Our commitment to teaching


Studying in a Safe and Just Space

Prof. Dr. Susan Thieme, Johanna Paschen, Anja Ruckstuhl and the 76 Bachelor students of the exercise for the lecture "Geographies of Sustainability" 2023 created a doughnut together on "Studying in a Safe and Just Space". Adapted from Kate Raworth's "Doughnut Economics", “Die Donut Ökonomie: Nachhaltigkeit visualisieren, kommunizieren und umsetzen" by the Next Economy Lab and Urai, A. & Kelly, C. (2023). Rethinking academia in a time of climate crisis. eLife, 12:e84991.


Master thesis wins the second SGAG-price 2022

Eileen Schilliger wins second prize in the Swiss Society of Applied Geography (SGAG) Award 2022 with her master's thesis "Koproduktion von Wissen durch Film. Eine filmische Perspektive auf die Lebenswelten von Schafhirt*innen in der Schweiz."

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Susan Thieme, Mirko Winkel

The thesis examined and depicted the living environments and everyday work of three shepherds in Switzerland. The focus of the study was on their personal knowledge and future perspectives. Together with the shepherds, a film was co-produced to make their experiences accessible to a wider audience. On a methodological level, the thesis makes a very important and original contribution by demonstrating the potential of film in geography as a research and communication medium for collaborative transdisciplinary work.

Film 'Wandernde Lebenswelten' (german)


Student Films 'Narrating care-work'

In the context of processes of social-transformation, care activities are increasingly being assigned a central political function. In the everyday life of care and health professionals, implicit forms of knowledge play a major role, which so far have remained underexposed in the scientific debate. The mLAB at the Geographical Institute in Bern and the master’s program in transdisciplinarity at the Zurich University of the Arts have approached the topic of care in a transdisciplinary manner with a new teaching format. Working with film, as a reflective and participatory medium, contributes to a better interweaving of theoretical and practical knowledge and opens up  pportunities for a broad social discussion and reception of ongoing negotiation processes about various dimensions of the care-crisis. In addition, through the audiovisual treatment of the topic, aesthetic-artistic aspects become a central part of knowledge production. The resulting perspectives transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries  and promise to contribute to more inclusive forms of teaching and learning. This article presents this teaching format and critically reflects on the opportunities and challenges involved.

The films were produced as part of the course “Film and Geography”. The course was taught by Mirko Winkel, Luca Tschiderer, Susan Thieme, Irene Vögeli, Nora Longatti, Judith Weidmann and Jana Thierfelder.

More information: https://mlab.unibe.ch/exhibition-care-arbeit-erzaehlbar-machen/

Click here for the student films: https://mlab.unibe.ch/film-geography-work-health-care/


Course 'Film and Geography':

  • Exhibiton of student films
  • Student films
  • Publication reflecting on the course: S. Thieme, I. Vögeli, M. Winkel und L. Tschiderer (2023): Care-Arbeit erzählbar machen – Transdisziplinäre Lehre als Aushandlung zwischen geographischer Forschung und künstlerischer Praxis. (Narrating care-work: negotiating geographical research and artistic practice in transdisciplinary teaching). QuPuG - Journal für Qualitative Forschung in Pflege- und Gesundheitswissenschaft. 1(10): 6-14.

Workshop "Creative Methods in Health Geographies", collaboration with School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford UK, Critical Sustainability Studies and mLab, Institute of Geography at the University of Bern.

Workshop "OUR ONE EARTH HOME: An Embodied Journey of Transformation" - Introduction to the Theatre of Transformation Methodology with Dr. Rama Mani



Winners of the Award for University Teaching 2021 from VGDH

Susan Thieme and Patricia Fry win with their seminar format the award for university teaching 2021 from the VGDH, Association for Geography at German-speaking Universities and Research Institutions (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

The seminar combined the topics sustainability, mobility & train station development and transdisciplinarity. The students learned the transdisciplinary Social Learning Video method (SLV).

In close cooperation with representatives of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and other practical partners, the students gained insight into negotiations on the future role and design of train stations as "mobility hubs", using Olten train station as a case study. These are places where sustainability issues such as access to and use of mobility for population groups, mobility infrastructure and participation in decision-making are negotiated.


  • Thieme, S. & P. Fry (2023). Teaching transdisciplinary competencies for sustainability transformation by co-producing social learning videos. GAIA, Special Issue: Creating Spaces and Cultivating Mindsets for Transdisciplinarity. 32(1), 154-161.
  • Thieme, S., I. Vögeli, M. Winkel, & L. Tschiderer (2023). Care-Arbeit erzählbar machen – Transdisziplinäre Lehre als Aushandlung zwischen geographischer Forschung und künstlerischer Praxis (Narrating care-work: negotiating geographical research and artistic practice in transdisciplinary teaching). QuPuG - Journal für Qualitative Forschung in Pflege- und Gesundheitswissenschaft, 1(10), 6-14.
  • Thieme, S. & P. Fry (2021). Transdisziplinarität praktisch erleben: Prinzipien für die geographische Hochschullehre. In: Wintzer J., I. Moosig & A. Hof (Eds.). Prinzipien, Strukturen und Praktiken geographischer Hochschullehre. Hamburg, UTB. 105-118.
  • Fry, P. & S. Thieme (2021). ‘From the Sage on the Stage to the Guide on the Side’: Studierende als aktive Partner*innen für langfristigen Wissenserwerb. In: Wintzer J., I. Moosig & A. Hof (Eds.). Prinzipien, Strukturen und Praktiken geographischer Hochschullehre. Hamburg: UTB. 275-288.
  • Fry, P., F. Schmid & S. Thieme (2021). 'Social Learning Videos' vermitteln Handlungswissen. Proclim Flash, 74, 10-11. ProClim Forum für Klima und globalen Wandel.
  • Fry, P. & S. Thieme (2019). A Social Learning Video Method: Identifying and Sharing Successful Transformation Knowledge for Sustainable Soil Management in Switzerland. Soil Use and Management, 35(1), 185-194.
  • Thieme, S., Ph. Eyer & A. Vorbrugg (2019). Film VerORTen: Film als Forschungs- und Kommunikationsmedium in der Geographie. Geographica Helvetica, 74(4), 293-297.



Master thesis wins the 2021 Faculty Award

Laura Costea wins with her master thesis the Faculty Award 2021 for the best master thesis in Geography with the title "Migration infrastructure in the context of the Swiss healthcare system: recruitment agencies and their role in compensating for the shortage of physicians"

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Susan Thieme, Dr. des Carole Ammann.

The thesis deals with the dependence of the Swiss health care system on professionals (nursing, physicians) recruited abroad. It analyzes 1. the daily work of agencies recruiting doctors from Romania 2. the field of tension in which these agencies operate on a daily basis. For a long time there has been an increasing demand for personnel in Switzerland and at the same time Switzerland has signed the WHO (World Health Organization) Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, which actually aims at reducing recruitment from abroad. The master thesis makes an important contribution to a differentiated debate on a highly political (and partly politicized) topic about the future of the Swiss healthcare system and the important role of international professionals in the Swiss labor market.


Innovative teaching projects in our unit

Förderung Nachhaltige Entwicklung in der Lehre (FNE), Alexander Vorbrugg, 2020

Titel: Kritische Nachhaltigkeitsforschung aus der Sicht des Globalen Südens und Ostens? Öko-sozialeTheorien und Bewegungen aus situierter Perspektive

Abstract FNE; A. Vorbrugg (2020) (PDF, 75KB)

Förderung Nachhaltige Entwicklung in der Lehre (FNE), Susan Thieme, 2019

Titel: Integration von Migrierenden in den Berner Arbeitsmarkt transdisziplinar gedacht: Social learning Videos als transdisziplinare Methode und Brücke zwischen Forschung und Praxis

Abstract FNE; S. Thieme (2019) (PDF, 75KB)

Förderung Innovative Lehre (FIL), Susan Thieme, 2019

Titel: Inverted classroom und Lehrsprache Englisch: Neukonzipierung Vorlesung „Sustainable Regional Development“, Masters Geographie 

Abstract FIL; S. Thieme (2019) (PDF, 59KB)

Förderung Interdisziplinäre Veranstaltungen (FIV), Susan Thieme, 2018

Titel: Film VerORTen - Film als sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungs- und Kommunikationsmethode

Abstract FIV; S. Thieme (2018) (PDF, 145KB)


Further links to innovative teaching