Imaginaries of the Future City: Envisioning Climate Change and Technological Cityscapes Through Contemporary Speculative Fiction

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Imaginaries of the Future City: Envisioning Climate Change and Technological Cityscapes Through Contemporary Speculative Fiction

Imaginaries of the Future City: Envisioning Climate Change and Technological Cityscapes Through Contemporary Speculative Fiction

This interdisciplinary international network project brings together scholars from literary studies, environmental studies and psychology, to explore the following question: 'How does narrative fiction function as an integrating discourse in constructing and shaping (collective) imaginations of a safe future city?'

The goal of an international, two-day workshop in June 2020, is to further constitute a unique collaboration between these three research fields in which the representation of the future city is studied in diverse ways, yet all with a specific focus on the role of narratives in constructing (collective) imaginations of a safe future city.

The kick-off of the project took place in October 2019 and the following concepts were discussed with the projectteam: Literature as integrating discourse / Geological versus human scales in narratives / Productive fiction / Lived Experience / Scenarios of the Future / Eco-anxiety / Climate Risk Related Affect and Risk Likelihood Estimations

Online Workshop Program 'Narratives & Climate Change'
25-26 June 2020, hosted from Utrecht, the Netherlands, Open Universiteit

Session 1. Concepts of futuring: scenarios, models, fiction

  • Storyworlds of Decarbonization in Models and Fiction
    Lisette van Beek, Paul Graham Raven, Graeme Macdonald, Alexandra Nikoleris, Peter Pelzer, Johannes Stripple, Wytske Versteeg and Jeroen Oomen (Universities of Lund, Utrecht, Durham and Warwick)
  • Beyond the numbers: how diverse ways of futuring help to construct alternative response scenario’s
    Stefan C. Dekker, Marjolein van Herten, Andries Hof, Maria J. Santos, Bert de Vries and Lilian Lechner (Open Universiteit, Utrecht University, Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, University of Zurich)

Session 2. Mediality, narratives & climate change

  • When a Real Storm Hits the Shores: Representing Climate Crisis in the Television Series 'The Swell'
    Irina Souch (University of Amsterdam)
  • Zooming in and out through the lens of theatricality. Becoming-astronaut as narrative strategy for landing on Earth again in the Anthropocene
    Alice Breemen (University of Amsterdam)
  • The Doomsday Clock: Narrative and Apocalypse in the Present
    Ian Kenny (University of Amsterdam)

Session 3. (city)Marketing, narratives & climate change

  • Continuity and/or rupture: The ideological role of the Olympic Games in a climate-changed world
    Ben Glasson (Monash University)
  • Industry leaders or Climate Pioneers: People, Society and Risk in Corporate Climate Change Narratives
    Cornelia Fast (VU Amsterdam)
  • From Cold to Cool: Narratives of Climate Change in 'Bodø2024'
    Espen Meisfjord (University of Amsterdam)
  • Productive Fiction(s)
    Raoul Beunen and Marieke Winkler (Open Universiteit)

Session 4. Education, narratives & climate change

  • Literary analysis and Narratives from Lived Experiences of Climate Change in Higher Education
    Marjolein van Herten, Francisca Perez Salgado and Evelien van Nieuwenhoven (Open Universiteit)
  • Systems, Stories and Sustainability
    Tom Idema and Brian Dermody (Utrecht University)
  • Data and narrative: The role of narrative in platforms for nature observations
    Helen Verploegen (Radboud University)

Session 5. Uncertain Futures, narratives & climate change

  • Affordances for the Future: Literary Fiction and Future Possible Cities
    Lieven Ameel (University of Tampere)
  • Future Pasts: History, Space and Memory in the Imagination of Mexico City’s Sinking Future – an Interdisciplinary Investigation
    Dave Huitema, Brigitte Adriaensen and Jilt Jorritsma (Open Universiteit)
  • Narrating Uncertain Futures: Climate Change and the Open Forms of Story
    Marco Caracciolo, in collaboration with Shannon Lambert and Gry Ulstein (Ghent University)

See our Call for Proposals that we issued for the Workshop Imaginaries of the Future City: Envisioning Climate Change through Contemporary Narratives.

Contact

Contact with coordinators via FutureCities@ou.nl

Project team

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Adriaensen
Dr. ir. Raoul Beunen
Prof. Dr. Stefan Dekker (Utrecht University)
Dr. Marjolein van Herten (coordination)
Dr. Andries Hof (Utrecht University)
Prof. Dr. Dave Huitema
Jilt Jorritsma, MA
Prof. Dr. Lilian Lechner
Evelien van Nieuwenhoven, MA (coordination)
Prof. Dr. Paquita Pérez Salgado
Dr. Marieke Winkler (coordination)

Biographies projectteam

Humanities

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Adriaensen – Professor in Literary Studies at the Open Universiteit & Associate Professor in Hispanic Studies at Radboud University
Adriaensen obtained her PhD from KU Leuven and wrote her dissertation on the works of the Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo. She teaches courses in Spanish Language and Culture as well as in Literary Studies, American Studies, Tourism and Culture, and Historical, Literary, and Cultural Studies. From 2011 to 2016, she led the NWO-funded VIDI-project entitled 'The Politics of Irony in Contemporary Latin American Literature on Violence.'

Jilt Jorritsma, MA – Researcher, at the Open Universiteit
Jorritsma is a cultural historian conducting research on the representation of Slow Violence in urban Climate Fiction. His writings have been published in de Nederlandse boekengids, de Volkskrant, de Revisor and Nexus. In 2018 Jorritsma was awarded the first Joost Zwagerman Essayprijs, after which he was contracted by Lebowski Publishers.

Dr. Marjolein van Herten – Assistant professor Literary Studies at the Open Universiteit
Van Herten’s research focuses on learning in present-day book discussion groups and on teaching literature in secondary schools. In May 2019, Marjolein van Herten and Marieke Winkler organised the seminar 'Imagining the future in literature' at the Open Universiteit. They initiated and participate in the interdisciplinary research project Imaginaries of the Future City. Envisioning Climate Change and Technological Cityscapes Through Contemporary Speculative Fiction of the Open Universiteit (2019-2020). In December 2019, they presented their first research outcomes in Limerick at the conference (Un)Fair Cities. Equity, Ideology and Utopia in Urban Texts.

Evelien van Nieuwenhoven, MA – Researcher at the Open Universiteit
Van Nieuwenhoven is a member of the organizing team for this project. Her research is focused on Dutch speculative fiction and its role in Dutch discourse on global issues such as climate change and datafication.

Dr. Marieke Winkler – Assistant professor Literary Studies at the Open Universiteit
Winkler’s research focuses on literary criticism and literary reviewing in the Netherlands. In May 2019, Marjolein van Herten and Marieke Winkler organised the seminar 'Imagining the future in literature' at the Open Universiteit. They initiated and participate in the interdisciplinary research project Imaginaries of the Future City. Envisioning Climate Change and Technological Cityscapes Through Contemporary Speculative Fiction of the Open Universiteit (2019-2020). In December 2019, they presented their first research outcomes in Limerick at the conference (Un)Fair Cities. Equity, Ideology and Utopia in Urban Texts.

Environmental Sciences

Dr. ir. Raoul Beunen – Associate professor Faculty Science at the Open Universiteit
Beunen’s research explores the potentials and limitations of environmental policy and planning in the perspective of adaptive governance and sustainability. It focuses on innovation and evolution in governance, paying attention to the dynamics of policy implementation and integration, multi-level governance, stakeholder involvement, and the performance of institutional structures.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Dekker – Professor Global EcoHydrology and Sustainability, Utrecht University
Dekker’s research goal is to understand the interactions and feedbacks between soil, vegetation, atmosphere and climate. The understanding of terrestrial processes plays a crucial role in addressing the major sustainability challenges of our time, including food security, desertification, degradation, transition to a bio-based economy, land-change and freshwater supply.

Dr. Andries Hof – Senior scientific researcher at PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and a guest researcher at Utrecht University
Hof is interested in a wide range of topics related to international climate change issues, such as the costs and benefits of mitigation and adaptation, international climate agreements, the use of integrated assessment models in informing climate policy decisions, and synergies and trade-offs with other sustainability goals. Before joining PBL, he has conducted research at several institutes in the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States.

Dr. Dave Huitema – Professor of Environmental Policy at the Open Universiteit and the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Huitema’s research focuses on the adaptability of policy systems. For policy systems to be adaptable, learning needs to take place and agency needs to be developed to translate learning in policy change. This is why he analyzes for example the role of experiments, evaluation, and entrepreneurs in learning and policy innovation.

Prof. Dr. Paquita Perez Salgado – UNESCO Professor in Knowledge Transfer for Sustainable Development Supported by ICTS, Open Universiteit
Perez Salgado publishes in the field of sustainability and educational innovations, and in the field of natural sciences. One of her research lines is to further investigate and develop the knowledge concept of 'Lived Experience', with emphasis on a multi- and transdisciplinary approach in finding solutions to issues concerning sustainable development. She is the former Dean of the Faculty of Science at the Open Universiteit. She worked at the Dutch expert organisation on girls & women and science & technology (VHTO), at the University of Amsterdam (where she got her PhD degree in physical chemistry), the University of Groningen and the University of Twente. She is active in several European and international organizations in the field of science, sustainability and higher education.

Psychology

Prof. Dr. Lilian Lechner – Professor Health Psychology at the Open Universiteit
Lechner concerns herself with questions such as 'why do people do things that they know will harm themselves?' Her research topics include health promotion, eHealth, computer tailoring, determinants of health behavior, patient self-management, physical activity, nutrition and smoking.

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