Future of Black America
For Immediate Release
November 6, 2020
UNESCO will host a Futures Literacy Lab focusing on the Future of Black America, taking place from 10 November 2020 – 12 November 2020, online through a virtual platform.
Since 2012, UNESCO as a global laboratory of ideas has been pioneering efforts to overcome ‘poverty-of-the-imagination’ and empower people everywhere to grasp the power of images of the future. Futures Literacy Labs, are a practical, field-tested approach that deploys action-learning to cultivate the capacity of participants to source and use images of the future. FLLs enable participants to become futures literate, to be able to ask new questions about the future of Black America, and to be ready to build Futures Literacy in their communities.
This Futures Literacy Lab was initiated by the African American Future Society (Yul Anderson) with the UNESCO Futures Literacy team (Riel Miller and Kwamou Eva Feukeu) the International Monetary Fund (economist Sandile Hlatshwayo); and Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA). This Lab has been codesigned and will be facilitated by participatory futurists Dr Lonny Brooks (Afrorithms) and Dr Claire Nelson (The Futures Forum). Please see the attached invitation for details of the event. Please note that the Lab will take place entirely via the Internet using a telepresence platform. You will need a functioning internet connection, computer, microphone and camera. Please make sure you can be present all three days and we look forward to your participation.
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UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme is a unique driver for advancing holistic capacity-building initiatives on social transformations and for building bridges between social scientific knowledge, public policies and society. With decades of experience in fostering future studies and as a global laboratory of ideas, UNESCO’s Futures Literacy initiative is premised on the idea that in an open, non-deterministic and complex emergent world, actions intended to direct societal development must incorporate a range of different ways of using the future. In other words, without more advanced approaches to using the future, there is a significant risk of excessive reliance on past models of industrialization, urbanisation, and economic growth; and the illusion that tomorrow can be engineered according to a technically determined blueprint.
FL seeks to build people’s capacity to discern and make sense of complex emergence, and Futures Literacy Laboratories (FLL) are innovative learning-by-doing processes, with a proven track record from around the world, for achieving three outcomes. First, participants start a learning voyage, becoming acquainted with the different reasons and methods for imagining the future. They become more futures literate. Second, by exposing the assumptions that shape images of the future participants in a Lab are able to ask new questions about an important topic, like the future of Black America. Such new questions, rethinking the nature of the problems and discovering the boundaries that define inside the box thinking from outside-the-box, have direct implications for policy, strategy and decision-makers. And third, running FLL provides detailed insights into the sources of what people imagine and why, thereby enabling a better understanding of the origins of people’s fears and hopes.
In practical terms FLL invite people to share what they know, and since no one knows the future we all begin the same and depend on our imaginations to invent images of tomorrow. The lab involves plenary sessions and working together in smaller breakout groups with peer facilitators who will guide participants through the collective intelligence knowledge creation process, allowing us to take advantage of our ability to negotiate shared meaning. The process is custom designed to enable participants to discover and specify, by moving from tacit to explicit and from conventional to newly invented, the anticipatory assumptions and related narratives they use to perceive and act in the present. By inventing, expressing, and testing their imaginations participants become better able to use-the-future.