Enacting Futures in Postnormal Times


This article describes FoAM’s transdisciplinary, participatory approach to experiential futures. We introduce several practices with a primary focus on “prehearsals” and “pre-enactments”, interactive, immersive situations where participants can experience futures in the present at human scale. We explore aptitudes and techniques that are inclusive of multiple ways of knowing and learning, in order to probe futures from different perspectives, as well as foster engagement and commitment amongst diverse groups of people. We discuss why working with futures is particularly relevant in times of social and environmental turbulence and suggest that a more widespread futures literacy can increase agency in uncertain conditions. We focus on “future preparedness” and “inhabiting uncertainty” as mindsets to be developed alongside a futures practice through experiential learning, using techniques from improvisation, play and meditation. We investigate how experiential futures can extend the field by looking at embodied, multi-modal, holistic explorations of futures. We provide examples of FoAM’s recent works to illustrate our experimental approach to futures, aiming to bridge the gap between future visions and the uncertainty of everyday life.

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Preprint (draft) version on the Libarynth: http://lib.fo.am/enacting_futures_in_postnormal_times