Blane Harvey

Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Room 365 Education Building 
Tel: 514-398-4527 ext. 00506
Twitter: @BlaneHarvey

Email address: 
blane.harvey [at]
Department of Integrated Studies in Education

I am an interdisciplinary scholar who works across the social and natural sciences on the themes of learning, environmental change and sustainable development. My recent research has studied how climate change knowledge is produced, validated and communicated, and how facilitated learning and knowledge sharing can support action on climate change. I am interested in how processes such as social learning and knowledge co-production can support collaborations that span epistemic and disciplinary divides. I am currently working with an international team of collaborators to investigate how such processes are being used in global research partnerships on climate change, resilience, and international development. Factors we are examining include institutional and personal incentives/disincentives for engaging in learning and knowledge co-production; how program design enables or constrains learning; and how particular forms leadership influence levels of engagement and the impact of learning processes. Issues of power, voice, and participation are central to all of these themes. 

My research and teaching are informed by my experience of working outside of academia, in funding agencies, think tanks, independent research institutes and with the United Nations. I am therefore interested in how evidence is mobilised to inform policy and practice at a range of scales, and particularly how those who have been excluded from formal decision-making processes can make their voices heard. I have been an active contributor to the United Nations climate change negotiations process since 2003 with a focus on training and capacity building to support adaptation in developing countries. I am currently a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute (UK) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, where I help national governments, funding bodies, and international agencies design and implement learning-centred programmes on resilience, sustainability and climate change adaptation.

I am keen to hear from prospective graduate students with interests in the areas of:

  • Fostering leadership on sustainability and global environmental change;
  • Supporting and/or assessing learning in international partnerships; or
  • Contemporary challenges in the teaching, learning and sharing of traditional ecological knowledge.



PhD, Education and International Development (McGill University)
MA, Culture and Values in Education (McGill University)

Area of expertise: 

Informal and organisational learning, social learning, learning in communities and networks of practice, leadership and sustainability, education and international development, participatory action research (PAR), learning in international cooperation, knowledge co-production, knowledge brokering, learning-centred responses to climate change, social justice and environmental change


EDEM 646, Planning and Evaluation
EDEM 673
, Leadership Theory
EDEM 674, Organizational Theory
EDTL 640, Teacher Inquiry and Action Research

Office hours: 

Mondays 13:30-14:30, or by appointment.


Principal Investigator: Learning our way out of complex global challenges? A study of social learning in three international transdisciplinary collaborations (2018-2021)

This 3-year study is examining how facilitated learning processes contribute to the work of transdisciplinary collaborations on climate-resilient development. Undertaken with the Red Cross Climate Centre (Netherlands) and the International Development Research Centre. (Funding: Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture; Value: $44,964)


Principal Investigator: Supporting the next generation of climate and sustainability leaders: A collaborative inquiry (2018-2019)

Study of evolutions in the way climate adaptation leadership is being conceptualized, supported and assessed in international cooperation. Undertaken with the International Development Research Centre and regional partners in Africa and Asia. (Funding from McGill University’s Social Sciences and Humanities Development Grants; Value: $5,000) 

Selected publications: 

Peer reviewed journal articles

Cundill, G., B. Harvey, M. Tebboth, L. Cochrane, et al. (2018). Large-scale transdisciplinary collaboration for adaptation research: Challenges and insights. Global Challenges, 2. (doi: 10.1002/gch2.201700132)

Jones, L., B. Harvey, L. Cochrane, B. Cantin, D. Conway, R. Cornforth, K. De Souza, and A. Kirbyshire (2018) Designing the next generation of climate adaptation research for development. Regional Environmental Change 18(1), 297-304. (doi: 10.1007/s10113-017-1254-x)

Harvey, B., T. Pasanen, A. Pollard & J. Raybould (2017) Fostering learning in large programmes and portfolios: Emerging lessons from climate change and sustainable development. Sustainability 9(2), 315. (doi:10.3390/su9020315)

Ensor, J. and B. Harvey (2015). Social learning and climate change adaptation: Evidence for international development practice. WIREs Climate Change 6(5), 509-522. (doi: 10.1002/wcc.348)

De Souza, K, E. Kituyi, B. Harvey, M. Leone, K.S. Murali & J. Ford (2015). Vulnerability to climate change in three hot spots in Africa and Asia: Key issues for policy-relevant adaptation and resilience-building research. Regional Environmental Change 15(5), 747-753. (doi: 10.1007/s10113-015-0755-8)

Kristjanson, P., B. Harvey, M. Van Epp & P.K. Thornton (2014) Social learning and sustainable development. Nature Climate Change 4(1), 5-7. (doi:10.1038/nclimate2080)

Harvey, B. and C. Fisher (2013). Mobilising knowledge for climate change adaptation in Africa: Reflecting on the adaptive management of knowledge networks. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 9(1), 37-56. [URL]

Hammill, A., B. Harvey & D. Echeverria (2013). Knowledge for action: User-oriented analysis of online knowledge broker platforms for climate change and development. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 9(1), 72-92. [URL]

Harvey, B. T. Lewin and C. Fisher (2012). Is development research communication coming of age? IDS Bulletin 43(5), 1-8. (doi: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2012.00356.x)

Harvey, B., L. Carlile, J.  Ensor, B. Garside & Z. Patterson (2012). Understanding context in learning-centred approaches to climate change communication. IDS Bulletin 43(5), 31-37. (doi: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2012.00360.x)

Burns, D., Harvey, B. and Ortiz Aragon, A. (2012). Action research for development and social change. IDS Bulletin 43(3), 1-7. (doi: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2012.00318.x)

Harvey, B., D. Burns and K. Oswald (2012). Linking community, radio, and action research on climate change: Reflections on a systemic approach. IDS Bulletin 43(3), 101-117. (doi: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2012.00326.x)

Harvey, B. (2011). Climate Airwaves: Community radio, action research and advocacy for climate justice in Ghana. International Journal of Communication. Vol.5, 2035-2058. [URL]

Harvey, B. (2011). Negotiating openness across science, ICTs, and participatory development: Lessons from the AfricaAdapt network. Information Technologies and International Development 7(1), 19-31. [URL]

Harvey, B. (2010). Learning from power in development cooperation: Lessons from Senegal. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences 2(3), 340-370. [URL]

Harvey, B. and J. Langdon (2010). Re-imagining capacity and collective change: Experiences from Senegal and Ghana. IDS Bulletin 41(3), 79-86. (doi: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2010.00139.x)


Edited Journal Special Issues

Cranston, P., P. Grunewald, B. Harvey, C. Jackson, L. Lamoureux, E. Le Borgne, L. Morris & S. Staiger (Eds) (2015). Facilitation for development. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 11(1).

Ford, J.D., K. De Souza, E. Kituyi, B. Harvey, M. Leone & K. Murali (Eds) (2015). Adaptation in climate change hotspots: Analysis from Africa and Asia. Regional Environmental Change 15(5).

Lewin, T., B. Harvey and S. Page (Eds.) (2012). New roles for communication in development? IDS Bulletin 43(5).


Book Chapters

Cundill, G. and B. Harvey (Forthcoming). Unpacking the potential role of social learning in adaptation policy. In ECH Keskitalo and B. Preston (Eds.) Research Handbook on Climate Change Adaptation Policy, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Harvey, B. (2014). Science, ICTs and participatory development: Negotiating openness across epistemic divides. In Smith, M.L. and K. Reilly (Eds.) Open Development: Technological, Organizational, and Social Innovation in International Development. Cambridge, MIT Press.

Tanner, T. and B. Harvey (2013). Social justice and low carbon development. In F. Urban and J. Nordensvard (eds.) Low Carbon Development: Key Issues. London, Routledge Press

Harvey, B. and T. Mitchell (2012). ICT-enabled knowledge sharing in North-South partnerships:  Lessons from the AfricaAdapt network. In R. Heeks and A. Ospina (Eds.) ICTs, Climate Change and Development: Case Evidence. University of Manchester. Available online at:

Harvey, B. (2011). Development cooperation and learning from power in Senegal. In Kapoor, D. (Ed.) Critical perspectives on neoliberal globalization, development and education in Africa and Asia. Rotterdam, Sense Publishers.

Harvey, B. (2011). From technicism to transformation: Vocational adult learning in development. In Rossatto, C.A. (Ed.) Teaching for Global Community: Overcoming the Divide and Conquer Strategies of the Oppressor. Asheville, Information Age Publishing.

Harvey, B. (2009). Indigenous knowledges, sustainable development and the environment: Implications for education and capacity building. In Langdon, J. (Ed.) Indigenous knowledges, development and education. Rotterdam, Sense Publishers.

Langdon, J. and B. Harvey (2009). Building anti-colonial spaces of education: Challenges and reflections. In Kempf, A. (Ed.) In Breach of the Colonial Contract: Anti-Colonialism in the US and Canada. Toronto, Springer Press.


Publications as contributing author

IPCC (2014) Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Barros, V.R., C.B. Field, D.J. Dokken, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 688 pp [Contributing author – Chapter 22. Africa]


Media and press features

Guilbert, K. (2017, May 9) “As droughts worsen, phones and radios lead way to water for Niger's herders.” Thompson Reuters Foundation News.

Pasanan, T. & B. Harvey (2017, March 29) “Eight lessons on fostering learning in large research and development programmes.” LSE Impact Blog.

Walsh, D. (2011, Sept. 27). “Climate change takes a toll on cultures.” The New York Times.


Hammill, A., B. Harvey, G. Cundill, B. Koelle, S. Huq (2018, June). “What are we learning about South-South peer learning?” Paper and interactive session accepted for the 2018 Adaptation Futures conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

Harvey, B., D. Morchain, H. Jeans (2018, June). ”“The voice of the heart will make a revolution in the brain”: Rethinking leadership to transform adaptation.” Paper accepted at the 2018 Adaptation Futures conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

Harvey, B., L. Jones, L. Cochrane, R. Singh (2018, June). “The future of climate services in Africa: A value chain perspective.” Paper Accepted at the 2018 Adaptation Futures conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

Harvey, B., J. Levitan, L. Starr (2018, May). “Taking educational leadership beyond the school.” Paper accepted at the 2018 Canadian Society for the Study of Education conference. Regina, Canada.

Harvey, B. (2017, November) “Empowerment for inclusive climate action and decision-making.” Panelist and discussion moderator at the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Talks, Bonn, Germany.

Harvey, B. (2016, September) “Social learning in research for development institutions and partnerships: Learning from the ground up.” Paper accepted for the International Sustainability Transitions Conference 2016, University of Wuppertal, Germany.

Harvey, B. (2016, May) “Opportunities and barriers to coordinating, brokering and amplifying adaptation research through large multi-stakeholder consortia.” Paper presented at the Adaptation Futures 2016 conference, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Harvey, B. (2016, May) “Connections and disconnections between national and local agendas and aspirations for climate adaptation and development.” Session chair at the Adaptation Futures 2016 conference, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Pasanen, T., B. Harvey, J. Raybould, J. Clarke, A. Pollard, A. Buffardi (2016, April) “Fostering a culture of evidence-based learning in large programmes and portfolios.” Paper presented at the 2016 United Kingdom Evaluation Society Annual Conference, London, UK.

Foerch, W., B. Harvey, T. Schuetz, P. Thornton, E. LeBorgne (2015, July) "Doing Much More with the Same: Institutional Change and Social Learning for Sustainable Development Outcomes." Paper presentation at the conference Our Common Future Under Climate Change, Paris, France

Selected talks and presentations: 

Harvey, B. (2018, May). “Climate Change and leadership: International perspectives.” Invited lecture for the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies Signature Event: Climate Change. Regina, Canada.

Carr, E. & B. Harvey (2018, February). “Users and producers of climate information services in sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring roles and needs.” Online webinar for the BRACED programme and USAID.

Harvey, B. (2017, October). “NGOs as Climate Knowledge Brokers? The changing roles of NGOs in supporting climate services in sub-Saharan Africa”. Seminar at Ouranos, Montreal, Quebec.

Rodela, R., H. Lotz-Sisitka, B. Harvey (2017, June). “How a social learning approach can support the design and implementation of interventions.” Online webinar for The Integrated Assessment Society.   

Harvey, B. (2017, April). “Leadership and learning for global sustainability challenges.” Seminar at the University of Sussex, UK.

Harvey, B. (2017, March). “NGOs as climate information intermediaries: Lessons from Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.” Presentation at the Centre for Integrated Research on Risk and Resilience, King’s College London, UK.

Devisscher, T., B. Harvey, P. Watkiss, B. Müller (2015, September) “Supporting Decision-Making for a Sustainable Future - from Climate Knowledge to Climate Action.” Panel presentation at the Stockholm Environment Institute – Oxford Seminar, Oxford, UK.

Harvey, B. (2015, June) Aga Khan Foundation International Development Management Seminar: "Environment and development." Aga Khan Foundation, Ottawa, Canada

Harvey, B. (2015, March) "Making adaptation networks work." Invited speaker and panel chair at the First Global Adaptation Network Forum, Panama City, Panama

Professional activities: 

Associate Editor, Evidence and Policy Journal

Steering Committee Member, Climate Knowledge Brokers Group

Member, Canadian Association for Studies in International Development

Member, Canadian Society for the Study of Education