Across the world, groups working in public policy and social innovation use foresight and futures thinking to develop new ideas of the future, helping them to act in the face of uncertainty.  For heritage and civil society organisations, this work is especially important.

Wildfires, urban flooding, and other impacts of a warming climate are devasting communities, damaging infrastructure, and threatening natural heritage. Societies around the world face a nexus of food insecurity, economic inequality and deep cultural shifts. And, for many organisations, the response to the global Covid-19 pandemic and social movements like Black Lives Matter, school strikes for climate and #MeToo have the shown the central importance of including shared moral principles in decision-making. The future has never been so uncertain, and it’s never been so important for what we value to be at the heart of our response to it.

This two-day course introduces a range of ideas and techniques from strategic foresight and futures studies for living and working with uncertainty, and connects them to the principles of care, stewardship and maintenance that sustain communities and their heritage.  Attendees will develop their capacity to recognise key trends, drivers and signals of change, and use these to construct multiple scenarios of possible futures. Through engaging with recent critical perspectives on the future, you will consider how taken-for-granted values and assumptions become embedded in ideas of the future, and explore how speculative and utopian thinking can enable us to imagine genuinely transformative future possibilities. And by examining how the routine and often hidden work of repair and maintenance sustains what we care for, you will develop a sense of how present actions can ensure the future has a place for what matters to us.

By the end of the course, you will have a new awareness of the possible futures facing us all, an understanding of how these futures might impact your field, and an action plan supporting you to bring this understanding into your organisation’s planning and strategic thinking.

For more information and sign up, please visit the website of UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage.