Future-forming interdisciplinary research

Thinking futures is now widespread, fateful and problematic. Yet much futures research neglects the insights that social science, the arts and humanities, can offer. Lancaster’s Institute for Social Futures works innovatively across disciplinary boundaries linking science, social science and humanities to examine what futures might develop within key domains of human/material activity.

The aim of the Institute for Social Futures is to improve thinking, visioning, analysis and data relating to futures. It will bring high-quality social science theory and research into productive relations with science, technology, health and management and through working with many external partners.

Linda Woodhead (Co-Director)

Linda’s work focuses on the ways in which religion, beliefs and values are changing, and what this means for the future. She’s particularly interested in future-forming research undertaken in partnership with stakeholders in that future.  She’s currently working on a collaborative project on how ‘family values’ are being shaped and contested around the world. Her latest book is That was the Church that was: how the Church of England lost the English people (2016). She’s a regular commentator on radio and television.

Richard Harper (Co-Director)

Richard is concerned with how new technologies shape us and how we in turn shape our technologies – in the space that is often known as Human Computer Interaction or HCI.  He has written 13 books and over 160 scientific articles on topics such as the future of search engines and the latest incarnation of artificial intelligence.

Rebecca Braun (Co-Director)

Rebecca Braun is Professor of Modern Languages and Creative Futures. She works across languages and cultures to make tangible the different ways creative practice shapes our engagement with societies of the future.