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Imagination and Climate Futures scholars are engaged in a set of research projects that explore the nature of imagination, in particular the question of how different individuals and groups imagine their climate futures.

The relationship between Imagination and Social Transformation is the topic of an ICF project co-directed by Michele-Lee Moore (Stockholm Resilience Center) and Manjana Milkoreit (Purdue University). This project brings together expertise on imagination and transformation from multiple disciplines with the aim to develop an integrated understanding of imagination as a key variable that may stimulate, support or in other ways shape the success of social-ecological transformations. We are interested in a particular type of imagination: scientifically-informed ideas about the future that inform political decision-making about climate change in the present. In May 2017, the project’s co-leaders ran a workshop for contributors to a forthcoming special feature on Imagination for Transformations to Sustainability with the journal ELEMENTA: Science of the Anthropocene.

ICF is involved in “Gaming Climate Futures”—an interdisciplinary project that develops a novel science-policy engagement process for climate diplomats, focusing on the relationship between global temperature targets and climate tipping points. The project will (1) provide decision-making support for global political actors, enabling climate diplomats them to learn about the relationship between global temperature goals (in particular 1.5°C) and climate tipping points, (2) leverage recent research on effective science-policy engagement strategies to design and conduct a knowledge co-production process centered on a serious game, and (3) study the effectiveness of this engagement process by observing cognitive change among participants as well as long-term effects in the climate negotiations.

Inspired by ICF’s speaker series, featuring Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Kim Stanley Robinson, Manjana Milkoreit has published a on the political power of climate fiction in an edited volume called Reimagining Climate Change and a paper on the relationship between Game of Thrones and pop-cultural mobilization on climate change. A third paper establishes a theoretical framework for understanding the role of imagination in political processes related to climate change.

  • Milkoreit, M. (2016). The Promise of Climate Fiction – Imagination, Storytelling and the Politics of the Future. In Wapner, Paul and Hilal Elver (eds.) Reimagining Climate Change. Routledge Publishing. https://www.routledge.com/products/9781138944268
  • Milkoreit, M. (2017). Pop-cultural Mobilization: Deploying Game of Thrones to shift US Climate Politics. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society.
  • Milkoreit, M. (2017). Imaginary Politics: Climate Change and Making the Future. ELEMENTA: Science of the Anthropocene.