Research group CoPSEL

Communication, Participation & Social-Ecological learning (CoPSEL)

Transition processes for sustainable futures

Contemporary transitions responding to climate change, biodiversity loss and resource scarcity  require shared visions on a sustainable future.

The research group Communication, Participation & Social-Ecological learning (CoPSEL) aims to contribute to transition processes for sustainable futures by exploring processes of communication, participation and social-ecological learning in regional, national and international contexts. The recent advice on the role of the central government in the transition to a sustainable economy of the Council for Environment and Infrastructure refers to this in the recommendation formulated as “Transitions require a coherent future vision on a sustainable society despite the uncertainty on how this future will develop”.

This recommendation emphasises the relevance of a multi-stakeholder and system approach while working on assigned responsibilities in which short term interests and prevailing paradigms conflict with long term ambitions, ‘social-imaginaries’ and desirable governance practices.

The group works in arenas of knowledge co-creation, participatory and deliberative governance focusing on projects and partnerships that takes place in configurations such as living labs where the private sector, civil society, knowledge institutions and the government collaborate. Applying a perspective of experience capitalisation highlights the interest of the group to document and share outcomes of value creation in citizen, professional and academic spaces. The research group has a specific expertise in the field of visual learning strategies, serious gaming and developing Living Labs.

A transdisciplinary and cross cutting research group

CoPSEL is positioned in the Applied Research Centre of Delta Areas and Resources (ARC DAR) and cooperates with the diverse professorships of ARC DAR and ARC Food and Dairy.

The research group works with diverse VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) bachelor (LWM, MLO, CZM, IDM, BNB ) and master programmes (MoD, APCM, IDCM and RDD).

If you would like to know more about (the projects of) the research group contact Loes Witteveen (lead researcher) via [email protected] or Jan Fliervoet (project manager) via [email protected] or with the lecturer – researcher of the educational programs:

  • Judith Santegoets (ML, FNM)
  • Leonoor Akkermans (IDM)
  • Pleun van Arensbergen (MoD)
  • Marcel Rompelman (LWM)
  • Karen Tuason (APCM)
  • Ben ter Mull (T&L)
  • Brechtje Horsten (T&L)
  • Annelies Heijmans (RDD)

Living Lab Upper Citarum

Suara Citarum

Creative strategies and public participation as convincing strategies in the (re)configuration of Living Labs; Exploring 21st century skills in complex multi stakeholder situations’

Mayangsari, A. Isamil, B. Maulana, M. N. Alam, D. Roosmini, S. Septiana, F. Laila, D. Mahandayani, H. Ardhani, L. Witteveen and T. Botden, "Suara Citarum. Citarum Voices. Telkom University. ITB. VHL University," (2018). [Online]. Available:

Copsel on the water

Living Lab Delta Oost

Sustainable Development Goals in the municipality of Rheden

Loes Witteveen, Jeroen Rijke, Pleun van Arensbergen (eds) 2019. Sustainable Development Goals in the municipality of Rheden: local perspectives on global goals. Sustainable River Management and Communication, Participation and Social-Ecological Learning. VHL.

VPA Rijntakken

VPA Rijntakken ‘The Making of’ 

VPA Rijntakken trailer

Living Lab Enrekang

Nurdahalia Lairing, Loes Witteveen and Elske van de Fliert. 2019. Assessing the Potential for a Digital Farmer Field School supporting local innovation in the Coffee Value Chain in Enrekang District, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Paper presented at the at IAMCR 2019 conference in Madrid, Spain, July 7-11, 2019


Co-creatieve rivierlandschappen, Smits, Straatsma, Fliervoet

Witteveen, Loes., Jacomien den Boer. River Flows – An Artistic Approach Towards Community Resilience, Participation and Social Learning in Natural Resources Management. 2018. Chapter in Nico Carpentier (ed.) (2019) Respublika! Experiments in the performance of participation and democracy. Limassol: Neme

Witteveen L., Lie R. (2019) Visual Communication and Social Change. In: Servaes J. (eds) Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change. Springer, Singapore doi:10.1007/978-981-10-7035-8_55-1

The Philippines VPA Climate Change Adaptation

In cooperation with the professorship Circular Economy and Water Resources Management. Local approaches to supporting agricultural productivity and managing impacts of climate variability and change in indigenous communities in Aurora Province, Philippines. VPA Climate Change Adaptation Philippines. A partnership with  Reading University (UK)

Copsel presentation

India VPA Kerala’s Coast 2.0

In cooperation with the professorship Sustainable River Management, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS). India and TU Delft.

Preconference activity of the AQUBE conference 2019:


Witteveen, L., Lie, R. (2018) Visual Problem Appraisal. An educational package, which uses filmed narratives. In S. Griffith, M. Bliemel & K. Carruthers. Visual tools for developing student capacity for cross-disciplinary collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship. & A. Rourke and V. Rees (Series Curators), Transformative Pedagogies in the Visual Domain: Book No. 6. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Research Networks.