We are very excited to share that our proposal to present at the "Constructing Social Futures - Sustainability, Responsibility and Power" conference at the University of Turku in June 2019 has been approved! Our paper will be presented by myself, Amy Hosotsuji and my friend and peer Samhita Misra. I feel that our topic touches on themes that may not have been extensively researched previously. We are merging our backgrounds in critical theory, social justice, community or collective democratic processes and trauma-informed healing and organizing.
The conference invites an inquiry that really excites me because I think futures thinking is profoundly influential in our we shape our societies, communities and lives. This is their 20th futures conference and this year's invitation is as follows: "The forthcoming Futures Conference 2019 will focus on the concept of agency in action and research for futures. ‘Constructing Futures’ emphasizes opportunities and challenges related to the need for building and critically evaluating capabilities necessary for sustainable futures. The conference invites participants to think of agency in different levels and contexts.
Whether in a private commercial context, or in civil society, or in global or local communities, to what extent are futures being constructed through participation that reflects moral agency and leads to better futures for all? Can Futures Studies, as an applied practice, make a difference?"
Here is a copy of our proposal:
Engaging with Historical Trauma in Participatory Futures Work
The increasing focus on participation in fields ranging from development, design, and futures studies indicates what futurists have elsewhere identified as a changing image of the future, rooted in values of gender cooperation, social inclusion, spiritual inclusion, ecological sustainability, and a merging of global and local governance (Inayatullah, 2017).
The journey towards a new paradigm using participatory methods, however, comes with challenges. Over the last few decades, participatory processes have been critiqued for their limited ability to equitably engage all stakeholders who been affected by the impacts of historical inequities. This challenge extends to anyone working towards more inclusive futures: to meaningfully facilitate participatory futures work, we must become aware of and engage with the impacts of historical trauma within every context to make the conversation as inclusive and accessible as possible. Engaging with both the changing image of the future, and the critical analysis of participatory processes, we propose a trauma-informed approach to participatory futures work.
We turn to already established communities of practice that use elements of Jungian psychotherapy, conflict resolution, critical theory and a justice lens. The fields of Process Work, including methods like World Work, its philosophy of Deep Democracy and other group facilitation methods such as Art of Hosting, offer lessons and approaches that, if applied to participatory futures work, might amplify its impacts to be more equitable and sustainable for all.
In this paper, we walk through the benefits and considerations of merging these practices to shape local communities and civil society.
We look forward to the opportunity to discuss this important topic.
Founder of the Futures Network