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Working across and past traditional disciplines, the Regenerative Futures Lab (rLab) is a student-centered project providing participants with hands-on opportunities to explore and design a regenerative future beyond the human and ecological catastrophes generated by modern economies.

Initially developed by the Transformative Systems Project (TSP), a self-organized student group on campus, rLab provides funding for several teams of students to search for paradigm-shifting, regenerative answers to specific topical areas that will differ each year. The topical focus for the Spring semester of 2023 was “Building a Happy City.” The focus for the 2023–2024 academic year is “Debt – What We Owe to Each Other.”

With the support of faculty and the Kenan Institute for Ethics, students in rLab actively seek collaborations and input from experts in the field, faculty, and outside organizations in a process that aims to generate non-extractive and reciprocal relationships between cohort members and the world around them.

Toward the end of each academic year, rLab organizes a regenerative future symposium, bringing to campus some of the most creative thinkers and doers on the thematic topic of the respective year.

Read about rLab’s 2023 research

Durham team

Team members of the “citySLAY” Team pose in front of their pop-up exhibit, which imagines Durham as a regenerative city. From left to right: Leo Sanabria, Kyle MacLellan, Surya Cannon, Coral Lin, and Jason Kreinberg.

Green team pres

Members of the “Green Team” present on the topic of food insecurity. From left to right: Kerinna Good, Emely Arredondo.

Food Insecurity Team

Aaron Lam, a member of rLab’s “Green Team,” speaks on the systemic causes of food insecurity and possibilities for change.

citySLAY pres

Members of the “citySLAY team” answer audience questions during a discussion. From left to right: Leo Sanabria, Coral Lin.

citySLAY pres

The “citySLAY team” invited the audience to view their pop-up exhibit.

Central Campus model

The team’s model of Central Campus includes apartments for students and a multi-use building for small businesses.

DurhamCity presentation

“In a lot of Durham, the biggest nearby green space was a cemetery,” said Jason Kreinberg. “How can we rethink them so that we’re using land in a way that’s more invigorating to daily life?”

Members

Creating something new with the tools of the old does not work. Our current systems are failing us — that is easy to see. But what might a new, better system look like?

Applications are now open for the 2023 Regenerative Futures Lab (rLab) sponsored by Kenan Institute for Ethics, Trinity College, and the Transformative Systems Project. Each semester, rLab will provide funding for several teams of students to search for paradigm shifting, regenerative answers to specific topical areas that will differ each year. The topical focus for the academic year 2023/24 is Debt — What We Owe to Each Other.

The Regenerative Futures Lab is a student-led research and action lab leveraging Duke’s resources to shift towards a regenerative economy. Students will work in teams of 5-6 to produce original results in the field of regenerative economics, policy, and activism. Both product and process of the students’ work will involve traditional and nontraditional pathways and final product components. The purpose of both product and process is to advance a regenerative future.

All teams will receive support from the director of rLab and the Kenan Institute, and will actively seek collaborations and input from experts in the field, faculty, and outside organizations. This process aims to generate non-extractive relationships between cohort members and the world around them as an essential part of breaking down exploitative constructs of work and community.

This lab is for students who sense that something is fundamentally wrong with the system in which we live — and that we study to become part of. Our aim is to empower such students to think beyond mainstream/dominant paradigms and towards a future that centers wellbeing, reciprocity, safety, and justice.

Application Deadline: August 28, 2023, midnight (there will be an additional application deadline for Spring 2024 applications)

Program Dates: September 5 – December 8, 2023; January 19 – April 24, 2024

Eligibility: Duke Undergraduate Student

Commitment/Expectation: All students will take part in a weekend workshop on regenerative economy hosted by the lab and explore possible subtopics before the lab meetings start. Students are expected to devote 6-8 hours a week to rLab. This time is split between lab/cohort meetings, independent research, and related events tied to the lab.

Award: One-time stipend of $1,200 per semester

Application Requirements:

  1. 100-200 words on (a) background (if applicable) in regenerative/transformative thinking and work; (b) specific interest/focus on a post-capitalist or post-growth or post-colonial or post-extractivist future
  2. 100-200 words in response to:  “If I could wave a magic wand, what 2 or 3 major changes in the world would I propose?”
  3. 100-200 words on why you would like to join the lab
  4. A short essay on something you have done that you’re most proud of
  5. Indicate whether you have (1) taken a transformative course (such as wellbeing/care/feminist economics; post-colonial realities; indigenous narratives, etc); (2) been a member of TSP; (3) engaged in organizing or research efforts with a transformative systems groups and/or scholar (such as wellbeing or care econ, post-growth, BLM/Extinction Rebellion/Fridays for Future etc)  – none of the above in any way represent requirements

Click here to apply

Building a Happy City in rLab

Application Deadline: January 6, 2023

Creating something new with the tools of the old does not work. Our current systems are failing us—that is easy to see. But what might a new, better system look like?

Applications are now open for the 2022 Regenerative Futures Lab (rLab) sponsored by Kenan Institute for Ethics, Trinity College, and the Transformative Systems Project. Each semester, rLab will provide funding for several teams of students to search for paradigm shifting, regenerative answers to specific topical areas that will differ each year. The topical focus for the Spring semester of 2023 is Building a Happy City.

The Regenerative Futures Lab is a student-led research and action lab leveraging Duke’s resources to shift towards a regenerative economy. Students will work in teams of 4 to produce original results in the field of regenerative economics, policy, and activism. Both product and process of the students’ work will involve traditional and nontraditional pathways and final product components. The purpose of both product and process is to advance a regenerative future.

All teams will receive support from the director of rLab and the Kenan Institute, and will actively seek collaborations and input from experts in the field, faculty, and outside organizations. This process aims to generate non-extractive relationships between cohort members and the world around them as an essential part of breaking down exploitative constructs of work and community.

This lab is for students who sense that something is fundamentally wrong with the system in which we live—and that we study to become part of. Our aim is to empower such students to think beyond neoliberal paradigms and towards a future that centers wellbeing, reciprocity, safety, and justice.

Program Dates: January 22 – April 23, 2023

Eligibility: Duke Undergraduate Students

Commitment/Expectation:

All students will take part in a weekend workshop on regenerative economy hosted by the lab and explore possible subtopics before the lab meetings start. Students are expected to work 5-8 hours a week. This time is split between lab/cohort meetings, independent research, and related events tied to the lab.
Award: Students will be paid $16 per hour.

Application Requirements:
1. 100-200 words on (a) background (if applicable) in regenerative/transformative thinking and work; (b) specific interest/focus on a post-capitalist or post-growth or post-colonial or post-extractivist future
2. What unique perspectives or experiences do you bring to this work?
3. 100-200 words in response to: “If I could wave a magic wand, what 2 or 3 major changes in the world would I propose?”
4. 100-200 words on why you would like to join rLab

To apply, please fill out this Qualtrics form, which will prompt you to respond to the above questions, by midnight on Friday, January 6th, 2023.