Common Core & Utrecht University
Critical Zones: Local and Planetary Flourishing
Transdisciplinary Research Exchange 2023

Critical Zones: Local and Planetary Flourishing is an undergraduate transdisciplinary research Global-Action-Lab between HKU and Utrecht University (Netherlands) that has been running since 2016. Co-directed by Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren—formerly the Director of the Common Core and currently Senior Advisor to the Common Core—and Dr. Rick Dolphin in Philosophy, Culture, and Media Studies at UU, the exchange focuses on building transdisciplinary collaborative, research, and project management skills for the students.

The 2022-23 version of the exchange programme explored the concept of “critical zones” made popular first by research networks of earth scientists and then translated more broadly by Bruno Latour, one of the most important philosophers and sociologists of the anthropocene.

This expansive, but necessarily precise, concept allowed the students to bring their disciplinary knowledge to bear on a topic of deep personal interest and then to connect that knowledge and interest to others in both their HKU cohort—drawn from across the Faculties—and to their UU peers. Out of this first-level “zone of attention,” the students then read a series of texts mediated by the Directors, did on-the ground research in both Hong Kong and Utrecht (and the environs), and then co-created an 8-minute video for the purposes of articulation, dissemination, and impact.

Student Projects

The City as a Forest

AU YEUNG Sim Sai (Cindy)Xavian Gabriel Daflaar
KHAW Chin Pok (Skyler)Logan Embregts
SHAN Yanran (Georgia)Nora Janssen
SO Chi Fai (Peter)
WANG Xueying (Lynn)
Stethanie YEUNG

Finding the Eye of the Storm

Emmanuella Nhyira AGORMEDA-TETTEHMarleen Melisse
Tratik DIXITPauline Scherer
CHEUNG Fung Chit JackXavian Gabriel Daflaar
WANG Hao (Wendy)
Stethanie YEUNG

Critical Zones: Local and Planetary Flourishing

2 Videos

Student Testimonials