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Dr Andrea Berardi

Picture of Andrea Berardi

Profile summary

Professional biography

Andrea Berardi has more than 20 years experience in teaching, researching and building capacity for enabling sustainable communities. After achieving a number of qualifications in ecology (BSc), nature conservation (MSc) and environmental science (PhD), he has taught at the London School of Economics, University College London, Royal Holloway, and The Open University. His work has engaged communities from the Borneo and Amazonian rainforests; the floodplains of the Mekong and the Guianas; the savannas of East Africa and Latin America; and the coastal regions of southern Italy and Wales.
His main interests lie in facilitating grass roots approaches to ecological sustainability and social justice using an action learning process. The aim is to enable communities to collaboratively learn from their own practical experiences using local resources (rather than being told what to do from "experts" or relying on external support).
Andrea currently lives in Englefield Green, Surrey, with his wife and two children. Apart from working full-time as a lecturer for the Open University, he also tries to walk his talk through growing vegetables on several allotments, keeping hens, managing a woodland, having a low consumption lifestyle and participating in a range of activities locally and in support of the UK Green Party, CND, Amnesty International, and Greenpeace. 

Research interests

Andrea is a co-investigator on Project COBRA, a €1.9 million research project funded by the European Union.  COBRA is researching ways to integrate community solutions within policies addressing escalating social, economic and environmental crises, through accessible information and communication technologies.

The aim of Project COBRA is to empower communities by building their own capacity so that they can:

- Surface current and emerging challenges;
- Identify their own solutions to these challenges;
- Record these solutions using visual technologies;
- Share their results with other communities;
- Implementing best practices from other communities.
- Demand that policymakers support community owned solutions.
Andrea has co-authored a Practitioner Handbook in order to allow other facilitators to build capacity within communities so that communities members themselves can identify and share their own solutions to current and emerging challenges.

Teaching interests

Andrea is a member of the following module teams at the OU:

Andrea has also taught as a visiting lecturer at a number of institutions around the theme of holistic thinking and sustainability.


Impact and engagement

Andrea was The Open University's academic adviser for BBC2's 'I Bought a Rainforest' documentary series first broadcast in June 2014.

External collaborations

Andrea is external examiner for Schumacher College's MSc in Holistic Science.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Open Systems Research GroupGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology


Externally funded projects

Developing a community-based mental health improvement programme in Guyana through inter-disciplinary participatory action research
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Feb 201931 Aug 2020BRITAC British Academy

In August 2018 a week long scoping exercise assessed the mental health training needs of multi-disciplinary health practitioners in Guyana. From this, we developed an innovative research strategy and commitment to develop a community-based mental health improvement programme capable of being adopted by Guyana and other Low- and Middle-Income Countries with similar socio-economic conditions. Our approach focuses on promoting community mental health resilience through participatory digital technologies that build on The Open University’s global leadership role in distance learning. The research and development phases will address embedded cultural attitudes and norms that frequently prevent healthcare practitioners implementing successful and sustainable interventions in such environments, while promoting existing positive practices. Our research will: 1. Establish a baseline of social, environmental and mental health status within three case study communities; 2. Co-design with community members, practitioners and agencies a capacity building programme for community-based mental health improvement in readiness for a period of engagement within the three case study communities focusing on improving mental health resilience through our ‘community owned solutions’ approach. 3. Support, through a process of action research, the practitioners as they apply and evaluate the resilience/‘community owned solutions’ approach within the case study communities, and monitor intervention impact with respect to baseline state. 4. Apply lessons learnt to strengthen the practitioner capacity building programme for major out scaling within Guyana (through the University of Guyana's BSc in Mental Health Nursing) and in other LMICs. By aiming to establish a BSc honours degree in Mental Health Nursing as an outcome the project, we have a clear exit strategy for our research which will enthuse and motivate engagement across Government, Public Health and Education sectors. It will build on and develop existing practices to create a pathway towards the aspiration that will excite both innovation and education amongst practitioners and policy formers.


Sharing Multiple Perspectives on Burning: Towards a Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Policy in Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana (2019-09)
Bilbao, Bibiana; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Millán, Adriana and Berardi, Andrea
Fire, 2, Article 39(3)

Teaching Environmental Management Competencies Online: Towards “Authentic” Collaboration? (2017)
Bell, Simon; Lane, Andy; Collins, Kevin; Berardi, Andrea and Slater, Rachel
European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 20(1) (pp. 22-44)

Why are we doing it? Exploring participant motivations within a participatory video project (2016-12)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Bignante, Elisa and Berardi, Andrea
Area, 48(4) (pp. 412-418)

Feeling and acting ‘different’ emotions and shifting self-perceptions whilst facilitating a participatory video process (2016-11)
Bignante, Elisa; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea and Tschirhart, Céline
Emotion, Space and Society, 21 (pp. 5-12)

Bridging indigenous and scientific knowledge (2016-06-10)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi and Berardi, Andrea
Science, 352(6291) (pp. 1274-1275)

Community owned solutions for fire management in tropical ecosystems: case studies from Indigenous communities of South America (2016-05-23)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Bilbao, Bibiana and Berardi, Andrea
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371, Article 20150174(1696)

Book review of 'Amazonian Roots: Indigenous Mobility and Colonial Communities in Northern Brazil' by Roller, Heather (2016-04-01)
Berardi, Andrea
Bulletin of Latin American Research, 35(2) (pp. 250-252)

Learning from one another: evaluating the impact of horizontal knowledge exchange for environmental management and governance (2016)
Tschirhart, Céline; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Bignante, Elisa; Simpson, Matthew; Haynes, Lakeram; Benjamin, Ryan; Albert, Grace; Xavier, Rebecca; Robertson, Bernie; Davis, Odacy; Verwer, Caspar; de Ville, Géraud and Jafferally, Deirdre
Ecology and Society, 21, Article 41(2)

Community owned solutions: identifying local best practices for social-ecological sustainability (2016)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Tschirhart, Céline; Bignante, Elisa; Haynes, Lakeram; Benjamin, Ryan; Albert, Grace; Xavier, Rebecca; Robertson, Bernie; Davis, Odacy; Jafferally, Deirdre and de Ville, Géraud
Ecology and Society, 21, Article 42(2)

Indigenous identity and environmental governance in Guyana, South America (2015-10-01)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Tschirhart, Céline; Bignante, Elisa; Haynes, Lakeram; Benjamin, Ryan; Albert, Grace; Xavier, Rebecca; Jafferally, Deirdre and de Ville, Géraud
Cultural Geographies, 22(4) (pp. 689-712)

Between a rock and a hard place: ethical dilemmas of local community facilitators doing participatory research projects (2015-05)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Bignante, Elisa and Tschirhart, Céline
Geoforum, 61 (pp. 27-35)

Applying the system viability framework for cross-scalar governance of nested social-ecological systems in the Guiana Shield, South America (2015)
Berardi, Andrea; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Tschirhart, Céline; Bignante, Elisa; Davis, Odacy; Haynes, Lakeram; Benjamin, Ryan; Albert, Grace; Xavier, Rebecca; Jafferally, Deirdre and de Ville, Géraud
Ecology and Society, 20, Article 42(3)

Our common future? Cross-scalar scenario analysis for social–ecological sustainability of the Guiana Shield, South America (2014-12)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Tschirhart, Céline; Verwer, Caspar; Glastra, Rob; Davis, Odacy; Jafferally, Deirdre; Haynes, Lakeram; Benjamin, Ryan; Albert, Grace; Xavier, Rebecca; Bovolo, Isabella and Berardi, Andrea
Environmental Science & Policy, 44 (pp. 126-148)

The role of social memory in natural resource management: insights from participatory video (2014-01)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Haynes, Lakeram; Davis, Delano; Xavier, Rebecca and Andries, Johnny
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 39(1) (pp. 115-127)

From resilience to viability: a case study of indigenous communities of the North Rupununi, Guyana (2013-07-10)
Berardi, Andrea; Tschirhart, Céline; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Bignante, Elisa; Haynes, Lakeram; Albert, Grace; Benjamin, Ryan; Xavier, Rebecca and Jafferally, Deirdre

The challenges and opportunities of participatory video in geographical research: exploring collaboration with indigenous communities in the North Rupununi, Guyana (2012-03)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi and Berardi, Andrea
Area, 44(1) (pp. 110-116)

Capacity building for adaptive management: a problem-based learning approach (2011)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Roopsind, Indranee; Davis, Odacy; Haynes, Lakeram; Davis, Orville and Simpson, Matthew
Development in Practice, 21(2) (pp. 190-204)

The challenges of transformational learning at a distance: a year in the life of an Open University learning unit on the environment (2011)
Berardi, Andrea
Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LATHE)(5) (pp. 135-142)

Using a systems viability approach to evaluate integrated conservation and development projects: assessing the impact of the North Rupununi Adaptive Management Process, Guyana (2010-09)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Simpson, Matthew; Davis, Odacy and Haynes, Lakeram
The Geographical Journal, 176(3) (pp. 241-252)

Skills at Master's level in Geography higher education: teaching, learning and applying (2009-07)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; White, Fiona and Berardi, Andrea
Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 33(1) (pp. 123-148)

Natural resource management and development discourses in the Caribbean: reflections on the Guyanese and Jamaican experience (2009-07)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea and McGregor, Duncan
Third World Quarterly, 30(5) (pp. 969-989)

Critical reflections on practice: the changing roles of three physical geographers carrying out research in a developing country (2009)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea and Simpson, Matthew
Area, 41(1) (pp. 82-93)

Birds as indicators of wetland status and change in the North Rupununi, Guyana (2008-09)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea and Simpson, Matthew
Biodiversity and Conservation, 17(10) (pp. 2383-2409)

Teaching geography for social transformation (2006-03)
Wellens, Jane; Berardi, Andrea; Chalkey, Brian; Chambers, Bill; Healey, Ruth; Monk, Janice and Vender, Jodi
Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 30(1) (pp. 117-131)

Book Review: Handbook of ecological indicators for assessment of ecosystem health, edited by S. E. Jørgensen, R. Costanza and F.-L. Xu. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, and London, 2005. ISBN 1 56670 665 3, xviii+439 pp (2006-03)
Berardi, Andrea
Land Degradation and Development, 17(2) (233 -233)

Assessing fire potential in a Brazilian savanna nature reserve (2005-09-01)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi and Berardi, Andrea
Biotropica, 37(3) (pp. 439-451)

Indigenous fire management in the cerrado of Brazil: the case of the Kraho of Tocantٍins (2005-06)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Berardi, Andrea; Andrade, Valeria; Kraho, Txicapro; Kraho, Phocrok and Leonardos, Othon
Human Ecology, 33(3) (pp. 365-386)

Effects of phorophyte determinants on lichen abundance in the cerrado of central Brazil (2005-05)
Mistry, J. and Berardi, A.
Plant Ecology, 178(1) (pp. 61-76)

Exploring the links between natural resource use and biophysical status in the waterways of the North Rupununi, Guyana (2004-09)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Simpson, Matthews; Berardi, Andrea and Sandy, Yung
Journal of Environmental Management, 72(3) (pp. 117-131)

ASTROMOD: a computer program integrating vegetation dynamics modelling, environmental modelling and spatial data visualisation in Microsoft Excel (2002)
Berardi, Andrea
Environmental Modelling and Software, 17(4) (pp. 403-412)

Savannas and dry forests: linking people with nature (2006-03)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi and Berardi, Andrea
ISBN : 075464507X | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : UK

Using visual approaches with Indigenous communities (2017-09-06)
Berardi, Andrea; Mistry, Jay; Haynes, Lakeram; Jafferally, Deidre; Bignante, Elisa; Albert, Grace; Xavier, Rebecca; Benjamin, Ryan and de Ville, Geraud
In: Oreszczyn, Sue and Lane, Andy eds. Mapping environmental sustainability: reflecting on systemic practices for participatory research (pp. 103-128)
ISBN : 978-1447331575 | Publisher : Policy Press | Published : Bristol

Experimenting with Media Education, Civic Engagement, and Sustainability in Brazilian Schools (2016-12-19)
Bujokas de Siqueira, Alexandra; Berardi, Andrea; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi and Rothberg, Danilo
In: Robinson, Laura; Schulz, Jeremy and Dunn, Hopeton S. eds. Communication and Information Technologies Annual: Digital Empowerment: Opportunities and Challenges of Inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. Studies in Media and Communications
ISBN : 978-1-78635-482-2 | Publisher : Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Introduction (2006-03)
Mistry, Jayalaxshmi and Berardi, Andrea
In: Mistry, Jayalaxshmi and Berardi, Andrea eds. Savannas and dry forests: linking people with nature (pp. 1-18)
ISBN : 075464507X | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : UK

A multidisciplinary and participatory research approach in savannas and dry forests (2006-02-28)
Berardi, Andrea and Mistry, Jayalaxshmi
In: Mistry, Jayalaxshmi and Berardi, Andrea eds. Savannas and dry forests: linking people with nature (pp. 265-271)
ISBN : 075464507X | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK

The COBRA Project: a community-based approach to public engagement in science. (2014)
Berardi, Andrea; Mistry, Jay; Tschirhart, Celine; Bignante, Elisa; Haynes, Lakeram and Jafferally, Deirdre
In : 13th International Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference (5-8 May 2014, Salvador, Brazil)

ECOSENSUS: developing collaborative learning systems for stakeholding development in environmental planning (2007-05-02)
Reynolds, Martin; Berardi, Andrea; Bachler, Michelle; Buckingham Shum, Simon; Bernard, Calvin; Mistry, Jay and Ulrich, Werner
In : OU Conference Curriculum, Teaching & Student Support Conference, The Open University (2 May 2007, Milton Keynes, UK)

The ECOSENSUS Project: Co-Evolving Tools, Practices and Open Content for Participatory Natural Resource Management (2006-06)
Berardi, Andrea; Bachler, Michelle; Bernard, Calvin; Buckingham Shum, Simon; Ganapathy, Savitha; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Reynolds, Martin and Ulrich, Werner
In : Second International Conference on e-Social Science (28-30 Jun 2006, Manchester, UK)

The potential of the GRID for small scale GIS use: a proposal from the UK (2004-09)
Swindell, J; Lee, J and Berardi, Andrea
In : Fourth European GIS Education Seminar (2-5 Sep 2004, Villach, Austria)

How to find and share community owned solutions (2015)
Berardi, Andrea; Bignante, Elisa; Mistry, Jay; Simpson, Matthew; Tschirhart, Céline; Verwer, Caspar and de Ville, Géraud
Cobra Collective