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Social Futures Observatory & Cemore Workshop - Mobilities, Habits, Futures

Date: 14 March 2012 Time: 8.30am to 12noon

Venue: Royal Society of Arts, London

There is much speculation as to how the new century will unfold. The 'future' is on the agenda like never before with some bleak futures being especially anticipated. There are also new techniques that seek to anticipate and assess what some of these futures will be. We are inviting a range of experts on futures from the private, thinktank, consultancy, research, policy, NGO and academic worlds to come together over one morning to reflect upon some such futures and the processes of future-making.We especially want to focus upon futures in 'mobilities'. We use this term very broadly, ranging from large-scale decades-long transportation infrastructures to potential new kinds of social networking, modes of communication and information exchange.In thinking futures we are especially interested in 'social habits'. Much of the time these seem so taken-for-granted and fixed; and yet some novel changes in habits do spring up 'left-stage' and become almost overnight how life now has to be. These tipping points are obviously difficult to anticipate but essential for thinking and planning different futures.We expect that some of our discussion will concern itself with unexpected futures related to low carbon worlds but we are generally interested in how habits and the unexpected work themselves out within many different kinds of organisation, system and context.The two of us have links within these various worlds and we anticipate being able to bring together in one space many leading figures that can help us get 'back to the future'. It is expected that this event may lead on to others taking up more specific aspects.

The event will be held in Durham Street Auditorium, Royal Society of Arts, 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ, from 8 30am (croissants and coffee), and run 9am to midday. There will be 5-6 introductory talks followed by extensive discussion. It is free to all invitees but we will not be able to pay travel expenses.

Michael HULME John URRY

The speakers will be:

DAVID BANISTER. Professor of Transport Studies and Fellow of St Anne's College, Director of the Transport Studies Unit, Oxford University. Author/editor of 19 books.He will examine changing habits in moving towards sustainable transport futures. In transport, habit has conventionally been seen as a constraint to rational behaviour. An alternative conceptualisation is where habits are understood as a generative and propulsive capacity brought about through repetition. The implications for behaviour change are discussed, arguing that reasoned action is unlikely to be sufficient for bringing about widespread, durable behaviour change. Systemic change through which collective customs or social norms are changed is what is needed. His research interests are in transport, cities and the environment, and futures studies.

ANDREW CURRY. Director, The Futures Company.Joint leader of the public sector team, and specializing in futures and scenarios projects - anything from a five-to-seven year view of the European interactive media market to forty-year futures for sustainable energy management and the built environment for the Government's Foresight Programme.

STEPHANE GIROD. Research Fellow, Accenture Institute for High Performance (London).Specializing in strategy and organization, he has led or cooperated on several cross-industry research projects including international operating model design, reorganizations and performance, and futures of enterprise IT in both developed and emerging-market firms. Published widely, including CaixinMedia.cn, Journal of Business Strategy, Research in Global Strategic Management, Outlook, Long Range Planning, the European Management Journal, and the International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management. He will talk about habits and behavior and the blurring of consumer and workplace technology—"the consumerisation of workplace technology" - one of his current areas of research interest.

ALEX TAIT. Director, International Digital Acquisition, American Express & Chair, Digital Action Group, ISBA.Lead of acquisition core media and e-commerce strategies internationally at American Express. His digital career has included roles at the Post Office, Argos and Associated Newspapers. He is also the Chairman of the Digital Action Group at the UK's advertising trade body, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and on the Internet Advertising Bureau's Behavioural Targeting Council and heavily involved in the industry's efforts to self regulate the use of data in digital advertising. Last year nominated by the New Media Age Awards for the Greatest Individual Contribution to New Media Award for his work in the industry. He will explore privacy issues surrounding the rapidly accelerating use of data in digital communications.

MICHAEL HULME. Director of the Social Futures Observatory & Hon Professor, Lancaster University.Spent over 15 years exploring user behaviours and the socialisation of digital technologies and media, particularly in relation to the "hybridisation" of physical and virtual structures. All work has a strong 'futures' orientation and is strategic in nature. Frequently quoted in the national media, he engages with a range of prominent market leaders in the digital media/technology areas. He will explore some examples of past and potential behavioural change based on case studies and suggest that habit is far more influential and dynamic than is often maintained in most future scenario forecasts.

JOHN URRY. Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University. See http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/centres/cemore.Published c 40 books and special issues including The Tourist Gaze, Mobilities, Mobile Lives and Climate Change and Society. Currently writing Societies Beyond Oil, from which he will draw to examine just how societies might 'power down' to a post oil future. Will locked in 'habits' change or will they come to be displaced through developing new systems and new habits?

Event website: http://www.socialfuturesobservatory.co.uk/of_annual-program.htm#y


Who can attend: Internal


Further information

Associated staff: Thomas Birtchnell, Monika Büscher, John Urry

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Mobilities.Lab, Sociology

Keywords: Futures, Mobilities


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