26 January, 2016

Guest Lecture - Dr. Olivia Bina (U. Lisbon), Mind the Gap: Our future imagined in popular art and in the Grand Societal Challenges

The Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning welcomes Dr. Olivia Bina 

Tuesday, 23 February 2016, 12:30 -14:00
Campus Belval, Maison des Sciences Humaines, Black Box

European science policy (so-called Horizon 2020) is guided by Grand Societal Challenges (GSCs) with the explicit aim of shaping the future. In this talk I propose an innovative approach to the analysis and critique of Europe’s GSCs. As part of a task within FP7 project FLAGSHIP I ask: what do imagined futures and challenges within fiction (novels and films) have to say about our policy-defined challenges, and why does it matter?

The aim is to explore how speculative and creative fiction offer ways of embodying, telling, imagining, and symbolizing ‘futures’, that can provide alternative frames and understandings to enrich the grand challenges of the 21st century, and the related rationale and agendas for ERA and H2020. There are six ways in which filmic and literary representations can be considered creative foresight methods, providing alternative perspectives on these central challenges, and warning signals for the science policy they inform. As well as, potentially for our futures.

I will highlight how fiction sees oppression, inequality and a range of ethical issues linked to the dignity of humans and nature, as central to, and inseparable from innovation, technology and science. I conclude identifying warning signals in four major domains, arguing that these signals are compelling, and ought to be heard, not least because elements of such future have already escaped the imaginary world to make part of today’s experience. I identify areas poorly defined or absent from Europe’s science agenda, question our technoscience agenda and argue for the need to increase research into human, social, political and cultural processes involved in techno-science endeavours.

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