Climaginaries is a three-year research project initiated in September 2018, financed through the Swedish research council FORMAS. The overarching aim of Climaginaries is to advance the understanding of imaginaries as means through which to catalyse the forms of political, economic, and social responses required for transitioning to a post-fossil society. Through different techniques of imagination, from modelling and scenario techniques to experimentations, visions of societal transformation and cultural representations (e.g. literature, film, art), we will explore the transformative capacity of imaginaries; how compelling narratives are told, and how they can shape and enable efforts to confront climate change. The project is structured around three components:
1 - Advancing the research field
The first goal of the research project is to advance the research field itself. First, we will establish a science hub around climate imaginaries through which thoughts and ideas easily can be exchanged and elaborated on. To further enhance collaboration within the field we will host conferences and symposia as well as arrange research exchanges with other institutions around the world. Having established a Climaginaries hub we will develop an integrated framework on the transformative capacity of imaginaries and a methodology for using the framework in specific cases.
2 - Building the Evidence Base
In the second component of the project we conduct a scoping of the field and collect data of a large variety of cases representing different techniques of imagination: Modelling and Scenarios, Experiments, Visions and Pathways, and Cultural Representations. Based on the scoping we analyse the content and means of representation of the imaginaries, and explore what they offer in terms of transformative capacity. By engaging with different audiences in creative ways such as through interactive reading groups, exhibition events and workshops, we explore the effectiveness of how particular imaginaries are staged and performed. In this component we also conduct case studies on three sites where multiple techniques of imagination come together. The findings of these studies will be published in peer-review journals.
3 - Enabling New Climate Imaginaries
Lastly, the project aims at enabling new ways of envisioning transitions to a post-fossil world. In this component we turn to the cultural realm to explore creative ways of producing imaginaries that go beyond conventional climate efforts. Through a series of activities, scholars and artists will be brought together to enable the development of new climate imaginaries. Activities could include, but are not limited to, writing climate fiction based on modelling, and modelling climate fiction based on imaginaries in literature, art, TV-series and cinema. Additionally, we will collaborate with local artist-in-residence to produce innovative forms of new imaginaries. The exact form for this is yet to be decided on, but could include an exhibition, an installation or a theatre performance. The creative characteristic of this component also allows us to study imaginaries outside the common framework such as radical and unsustaianble imaginaries.