Dreaming Forward (talk at Utrecht Winter School on Earth System Governance)

I’m delighted to take part in the Utrecht Winter School on Earth System Governance next week.

The 2018 Utrecht Winter School on Earth System Governance is designed to function as an incubator for early career researchers working with the new earth system governance research agenda. The aim is to critically reflect on the new research agenda and start taking it forward by facilitating early career researchers’ work connected to this agenda.

I’ll be speaking on a very exciting panel titled Anticipation and Imagination alongside Joost Vervoort (who’s also one of the Winter School’s academic directors), Maarten Hajer, and Aarti Gupta.

My talk is a first attempt to articulate what I find to be an important challenge for critical designers: making connections between the imagination as a faculty of the individual, and the more collective, social imaginaries. Here’s the abstract:

Dreaming forward: from the designerly imagination to social and political imaginaries.
Design is synonymous with the imagination. Designers imagine new products, new services, and new environments, how these could be used and by whom, and how they may lead to new, lucrative markets. Design is also quintessentially future-oriented. Designers appeal to the future as a means by which to concretize and test their ideas, effectively approaching the future as a container for innovation. But what happens when the designerly imagination takes social issues as its object? How are designers implicated in future-making or worldmaking, and how may the designerly imagination influence the more collective, social imaginaries? The talk charts initial answers to these questions by surveying the intersection of design, futures, and the imagination.


(Gustave Courbet, Paysage de Mer, 1869)

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