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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

BLGY5231M Equitable Sustainability

15 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Chris Hassall

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The history of conservation shows clearly that priorities and practices have been skewed towards the interests of western, European, and North American researchers, without necessarily considering the interests, motivations, and knowledge of those peoples living near the conservation issues at hand. This module represents a metacognitive approach to the pedagogy and practice of conservation, encouraging students to think critically about how conservation is done and taught. With a strong emphasis on anti-racism and decolonisation, students will be encouraged to produce improvements to their own course and to conservation projects to facilitate a more equitable distribution of the benefits of conservation science.


Among the greatest challenges of conservation science is ensuring that conservation outcomes do not disadvantage one or more groups. In this module, students will learn about how the practice and outputs of conservation can be used to enhance not only the success of biodiversity conservation, but also ensure that any benefits are equally distributed across stakeholders. The approach will incorporate aspects of practical governance to produce graduates with an understanding of the mechanics and logistics of equitable conservation activities as well as technical skills. Students will also have the opportunity to explore the pedagogy that underpins their conservation training in a critical light, developing their understanding and practice of anti-racism and decolonisation.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Evaluate critically conservation programmes of equitable methods and outcomes;
2. Design conservation programmes that incorporate ideas around traditional ecological knowledge and community engagement beyond Western scientific approaches;
3. Understand the history of biodiversity conservation as it relates to socio-political and colonial contexts;
4. Develop and enhance pedagogical materials to decolonise the content and methods of delivery;
5. Understand the governance requirements of third sector conservation NGOs.

Skills outcomes
The module will help students to develop a sense of cultural awareness that will enable students to approach problems from different perspectives. There is also a strong emphasis on teaching and training.


Equitable sustainability covers two main areas of work. In the first, we will explore key concepts in the practice of conservation. These will include understanding of socio-cultural backgrounds, traditionally political knowledge, the governance of conservation NGOs, and working alongside communities to understand and support their perspectives on local issues. The second area of work includes a critical study of the practice of conservation training. Here, students will be encouraged to interrogate the contemporary and historical presentation of conservation issues across multiple disciplines, with an emphasis on acknowledging the colonial history of the discipline and the lack of representation of local people and non-European voices in education. In each case, the students will be responsible for identifying and enhancing an element of conservation practice, whether this is a conservation project that is taking place in the field or a piece of conservation training (including their own modules) that is being delivered at a higher education institution.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The students will be given short, online prompt lectures and other resources in advance of the class. This should take a couple of hours each week. The additional time is spent on the two assessments, working either in groups or individually to research a topic and produce the required output.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The aim of releasing the title and brief for the piece of individual coursework is that students will know about it from the start of the module and be able to discuss the content that is required as we move through the syllabus. All seminar sessions will have a dedicated period for updates and questions about the work. A discussion board will be set up on Minerva to collect any comments outside of the class.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayA review of a conservation NGO’s activity in an area, with a focus on governance, community engagement, and equitability.60.00
Group ProjectA pedagogical enhancement (either Part A of a new module proposal or a critical review/update of an existing module)40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:48:04


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