We recognize the value of utopian and dystopian narratives for helping people to think about what they are fighting for as well as what they are fighting against. This is why we invite you to contribute to the Atlas by Responding to the 2060: Reflections from the Future Challenge Prompt or by running our Infinite Hope Workshop.
Take part in a collective storytelling challenge in 2020!
2060: Reflections from the Future
Often, as people imagine future changes that lead to a better world, they start by imagining a crisis -- something that forces existing precarious circumstances to their breaking point, causing people to come together and try something different. Right now, our world is confronting a painful health crisis of unprecedented proportions and it is predicted it will be followed by an economic crisis of the same scope and scale. Recognizing this, let’s use this moment to initiate a process of reflection and intervention and bring our imaginative selves to the realities we face today.
Draw on what inspires you, respond to our prompt, and contribute to a collective brainstorm that taps our imagination at a time when imagining takes courage. All responses will become part of 2060: Reflections from the Future, a public and shared collection that connects our current hopes, concerns, and aspirations. Artists, thinkers, and community leaders working in various fields and formats with then also bring our collective visions to life.
Infinite Hope Workshop
In this workshop, we help facilitators ignite the civic imagination among their participants. We invite the facilitators and workshop participants (storytellers) to then upload the workshop outcomes (stories generated and insights gained) by following the Atlas of the Civic Imagination "Participate" instructions.
Overview / Intro / Core Idea
The “Infinite Hope - Imagining a Better World” workshop is a future-focused workshop highlighting the power of stories as tools for fostering civic imagination and inspiring real world change. As this title suggests, the focus is on world-building, that is, thinking about what alternative worlds might look like, reading them in relation to our own, and deploying them as a means of expressing and debating visions for what alternatives might be to current conditions. We find that this frees participants from the constraints on the imagination which are posed by a relentless focus on existing constraints which limit the possibilities for change, which results in activists self-censoring themselves.
Highlighting the importance of civic imagination, the workshop leads participants through an exercise of building a future world in which both real and fantastical solutions to cultural, social and political challenges are possible, ultimately leading them to strategize how we may be able to get to this imagined future starting today. The workshop begins with a big picture brainstorm. Working backwards, the participants then break into smaller groups to share insights and build on these imagined worlds to brainstorm character-based narratives of social change set in the shared future world. After working out their stories, the groups are then given a short amount of time to prepare a presentation of their narrative. Encouraging spontaneity and creativity, the final share backs given participants an immediate platform for sharing their stories, creating a sense of community between participants and leading to group dialog and reflection.
In effect, the workshop helps participants brainstorm the full range of possible directions they could go. Many of the political veterans in the organizations we work with have been initially skeptical of what they saw as the ‘escapist’ dimensions of our approach, but they have often rethought this opposition when they see how this approach re-energized participants.