From Apocalypse to Utopia


Main aims

  • Progressing from the single issue of fossil fuel divestment to the broader goal of envisioning UAL as a co-operative social enterprise
  • Creatively engaging with psychological and institutional obstacles to the transition to a post-carbon society
  • Bringing staff and students together across the university to combine institutional critique with transformative pedagogy


Following a campaign by a group of staff and students, our university has divested £3.9 million endowments from fossil fuels and signed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Building on this success, our campaign group has developed into a community of proposition and enquiry, reflexively engaging with our university as a place of learning. Currently, the university separates the theoretical, critical and creative work of research, teaching and practice from the practical, pragmatic, and ‘realistic’ work of finance and governance. Since political proposals aim to transform education into a profit-oriented private business, we are exploring the possibility that our university could become a co-operative social enterprise. Aiming for equality while acknowledging our differences, we imagine our university as a place where we might collectively test our ideas and assumptions, and base our choices on our values.