Project to imagine our future launched

A new collaborative project focusing on how, in what ways, and by whom ‘the future’ is imagined has been launched by The University of Adelaide and the Don Dunstan Foundation.
Many global surveys report that the future is anxiously imagined, especially as we collectively worry about COVID, the economy, and the health of the planet. At the same time, there is much hope for the future when solutions are proposed by experts or when problems seem to abate.
Professor Simone Dennis, Head of the School of Social Sciences and project lead, said not everyone has opportunity to have their ideas of the future included.
“Imagining the future should be inclusive and it’s vital we give voice to marginalised groups including the elderly, the terminally ill, homeless and dispossessed people, children and young people, and people living with disability,’’ she said.
“Yet, visions for the future tend to be dominated by the powerful and experts, and those with the skills and resources to make themselves heard.
“In contrast, this project seeks to highlight imaginations of the future that have been left out or even avoided.”
The project, called the Forum for the Public Imagination of the Future, will include a series of initiatives designed to uncover public desires and dreams, anxieties and fears about the future. Researchers will collaborate with groups who are often marginalised or excluded to help produce more inclusive and varied accounts of what the future might hold.
“Even ideas of the future that are disagreeable or seem inconvenient will be included – it’s important to capture the full gamut of ideas so that they can be debated, fears addressed, and so that the future can be brought into the present as something to work on together,’’ said Professor Dennis.
As a thought leadership organisation, the Don Dunstan Foundation is proud to support this innovative and inclusive work which aligns with our goal to inspire action for a fairer world. The Foundation works with research, policy makers and community groups to address social needs in South Australia and believe this project will provide a way of amplifying the voices of those who are not always included in the discussion about the future.
The project will begin in early 2023 with the aim of finding new ideas about a better future for more of us, especially focusing on how exclusion – from the city, the university, from participation in the future – can be addressed.
For more information, contact Professor Simone Dennis on