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Anticipating Futures in a Complex World: An interdisciplinary seminar series

The Bauman Institute is co-hosting, with the Sustainability Research Institute (School of Earth & Environment), an exciting new seminar series “Anticipating Futures in a Complex World”.  This series is jointly funded by the Bauman Institute, Sustainability Research Institute and the Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI).

About the series

In an era of seemingly perpetual crisis, subject to catastrophes of all kinds, urgency and immediacy have become the temporal modalities giving shape to futures,  placing anticipation at the centre of governance strategies for addressing the multiple challenges posed by an increasingly complex and fast-moving world. While the emphasis on anticipation exposes the pressing need for ontological security within late-modern societies, it also reveals a temporal fix on the future as a category of social action for shaping and thinking about the global and interrelated problems posed by a complex late-modern world. These include social and environmental challenges ranging from climate change and economic crisis to conflict, resource depletion, poverty and marginalisation, all of which impose a profound rethinking of the political, and of what it means to be together in an interconnected world. However, reinventing the political requires conceptual innovations that accept ruptures and discontinuities in the making of stable futures while embracing the inescapably chaotic and complex essence of life, and requires novel epistemic grounds on which new political movements and ideas could emerge.

At the same time, there is a sense of post-interventionist disillusionment about the possibility of collaboratively tackling the challenges imposed by expanding and dangerous futures, whilst the dominance of technicist and economistic thinking has closed down debates about how we might shape the category of the future in ways which are not solely determined by economic aims.  But the ways in which we try to anticipate and to act upon new threats and those yet to come are key to developing new ways of engaging with the future and to asking what this future-oriented world tells us about our contemporary experience of being together.  This seminar series will identify, explore and evaluate the substantive and methodological challenges of anticipating the future in a complex world, keeping in mind that the future remains a category far more than an ontological dimension.

For more information, please contact Katy Wright or Sebastien Nobert

Follow the conversation on Twitter #anticipatingfutures

Seminar schedule

Events will run from 4.00-5.30pm in the School of Sociology & Social Policy, Room 12.21/12.25 (Social Sciences Building, Level 12)

Campus Map:

16-11-16 Professor Jenny Pearce


Towards a Post-Representational Politics?  The politics of participation in a post-Brexit world


07-12-16 Dr Vladimir Jankovic

University of Manchester

‘The possibility cannot be ignored’: climate futures and strategic securitizations of atmospheric resources since the 1970s



25-01-17 Dr Austin Zeiderman


Endangered City: Securing the Future in Bogotá


08-02-17 Dr Clemens Driessen

Wageningen University

Re-imagining future landscapes by designing human-animal-technology relations, or: queering the farm with ecofeminist robotics


15-03-17 Dr Martin Savransky


Another Future is Possible!  Social Science and Speculative Experimentation in a World of Ifs


26-04-17 Professor Adrian Favell

University of Leeds

The Migration Equation: Rebooting Migration Theory Beyond Nations, Immigration and the Birthright Lottery
17-05-17 Professor Karen Rowlingson 

University of Birmingham

Have the baby boomers stolen their children’s future? Inter-generational inequalities and relationships in the UK

Book here

07-06-17 Dr Michelle Bastian 

University of Edinburgh

Temporality, Expectations and Sustainable Economies
05-07-17 Dr Sujatha Raman

University of Nottingham

Anticipating anti-microbial futures

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Report Launch – Financial Innovation Today: Towards Economic Resilience

Andrew Thompson, Friends Provident Foundation, and Scott Murphy, Futures Team at Hiscox UK
Andrew Thompson, Friends Provident Foundation, and Scott Murphy, Futures Team at Hiscox UK

Thursday 22nd September, 13:00 – 16:30, Leeds Town Hall (Sullivan Room)

A buffet lunch plus tea and coffee will be provided.

crowdfunding people and tree of notes

In an age of financial crisis and fiscal austerity, can money and finance be a force for good?

This event will launch the Bauman Institute’s report on the alternative finance movement in the UK.

Download the report here

Drawing upon interviews with senior figures in the UK’s fast-growing ‘alternative finance’ sector, we argue that alternative finance – such as crowdfunding, community shares, and peer-to-peer lending – has the potential to reclaim money as a social good and contribute to building a more democratic and resilient economy, particularly at local levels.

But questions remain over whether the alternative finance movement can continue to be ‘alternative’ to the mainstream finance industry – and what the implications of this might be for the sector and those exploring alternative funding streams in a context of fiscal austerity.


13:00 – 14:00 Buffet lunch with tea and coffee

14:00 – 14:30  Report presentation by Dr Mark Davis, Bauman Institute

14:30 – 14:45  Response by Anna Laycock, Finance Innovation Lab

14:45 – 15:30  Table discussion

15:30-15:45     Tea and coffee

15:45 – 16:15  Plenary: tables report to room and general discussion

16:15 – 16:30  Closing remarks


This event is FREE, but you will need to register to attend. Please book your place at


This research was funded by a grant from the Friends Provident Foundation





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Professor Judy Wajcman: ‘Pressed for time: Everyday life in the digital age’

Leeds Social Sciences Institute / The Bauman Institute
Professor Judy Wajcman
Tuesday, 7 July at 4pm in Yorkshire Bank Lecture Theatre, LUBS

Judy Wajcman will explore why technology is blamed for accelerating everyday life and yet we turn to digital devices for the solution during a talk that is being co-hosted by Leeds Social Sciences Institute / The Bauman Institute.

The Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science will give a presentation based on her new book, ‘Pressed for Time: Is the problem digital devices, or the way we design and use them?’ (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

The event will include a Q&A and drinks reception. Continue reading

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Seminar – Get It Together: Why We Deserve Better Politics

A seminar with Zoe Williams (The Guardian)Get it together

Date: Thursday 23 April, 5 – 6.30pm
Location: Room 12.21, Social Sciences Building

GET IT TOGETHER is a rousing call to arms for us all to play our part in creating a more equal society.

Zoe Williams believes that it’s not enough to sit back and watch as our NHS slides away from us; as the young and low earners are forced out of London; as hundreds of thousands of people nationally drift into poverty; as education becomes increasingly divided and as the wealthiest five people in Britain earn more than the poorest 20%.

Zoe brings together all the arguments that occupy the current political landscape and shows us that on all levels, it’s lunacy to be anything other than left-wing unless you’re actually already an oligarch. She offers us the debate in a truly entertaining way – and provides a road map for a better future that will be a major part of the debate in the run up to the election in May.

To register your attendance at this event please visit the following link Continue reading

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Reclaiming Modernity: Beyond Markets, Beyond Machines

Reclaim ModernitySaturday 28th March, 12 – 2pm
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds

Political life can often feel pretty bleak for all the reasons you know and feel so well. As the 7 May election draws near, there is already a familiar sense that ‘big ideas’ are not welcome. And then something pops up and rekindles your optimism.

In their new Compass publication, Reclaim Modernity, Mark Fisher and Jeremy Gilbert argue that progressive politics can only renew itself by recognising that we are a unique moment in history that requires us reclaim the transformative ambitions of modernity. They argue that we don’t have to fear the radical potential of modernity, but must rather embrace it in such a way that better reflects our shared values, democratically reforms public services, rejects techno-bureaucracy in the private and public sectors, and puts an end to the neoliberal micro-management of our working lives. Continue reading

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Modernity and Fascist temporalities.

Guest Speaker: Roger Griffin

All Welcome
Wednesday 18 March, 3 – 4.30pm
Room 12.21/12.25, Social Sciences Building

Modernity and Fascist temporalities is a talk by Professor Roger Griffin based on his article ‘Fixing Solutions: Fascist temporalities as Remedies for Liquid Modernity’ published this month in Journal of Modern European History. It was delivered in an early form at a conference on Fascist time held in 2013 in Italy, and draws on his sustained interest in the relationship between various historical phenomena which represent the attempt to transcend anomic time through the power of palingenetic myth.

Roger D. Griffin is a professor of modern history and political theorist at Oxford Brookes University. His principal interest is the socio-historical and ideological dynamics of fascism, as well as various forms of political or religious fanaticism.

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One Nation? Class, Utopia, and Labour’s Curious Quest for Renewal

one-nationA Bauman Institute Workshop

Date: Tuesday 18 November, 4:00 – 5.30pm
Location: Room 12.21/12.25, Social Sciences Building
Guest Speaker: Hugo Radice
Panel: Tracy Shildrick, Mark Davis

All Welcome Continue reading

This entry was posted in Events, News, Renewing Politics and Civil Society.

Ethics, Evil and the Other: Bauman, Lévinas, Badiou (Seminar Series)

A seminar series hosted by Roundhouse

The central place that Emmanuel Lévinas occupies in the development of Zygmunt Bauman’s thought after 1989 has often been noted. However, the degree to which Lévinas underpins Bauman’s ethical imagination has been significantly under-theorised and its consequences for his distinct approach to sociology often overlooked. Reading through Bauman’s first explicit engagement with the thought of Lévinas in 1989, we will first of all attempt to discover how this turn to Lévinas contributed to Bauman’s own ‘sociological theory of morality’ and where the strengths and weaknesses of this turn might lie. However, in order to understand the implications of this development more fully, in the following weeks we will be drawing on the work of both Lévinas himself, and one of Lévinas’ staunchest critics, Alain Badiou. This will allow us to situate Bauman’s thought within some wider debates concerning ethics, evil and the ‘primacy of the Other’. Continue reading

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Diasporas of the Mind, 27.2.14


Presented by the Centre for Jewish Studies, FAHACS, CentreCATH and The Bauman Institute

27 February 2014, 5pm – 7pm

University of Leeds, Old Mining Building, Room 2.01

The book: Diasporas of the Mind: Jewish and Postcolonial writing and the Nightmare of History by Bryan Cheyette was published by Yale University Press in 2013.

The author: Prof. Bryan Cheyette is professor of English Literature at the University of Reading. His teaching and research interests lie in late-nineteenth and twentieth century English literature, modernism and politics, new literatures in English, postcolonial literature, British-Jewish literature, theories of “race” and modernity, and Holocaust literature.

The event: After an introduction by the author, 3 Leeds scholars, Prof. John McLeod, Prof. Max Silverman and Prof. Griselda Pollock, will offer responses to 3 parts of the book.

A general Q & A will follow.

Please book your free ticket via Eventbrite

For more info:

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Zygmunt Bauman delivers the Ernest Jones Lecture 2012: Culture, Identity and Liquid Modernity

baumanInstitute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1EH

Drinks 6.30-7.30pm and Lecture 7.30-9pm

Tickets: £25 including refreshments (click here to book tickets)

In his lecture Professor Zygmunt Bauman will reconsider man’s relationship with his world from the perspective of the stage for which he uses the term  ‘liquid modernity’. Continue reading

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