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Global Challenges

Congratulations on securing your place at Brunel

We’re looking forward to meeting you - either in person or online - and introducing you to life at Brunel. To help us get started, we’ve put together a short activity and some further information to help you prepare for your course - including a snapshot of the topics you’ll cover and useful resources. If you have any questions please email mary.richards@brunel.ac.uk.

Your pre-arrival activity

We’d like you to complete a short activity before you join us. You'll be taking part in a group discussion and you will have time to prepare with your team beforehand with the support of a tutor. We'll be looking at a multi-dimensional challenge together.

Details of the task will be sent to you by email shortly - please look out for an email from mary.richards@brunel.ac.uk.

We also advise you to take a look at the information below. Completing wider reading and getting familar with what you'll be learning, will help prepare you for academic life at Brunel.

Sample lecture topics 

  1. How have perspectives on ‘creativity’ changed since ancient times? 
  2. How do qualitative and creative approaches help researchers address global challenges (which kind of challenges)?
  3. What does it mean to ‘decolonise’ literature review sources? Give examples and explain why this is important? 
  4. What factors must be considered when thinking about the ethics of a research project?
  5. With reference to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, define a specific global challenge. Outline the benefits of adopting a transdisciplinary approach to addressing this global challenge. 
  6. What is the difference between a disciplinary team, a multidisciplinary team, an interdisciplinary team, and transdisciplinary team? Describe how each of these might approach the same global challenge. 
  7. What strategies might be used to create a zero-carbon future? Consider the differing perspectives of at least two innovators. 
  8. Discuss the role of wealth and income inequality in the persistence of poverty. Make reference to at least two of the following Piketty, Raworth, Dorling and/or Giridharadas.

Reading list 

  • Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘Your elusive creative genius’, Ted Talk (2009)
  • Giridharadas, Anand (2020) Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
  • Helen Kara, Creative Research Methods in the Social Sciences: A practical guide, (Policy Press, Bristol, 2015).
  • Klein, Naomi (2019) On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal
  • Patricia Leavy (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research, (OUP: Oxford, 2014)
  • Raworth, Kate (2018) Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist
  • Silverman, D. A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about doing qualitative research, (Sage: London, 2013).
  • Yunus, Muhammad (2017) A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions