Future-forming interdisciplinary research

Stories in Dialogue



The importance of aesthetic and narrative theory to futures studies is only now being explored. Aesthetic coherence in stories enables scenario planners to better anticipate plausible futures and to communicate these futures to decision makers productively. The aesthetic domain is after all a crucial factor in deeming a narrative to be plausible, or not, and in formulating future possibilities. We make sense of the world through stories in dialogue with others. This project explores the importance of relationality in both narrative construction – a story is both told and heard – and in co-designing possible futures with as broad an array of stakeholders as possible.


Storytelling and Global Futures

The Global Futures events aim to integrate students, academics and the local community for engaging interdisciplinary discussions on big global challenges. The most recent event in this white paper series was the first of its kind, as the speakers addressed global futures through their backgrounds in literature and the arts. Qaisra Shahraz, Graham Mort and Emily Spiers shared their unique perspective and provoked an enlightening and wide ranging discussion on the importance of storytelling in global futures. Read more here…


The Time of Social Futures

Find out why storytelling became the uniting theme at our recent practitioner-academic panel at Anticipation 2017. Read more here… or you can watch the full-length video of the panel here.

You can also watch story-teller Peter Kalu’s thoughts on storytelling and the future here.



What do aesthetics and stories have to do with the future? By Emily Spiers

In May 2017, the Institute for Social Futures and the Department of Languages and Cultures jointly organized the event ‘Shaping the Story of the Future’, which took place at Lancaster University’s Community Day. The idea came from research I am undertaking into the importance of aesthetics in constructing plausible scenarios of the future. Just what aesthetic aspects are important for creating a good story? Read more.

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