The Centre for the Study of Resilience (CSR), University of Pretoria distils systematic evidence on resilience-enabling innovations that are responsive to extreme challenges in a Global South space, such as Africa. CSR-knowledge generation has a focus on socially useful knowledge that matter for the wellbeing of people, the planet, animals and the built environment. In seeking sustainable solutions to challenges in an emerging environment, CSR-resilience research embraces a diversity of transdisciplinary knowledge, leverages natural and cultural resources synonymous to Africa and privileges strengthening the research capacity of doctoral and early career scholars in Africa.
The CSR-vision is to be known as a knowledge generation platform of merit that makes a meaningful contribution to Global South issues of adaptation to chronic and cumulative adversity. The two-pronged CSR-research niche is, (i) to investigate resilience as complex transdisciplinary phenomenon, and (ii) to use systematic scientific evidence to centralise Global South knowledge on adversity and adaptation into existing global resilience discourses.
South Africa is a veritable living laboratory to study resilience. Resilience presupposes (i) the presence of substantial challenges, (ii) socio-ecological pathways/processes of adapting to these adversities, and (iii) better than expected outcomes given highly challenged settings. The substantial challenges are more than evident in a highly unequal postcolonial South Africa in transformation. Innovative adaptations are visible as, amidst many instances of responses that are negative, there are examples of positive outcomes despite the cumulative and chronic risk. The CSR generates knowledge with UP researchers in nine faculties and sixteen academic departments and/or centres.
In a Global South space, it is necessary to have evidence of positive outcomes in relation to inequality, social exclusion, diversity, postcolonial transformation and social justice.
The CSR's Vision, Mission and Objectives:
To be a knowledge generation platform of merit that makes a meaningful contribution to generating knowledge on Global South resilience, i.e. adaptation to chronic and cumulative adversity with an eminent local and international reputation for its prominent role in leading the field of transdisciplinary resilience research in South-to- South collaborations.
- to build a transdisciplinary knowledge base on resilience as manifested in the Global South in order to add to existing resilience knowledge;
- to build human resource development in the relevant fields;
- to perform leading research by combined scholarship of the University and their networks in the stated domain;
- to enhance the status of the University and South African science by implementing the above.
- to fulfil the indicated mission of the Centre;
- to create sources of renewable funding;
- to develop national and international standing for the Centre;
- to add to the national and international scientific community;
- to promote national objectives of human research capacity development, and human resource development through the training of candidates representative of the South African demography;
- to extend national and international collaborative linkages.
Sustainable Development Goals:
In current studies, the CSR addresses seven Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely Quality Education (4), clean water and sanitation (6), decent work and economic growth (8), reduced inequalities (10), sustainable cities and communities (11), responsible consumption and production (12), and partnerships for the goals (17).
For Quality Education (4) the CSR global research group on Schools as Enabling Spaces investigates evidence to support positive education and psychological wellbeing outcomes in challenged education settings. Decent work and economic growth (8) is studied by investigating relevant career theories, psychometric media and therapeutic intervention for career counselling in a global south, non-western dominant society. Reduced inequalities (10) is achieved by documenting indigenous knowledge in psychology and welfare for use in training, practice and policy. To achieve sustainable cities and communities (11) a multidisciplinary CSR-team focus on associated disciplinary issues of social connectedness and adapting to unfamiliar living environments. National policy on Rural Education have included CSR-evidence in this regard. Responsible consumption and production (12) is studied in a world-wide partnership that combine a focus on gas emissions and human objective and subjective health and wellbeing. A range of significant partnerships to achieve the goals (17) exist, including with government departments in South Africa, non-profit organisations and community-based associations, as well as international scholars in the field of resilience. An example is a South-to-South partnership studying education innovation in postcolonial settings with scholars from Latin America (Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Argentine) and Africa (South Africa, Ghana, Boleswana).