Future-forming interdisciplinary research

Storytelling and Global Futures


The next in a series of Global Futures events ‘exploring burning questions for global society’:

Storytelling and Global Futures

Tuesday 9 January 2018, 4pm-6pm+ in LECC Training Rooms 1 & 2

 Why should we care about arts, culture, and literature in the face of the global challenges characterizing the present moment?

 How can a story help combat climate change, or a poem ensure peaceful, ethical international relations?

This event makes the case for the importance of stories, narrative, and literature in confronting global challenges, exploring the multiple and varied ways in which they can help to shape better global futures.



3 x 15 minute talks by:

Qaisra Shahraz            ‘Celebrating Diversity: Building Cultural Bridges through Literature’

Qaisra Shahraz is on an ardent mission to promote better relationships amongst people of different faiths and of none and to celebrate diversity. She says, ‘Living in the age of Trump; difficult times, as a Muslim woman I find myself sandwiched between two monsters; Islamophobia on one side and extremism on the other (ISIS)’. She will discuss how she uses her stories and peace banners, ‘We Stand Together’ and ‘Spread Hummus Not Hate’ to build cultural bridges, hold intercultural dialogue, and promote unity. In particular Qaisra is keen to challenge hatred, stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. Qaisra will read from her latest book The Concubine & The Slave Catcher. She will discuss how she urges her German and English readers to read and appreciate her story A Pair of Jeans by getting out of their ‘western’ box, and to look beyond their own cultural norms.

Graham Mort             ‘Many Women, Many Words’

Graham Mort discusses how a project to recoup the stories of Kurdish women who had lived through the Al Anfal genocide against the Kurdish people engaged with memory, narrative and displaced futures, whilst using poetry as a means of communicating research data through performance.

Emily Spiers                ‘Creative Futures: Methods for Facing Global Challenges’

If we use stories to understand the world around us, how can creative practices like storytelling be useful in finding, developing, and implementing solutions to the kinds of global challenges discussed at the Global Futures seminar series? 

Biographical Information:


Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Qaisra Shahraz is a prize-winning and critically acclaimed novelist and scriptwriter. Born in Pakistan, she has lived in Manchester (UK) since childhood and gained two Masters Degrees in English & European literature and scriptwriting for television. In 2012, Qaisra was recognised as being one of 100 influential Pakistani women in Pakistan Power 100 List (2012). Last year she won the National Diversity ‘Lifetime achiever award’ for ‘Services to literature, education, gender & community cohesion’. This year she was recognised as number 1 of 50 most influential women in Manchester. Founder and director of Muslim Arts and Culture Festival (MACFESTUK) in Manchester, Qaisra aims to celebrate rich Muslim heritage, promote community cohesion by bringing diverse communities together.


A former freelance writer, Graham Mort has worked as a poetry specialist, educational writer, editor, and tutor in a wide range of settings throughout the UK and overseas. He is now Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. He was awarded a National teaching Fellowship in 2015 in recognition for individual excellence and his work in building international learning communities. His work has been translated into Turkish, Greek and Vietnamese.


Emily Spiers is Lecturer in Creative Futures at Lancaster University. Her work focuses on future-oriented, innovative trends in communicative and literary practices, and explores how preferable futures are being envisaged, anticipated and made through art and literature.


For those who want to, we will regroup, glass in hand, to discuss what all this means for us personally and our institutions, including the University.


The event will bring together people from across the University, Lancaster city and the local area, so that the question can be explored from fresh angles in a lively but relaxed setting. We look forward to seeing you there.
For catering purposes please let us know if you will be attending the event by emailing isf@lancaster.ac.uk

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