Dr. Iris Kunze, born in 1976, is a researcher and project manager in the field of sustainable lifestyles, community, social innovations and civil society movements since 2001. Coaching & rainings for communal living projects.
My moving path
Moved by the trust that we can live more sustainably and vividly with nature and in our communities, I made a “Voluntary Ecological Year” after graduation in 1995. Anti-nuclear power, anti-car and my first demonstration against climate change in 1995, have caused the more or less real shock, in which many now come into, already 25 years ago. I managed – e.g. through meditation – to expand my sophisticated world view across anti-attitudes and diverse social, economic, and environmental issues to holistic alternatives. In order to learn how to make a difference, I then studied geography, sociology and politics in Münster, was active in many environmental groups, coordinated the nationwide, student ecology work (BSÖ), became a vegetarian, have never owned a car and became aware of so called ecovillages and ‘intentional communities’. I also experimented with integral approaches to the world, research and science – together we founded the Institute for Integral Studies (IFIS) in 2008.
Since 2001, I have been researching eco-communities and social innovation initiatives as experiments for a more sustainable way of life. I am grateful to have repeatedly found opportunities in university research for this unusual topic, and that I was able to pass on my findings in teaching. During this time, I lived not only for several weeks for research, but three times for several years in ecological communities, as co-organizer, co-owner and co-liver (in Soest, the connection media center and Ecovillage Sieben Linden). These experiences have deepened my research findings, which I now again carry into the wider society: 2019 I moved back to Vienna and work mainly at the Austrian Institute for Sustainable Development (ÖIN) through practical research with partners from corporate and municipal sectors. Furthermore, I am actively consulting in the field of sustainability and community life for projects of all kinds.
Stations of my life journey
- 1995-96 Voluntary Ecological Year at the Jugendumweltbüro Oldenburg
- 1996-2003 study of geography, sociology, political science, active in university environmental policy, i.a. Managing Director of the Federal Coordination of Student Ecological Work (BSÖ)
- 1999-2001 life and participation in the ,Live differently Project’ in Soest.
- 2001 to 2011: Development and establishment of joint research at the University of Münster at the chair Prof. Matthias Grundmann (including diploma and doctorate)
- since 2008 co-founder of the Institute for Integral Studies (IFIS), Freiburg
- 2011 to 2013: Post-doc at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) at the Doctoral School Sustainable Development (dokne)
- 2014 to 2019: Research Project Manager at the Center for Global Change and Sustainability (GWN) of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU). Projects: TRANSIT, LiFT, COSIMA.
- 2016 to 2019 live in the ecovillage Sieben Linden, Saxony-Anhalt, e.g. Member of the Board of the cooperative
- since 2019 research manager at the Austrian Institute for Sustainable Development (ÖIN), St.Pölten, AT
Certificates, trainings (selection)
- “Pioneers of change” Further Education year 2018-19
- Collaboratory process facilitator for multistakeholder processes (leadership for transition) (since 2015)
- International Communal Studies Association (ICSA) board member since 2013
- Research coordination Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) (2014-1018).
- Dr. phil. (Geography and Sociology) (since 2009) on “Social Innovations for Sustainable Living. Communities and ecovillages as experimental learning fields for social-ecological sustainability. “
- Geography diploma (since 2003)