The futures of futures studies
Pushing the boundaries of futures thinking
25 October 2023 (Wednesday), 20:00-20:30, ONLINE

Crisis Literacy: Using creative tools to develop a key skill of the future

We have entered the age of permacrisis. Brexit, the Covid 19 pandemic and the increase in extreme natural events in recent years illustrate this. Against the backdrop of global climate change, the closely interconnected world with its fragile technological infrastructure and the heightened sense of security in modern societies, the probability, severity and frequency of crises will continue to increase.
While crises are contingent events that are semantically neutral and indeterminate in their consequences, today’s complex security and insurance systems, the systemic nature of risk and a mostly negative attitude towards uncertainty make it difficult to deal with crises constructively. Unlike modern societies, many ancient cultures were aware of the indeterminacy of crises and the uncertainty of their occurrence. Placing contingency in the domain of divine entities and linking it to human behaviour made crises accessible, understandable, and directly transferable to everyday life.
This paper argues that ancient approaches can be an inspiration for the future of agency in the age of permacrisis. With a deeper understanding of the openness of crises and a willingness to imagine different possible outcomes with their respective impacts, people become ‘crisis literate’. This requires familiarity with surprises, the ability to make sense of what is happening, and compelling narratives that facilitate learning are the foundation. This paper presents ideas on how creative tools such as storytelling – from ancient myths to future scenarios and science fiction – and experiential learning can be used to build crisis literacy among individuals, societies, and organisations.

Managing Director
Contingency Institute

Video of the event

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