a co-creation workshop
How might we imagine a future worth living for?
Skills and Tools:
Products of Design, SVA 2016
In his book, What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming,Per Espen Stoknes asks “What is your story of where we ought to go? What is a society worth living – and dying – for? If we don’t know we surely won’t get there.” What he is getting at is the idea that although most of the world understands that we are in the midst of a climate crisis, the discussion of climate action is limited to climate change mitigation. It is not enough to eliminate what is bad, we must also design a better (read, sustainable, equitable, and just) system to replace it.
On a rainy day in October 2016, a group of activists, colleagues, and friends gathered in the community room of the SoHo location of Patagonia in New York City. The participants were asked to imagine an ideal future 50 years from now. As a group they told the story, each person sharing one sentence at a time, of how humanity got there. After the story was completed and recorded onto sticky notes, the group began illustrating scenes that represented each sentence into a long narrative mural. Their story, and our possible future, is a glimpse into the hopes and anxieties of people faced with the reality that our world is changing around us. Without addressing what kind of future we want, we condemn ourselves to a future created by the inertia of inaction.
The collaborative aspect of the work was more than just conceptual; it allowed the group to build a framework for each other on which to build their narrative. Having a variety of participants with different backgrounds, values, and perspectives was also a key factor as it forced the participants to reconcile with others’ interests.