220714 berlin event foto ppw 5599

About futures literacy

Are you futures literate?

This question might raise more questions than of answers, and for good reasons. For example, what does it mean to be futures literate? How do you become it? What can you use it for?

220714 berlin event foto ppw 5599

Let’s look at what it’s not, as a start. It is not, is the ability to predict the future, read a crystal ball or write in the stars. None of us can do that, and yet we often pretend to do it all the same. We predict, fear, and dream about the future daily. And for something that has such a large impact on our behavior in the present, we know very little about it.

So, what is futures literacy?

Futures literacy is the capability of imagining multiple futures to see the present anew. Too often we talk about the future as if there were only one predetermined future, but by expanding and stretching our imagination we can learn to see that there are multiple futures. Futures that we can use to see more possibilities in the present, but also become aware of what we find important, what matters to us most andour blindspots. What we notice, and what we don’t notice. By learning about different ways to use futures, we can become more open to change and comfortable with uncertainty. This can help us find new ways of doing, thinking and being.

Futures literacy, developed within UNESCO, is best learned through experience following a three-step process, exploring different futures: 1. probable futures, 2. desirable futures and 3. alternative futures. To remain in this three-step process, you answer questions like: what do I think the future looks like? What do I hope the future like? What if it is none of the above? These explorations make way for new questions about the present. While we often don’t have answers to these questions yet, they can act as guides in the complex world we live in.

A unique way to stretch the imagination in this process is by exposing ourselves to for examples images, art, and provocations – and what better place to do this than in a museum?

On October 8, 2022 FUTURIUM offers a unique and cutting edge method to truly experience futures literacy; a first time guided tour (in English or German) that takes you through the museum, using the exhibition and its different views, ideas and concepts to expand your imagination. A multidimensional immersive process that will challenge your thinking and introduce you to new ways of using the future.

An introduction into a complex framework, a first taste of a new capability or just a fun and provoking ride… It is all possible and all these experiences might help you find the answer to the question: are you futures literate?

About the tour

The "Are You Futures Literate?" tour is part of "The ABC of shaping the future" events. We’ll be cooperating with the worldwide network of future-oriented museums (Future-Oriented Museum Synergies – FORMS). Various international museums will be bringing exciting and innovative formats to Berlin for the day.

Guest author

Loes Damhof, UNESCO Chair in Futures Literacy, & Nicklas Larsen, Senior Advisor at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies