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Blane Harvey

Academic title(s): 

William Dawson Scholar

Assistant Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education

Associate Member, McGill School of Environment

Affiliate Member, McGill Institute for the Study of International Development

Adjunct Research Professor: Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University

Blane Harvey
Contact Information

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

Email address: 
blane.harvey [at] mcgill.ca
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. I study 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)

Areas 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


EDEC 575, Environmental and Sustainability Education
EDEM 646, Planning and Evaluation
EDEM 673, Leadership Theory

EDEM 674, Organizational Theory
EDTL 640, Teacher Inquiry and Action Research
INTD 497, Climate Resilient Development

Office hours: 

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


Principal Investigator: Transdisciplinary Learning: Understanding how facilitated learning supports transdisciplinary action on climate change 

This research is examining how facilitated learning processes contribute to the work and longer term impact of transdisciplinary collaborations on climate-resilient development. Undertaken in collaboration with researchers and practitioners from the Red Cross Climate Centre (Netherlands), the International Development Research Centre (Canada), Climate and Development Knowledge Network (South Africa), and St. Francis Xavier University (Canada). 

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant (2019-2022); Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) Nouveau Chercheur Grant (2018- 2021)


Principal Investigator: Education in sustainability transitions: Re-imagining the contribution of educational research, pedagogy and policy

Global sustainability challenges, particularly the climate crisis, are urgent concerns for this and future generations, yet they remain peripheral to much educational pedagogy, policy, and research. This lack of meaningful engagement, scholars argue, highlights the need to rethink how educational leadership and pedagogy should be supporting transitions to a more just and sustainable future. This award will help to initiate faculty-wide dialogue on these concerns and serve as a foundation for change. We will critically examine how the teaching and learning models we adopt and promote might advance new models of leadership and partnership for pursuing sustainability education as a central element to our practice.

Funding: McGill Faculty of Education Research Innovation Award (2020)


Principal Investigator: Network-building in sustainability research: A study of the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative's practices and outcomes (2019-2020)

This 18-month study will map the evolution of the transdisciplinary research network convened through the MSSI. It will study the impact of facilitation practices used by the Initiative on researcher engagement, and aim to understand the drivers of emerging research impacts. (Funding: McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative)


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)


Co-Applicant (with Kayla Johnson & Joe Levitan at McGill): The Critical Issues Summit: Engaging and Empowering Students to be Global Change Agents (2018-2020)  Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Engage Grant.


Selected publications: 

Peer reviewed journal articles

Huang, Y.S., Harvey, B., Asghar, A. (2021). Bureaucratic exercise? Education for sustainable development in Taiwan through the stories of policy implementers. Environmental Education Research.(https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2021.1926431)

Huang, Y.S., Harvey, B. (2021). Beyond Indicators and Success Stories: An Emerging Method to Assess Social Learning in Large-scale Climate Adaptation Programs. Frontiers in Sociology. (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoc.2021.649946/)

Schipper, E.L.F, Ensor, J., Mukherji, A., Mirzabaev, A., Fraser, A., Harvey, B., Totin, E., Garschagen, M., Pathak, M., Antwi-Agyei, P., Tanner, T., Shawoo, Z. (2021). Equity in climate scholarship: a manifesto for action. Climate and Development. (https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2021.1923308)

Harvey, B., Huang, Y.S., Araujo, J., Vincent, K., Roux, J.P., Visman, E. (2021). Mobilizing climate information for decision-making in Africa: A review of stakeholder engagement and knowledge brokering strategies from large-scale research initiatives. Frontiers in Climate. (doi:10.3389/fclim.2020.589282/)

Nightingale, A.J., Eriksen, S., Taylor, M., Forsyth, T., Pelling, M., Newsham, A., Boyd, E., Brown, K., Harvey, B., Jones L., Bezner Kerr, R., Mehta, L., Naess, L.O., Ockwell, D., Scoones, I., Tanner, T. Thompson, J., Whitfield, S. (2020). Beyond Technical Fixes: Climate solutions and the great derangement. Climate and Development. (doi:10.1080/17565529.2019.1624495)

Smith, K., Pearson, M., Allen, W. Barwick, M., Farrell, C., Hardy, M., Harvey, B., Kothari, A., Neal, Z., Pellini, A. (2019). Building and diversifying our interdisciplinary giants: Moving scholarship on evidence and policy forward. Evidence and Policy. 15(4). (doi.org/10.1332/174426419X15705227786110)

Harvey, B., Jones, L., Cochrane, L. & Singh, R. (2019). The evolving landscape of climate services in sub-Saharan Africa: NGO contributions to system change. Climatic Change. (doi: 10.1007/s10584-019-02410-z)

Buffardi, A., Harvey, B. & Pasanen, T. (2019). ‘Learning partners’: Overcoming the collective action dilemma of inter-organisational knowledge generation and sharing? Development in Practice. (doi: 10.1080/09614524.2018.1550052)

Harvey, B., L. Cochrane, M. Van Epp (2019). Charting knowledge co-production pathways in climate and development. Environmental Policy and Governance. (https://doi.org/10.1002/eet.1834)

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 (2019). 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 (doi:10.4337/9781786432520.00014

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: http://niccd.org/Book_ICCD_Case_Evidence.pdf

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

Omelon, S., Harvey, B. Gonzales, A. (2020, October 15). “How can sustainability research be translated into real-world changes?” https://giving.mcgill.ca/all-stories/how-can-sustainability-research-be-translated-real-world-changes

Harvey, B. (2020, October 13). “Systemic Action Research with Dr. Blane Harvey.” The Action Research Podcast. https://the-action-research-pod.captivate.fm/episode/episode-5-blane-systemic-action-research

Harvey, B. (2020, October 13). “Review, rejection and moving forward.” STARTcast. https://start.org/news/listen-to-the-startcast/

Harvey, B., Sprowls, E. & Huang, Y.S. (2020, May 12) "School-community gardens plant the seeds of change to address global warming." The Conversation.

Harvey, B. (2020, January 27) “Preparing our students for climate change” Interview for the Elias Makos Show, CJAD 800 Radio, Montreal.

Harvey, B., Starr, L. & Levitan, J. (2020, January 21) “Preparing our students for the climate future.” Montreal Gazette.

Schwartz, S. (2019, August 3) "An eco-friendly vision for business, from eyeglasses to toothbrushes." Montreal Gazette.

Harvey, B., L. Jones, L. Cochrane & R. Singh (2019, April 13) "NGOs are shaking up climate services in Africa. Should we be worried?" Thompson Reuters Foundation News.  

Ellis, T. (2018, Dec 10) "McGill Sustainability Faculty Feature: Professor Blane Harvey." McGill Sustainability.

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.



Harvey, B. & Huang, Y.-S. (2021, June). “Stories of change as a tool for collective learning.Paper and panel co-chair for the panel Re-storying Climate Change Narratives at the Canadian Association for Studies in International Development 2020 Conference, London, Canada. Virtual.

Huang, Y.-S., Harvey, B. (2021, June). Beyond indicators and success stories: An emerging method to assess social learning in large-scale climate adaptation programs. Paper presented at the Transformations 2021 conference. Virtual.

Huang, Y.-S., Leite, S.*, Sprowls, E.*, Harvey, B. (2021, April). Reflexivity as social responsibility in Environment & Sustainability Education (ESE) research. Paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) 2021 conference (highlighted session). Virtual.

Loomer, B., Harvey, B., Sprowls, E. (2021, February). “Harvesting knowledge and food: School-community gardens in Quebec.” Presentation at the 2021 LCEEQ Conference: Global Commitment, Local Action. Virtual.

Golhasany, H. & Harvey, B. (2020, November). “Capacities for supporting knowledge mobilization: A review of scope, audience and level.” Paper presented at the 2020 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum. Virtual.

Harvey, B., Chestnutt, H. and Essa, S. (2020). “Collaboration in higher education: Transdisciplinary networks for sustainability researchers.” Canadian Society for the Study of Education 2020 Conference, London, Canada. [Cancelled due to COVID-19]

Roberts, E., Harvey, B., Huq, S., Nalau, J., Pelling, M., Tanner, T. & van der Geest, K. (2020). Leadership: Cultivating transformation in a changing world. Paper and interactive dialogue accepted for the Adaptation Futures 2020 Conference, New Delhi, India. [Cancelled due to COVID-19]

Huang, Y.-S., Harvey, B., Araujo, J. (2020). “Understanding the contribution of social learning to transdisciplinary collaboration on climate research: The case of Future Climate for Africa (FCFA)”. Adaptation Futures 2020 Conference, New Delhi, India. [Cancelled due to COVID-19]

Huang, Y.-S., Sprowls, E., Harvey, B. (2020). “Action research and education for sustainable futures”. Paper accepted for presentation in Karrow, D., & Digiuseppe, M. (Chairs), Canadian Perspectives on Environmental and Sustainability Education in Teacher Education: Establishing a Research Community. 2020 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference, San Francisco, California. [Cancelled due to COVID-19]

Harvey, B., Chestnutt, H. and Essa, S.* (2020, February). “Transdisciplinary collaboration on sustainability challenges: Toward new approaches for higher education institutions.” Paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society 2020 Virtual Conference. Miami, Florida. 

Harvey, B., Huang, Y.-S. (2019, October). Learning our way out of global challenges: How might social learning strengthen transdisciplinary collaboration towards the SDGs?. The Sustainability: Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice, and Action (STTPA) Conference. University of Toronto, Canada.

Huang, Y.-S., Harvey, B. (2019, October). What would a just and sustainable society look like? A participatory scenario development approach to Education for Sustainable Development. The Sustainability: Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice, and Action (STTPA) Conference. University of Toronto, Canada.

Harvey, B. (2019, June). Learning our way out of complex global challenges? Action learning for collective action in the climate crisis. Paper presented and session chaired at the 7th Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) Conference. Montreal, Quebec.

Harvey, B. (2019, May). Learning in and from transdisciplinary practice: Navigating the research-to-practice interface across scales. Paper and interactive session at the 2019 European Conference on Climate Adaptation. Lisbon, Portugal.

Harvey, B. & Cook, C. (2019, May). Knowledge resources for national climate action: An analysis of developing country needs and perspectives. Poster presentation at the 2019 European Conference on Climate Adaptation. Lisbon, Portugal.

Harvey, B. (2019, February). “Learning our way through complex global challenges? Facilitated learning in transdisciplinary research collaborations.” Paper presented at the Leverage Points 2019 international conference on sustainability research and transformations. Leuphana, Germany.

Huang, Y.S. & Harvey, B. (2018, September). “Examining the implementation of Taiwan’s Environmental Education Policy through the voice of the Certified Specialist Educators.Paper presented at the 2ndKLASICA Symposium: Social dynamics toward sustainable futures from narratives of vision and identity. Taipei, Taiwan.

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 at 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 presented 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 presented 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 presented at the 2018 Canadian Society for the Study of Education conference. Regina, Canada.

Graduate supervision: 


Stephanie Leite, PhD in Educational Studies, McGill University (2020-present)

Maxime Goulet-Langlois, PhD in Educational Studies, McGill University (2020-present, co-supervised with Naomi Nichols, Trent University)

Emily Sprowls, PhD in Educational Studies, McGill University (2019-present, co-supervised with Allison Gonsalves)

Paul Meighan, PhD in Educational Studies, McGill University (2019-present, co-supervised with Mela Sarkar)

Hamid Golhasany, PhD in Educational Studies, McGill University (2019-present)

Ryan Deuel, PhD in Educational Studies, McGill University (2018-present)



Thesis Supervisor, Salma Tihani, MA in Educational Studies, McGill University (2020-present)

Thesis Supervisor, Bernadine Sengalrayan, MA in Educational Studies, McGill University (2019-present)

Thesis Supervisor, Rubin McNeely, MA in Educational Leadership, McGill University (2018-present)

Thesis Supervisor, Shaemaa Essa, MA in Educational Leadership, McGill University (2018-present)

Project Supervisor, Alexia Chechile, MA in Educational Leadership, McGill University (2018-Complete)

Project Supervisor, Anthony Di Dimozio, MA in Educational Leadership, McGill University (2018-Complete)

Thesis Supervisor, Peter Papadeas, MA in Educational Leadership, McGill University (2017-Complete)

Professional activities: 

Associate Editor, Climate and Development Journal

Associate Editor, Evidence and Policy Journal

Editorial Board, Springer Nature Social Sciences

Member, Canadian Association for Studies in International Development

Member, Canadian Society for the Study of Education

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