How to Co-Create A Shared Understanding for Social Sustainability

How to Co-Create A Shared Understanding for Social Sustainability

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Dr Faye Miller will speak about how the concept of shared understanding can contribute to efforts in social sustainability and regeneration.

About this event

What is shared understanding for social sustainability and regeneration?

How can we co-create a shared understanding?

You’re invited to a public talk by Dr. Faye Miller, author of the book Producing Shared Understanding for Digital and Social Innovation: Bridging Divides with Transdiscplinary Information Experience Concepts and Methods published by Palgrave Macmillan/Springer.

To celebrate two years since its publication, Dr. Miller will speak about her experiences over 15 years exploring how the concept of shared understanding is evolving to contribute to current efforts in social sustainability and regeneration.

This talk is for anyone with an interest in facilitating social sustainability through education, cultural, health, environmental, scientific, technology or business innovation projects.

What is shared understanding?

Shared understanding is a meaningful, collaborative and relationships-based way to experience interacting with diverse forms of information and knowledge for enabling positive lifewide/lifelong learning and wellbeing.

Shared understanding in practice goes beyond finding a shared narrative, to helping people understand and navigate conflicting differences in worldviews.

Shared understanding is also:

  • A transferable mindset and skill set for 21st century (and beyond) career and life navigation;
  • A design philosophy and enabling cultural concept for social sustainability architects;
  • A creative co-production model for incubating and crafting social innovations;
  • A way to future proof, or minimize the effects of shocks and stresses of future events involving relations between humans, technology and nature, made possible through education and training for responsible innovation;
  • A powerful concept and practice in that it aims to make a genuine difference to people’s quality of life;
  • A way to encourage informed, ethical actions following consultations with people affected by a decision;
  • A way to generate diverse knowledge and reflective, insightful consideration of social impacts and consequences;
  • Appreciating the Zoetrope metaphor - “the real magic was found in the unknown gaps in-between. Like the zoetrope, only through the illuminated gaps in the wheel did the whole story come to life.”
  • Exploring how the definitions of shared understanding differ across contexts and how emerging paradigms (such as post-normal science, relational design, social sustainability, machine learning) are shaping what it means to create shared understanding.

10 Key Elements in Shared Understanding

Informational waves (or infowaves)

1. Embodying infowaves

2. Curating infowaves

3. Re-imagining infowaves

4. Critiquing infowaves

Social (transdisciplinary) resonance

5. Reflecting upon resonance

6. Intuiting resonance

7. Communicating for resonance

8. Collaborating for resonance

9. Resonant infowaves

10. Meaningfulness

Shared understanding is often generated within ‘third spaces’ at the intersections between diverse cultures.

What are Third Spaces?

Third spaces, either physical, digital or internal are liminal in-between spaces where new cultural identities are formed, reformed, and constantly in a state of becoming.

How can the elements of infowaves and social resonance generate or enable shared understanding in culturally diverse third spaces?

By paying attention to the ten elements in moments, paradoxes and dialogues.


Faye Miller PhD is Director and Principal Consultant at Human Constellation, a research and career development consulting service for researchers, academics and practitioners from diverse backgrounds and career stages. She is a qualified and experienced career development practitioner, and also a transdisciplinary researcher and knowledge broker in the area of social technology for mental health, wellbeing and social sustainability. For more info, please visit

Proceeds from this event will be donated to the UN Refugee Agency.

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