Thor Brødreskift for University of Bergen

Main content

Human knowledge assumes many forms, continuously evolving in interaction with the lived environment. Knowledge comes with a number of qualifiers, such as indigenous, practical, situated, experiential, tacit, traditional, religious knowledge, academic and more. Our focus on “ways of knowing” aims to highlight such variety and to underscore action by using the verb (knowing) rather than the noun (knowledge): ways of knowing are practices and practices guide and perform action. Ways of knowing and ways of living are, thus, inextricably entangled. 

The variation in ways of knowing and modes of living raises fundamental questions: Do we live in the same world? Do we perceive the world and the environment in compatible ways? Some live in a world where they claim continued economic growth can be sustained, where nature is endlessly depletable. Others live in a world where they claim ecological systems are in collapse, calling for urgent social and economic change. Yet others calmly pursue their lives surrounded by the security and comfort of private wealth. 

The challenges and existential threats that underlie the sustainable development goals demand action. What kind of action? Which ways of knowing should guide it? If the goals, targets, and indicators of Agenda 2030 are designed within the framework of modern science, can this framework successfully accommodate plural ways of knowing? How can we leverage other ways of knowing in the quest for sustainable development? 

The SDG Conference Bergen 2022 will trace paths within and among different ways of knowing to explore the transformative ambition of the 2030 Agenda.