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

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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