8th Cross-Sector Social Interactions (CSSI) Workshop “Partnering for Resilience and Transformation”

22-24 June 2022

Wageningen University, The Netherlands

The seventh Cross-Sector Social Interaction Workshop (CSSI 2020) has been taking place in a fully online version, thanks to the University of Limerick and the fabulous work of Annmarie Ryan! This year’s edition faced the tough choice between cancelling, postponing and going online with the conference, and much thought and effort has been invested in making this into an engaging online event for the CSSI community. In many countries around the world and in many sectors of society, the corona/covid-19 crisis has forced people to reinvent their professional and private social life, their health behaviours and sometimes their entire livelihood. Existing partnerships have also been challenged to reinvent themselves, in a situation where acute crisis directs the attention and the funding, where global commodity chains are interrupted, where local informal economies have been brought to a halt, and where global solidarity is under pressure. A crisis like this one also lays bare some of the vulnerabilities in the current system, like the tension between the tightly integrated global economy and the fragmented nature of global politics. It also becomes clear who is vulnerable, like workers in informal or temporary jobs, or children for whom distance or home schooling is hardly a viable option.

For the next CSSI Workshop in 2022 at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, we propose “Partnering for Resilience and Transformation” as the central topic. How do partnerships perform in times of crisis? Are they able to respond quickly enough, and to flexibly adjust course where necessary? What makes partnerships resilient? What makes partnerships transformative? These are pertinent questions that have been catapulted to the top of the agenda and require our attention as a scholarly community. Responding to a crisis is a crucial first step for building resilience of the collaboration and involved partners. Being resilient may also be the steppingstone towards rebuilding a brighter future. Bouncing back to the old situation, with its associated vulnerabilities, is not necessarily the best approach. Reconciling resilience and transformation is a major challenge both in practice and in the theoretical debate. How can partnerships facing crises or disturbances contribute to the transformations necessary for a more sustainable future? Do partnerships provide transformative capacity for in-depth change? We hope that inquiring into partnering processes with resilience and transformation as lenses will result in inspiring scholarship that is both theoretically innovative and practically useful.

No one can predict what the world will look like exactly in 2020, but we very much hope to be able to welcome you by then at Wageningen University! Overlooking the Lower Rhine river and situated in the Food Valley, Wageningen hosts a vibrant green campus where education buildings and research facilities intermingle with other activities, including a Unilever R&D plant, a branch of the public Food Safety Agency and a student-run vegetable farm - partnerships are in the DNA of this university! The mission of Wageningen University is “to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. As a life science university, Wageningen specializes in research on food, the living environment and health, and puts high value in interdisciplinary research between the natural and the social science. The social science department covers nearly all social science and humanities disciplines, from history to management, and from economics to policy sciences, but with a focus on topics like agriculture, food, environment, water, climate, biodiversity and health. In sum, an excellent environment to discuss the grand sustainability challenges of our time, and the role of partnerships in fostering resilience and transformation.

Art Dewulf (

Sietze Vellema (

Domenico Dentoni (

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CSSI 2020