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Environmental Futures - from multiple epistemologies to mixed methods and diverse results (present-perform-reflect) 
Ludwig Weh (Fraunhofer IMW)
Christine Richter (Fraunhofer IMW)
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Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Diverse ways of knowing inform how we imagine environmental changes of the future, from empirical assessment to creative, speculative, more-than-human and non-Western approaches. This panel inquires underlying epistemologies and methods translating them into diverse images of environmental futures.

Long Abstract:

Environmental futures have integrated biophysical, socioeconomic, cultural and also political values in anticipating anthropogenic changes to the natural environment. Scientific fields such as geo- and biosciences, sustainability research, human ecology and also STS and futures studies have combined their methodologies to diversify this practice for better applicable results in praxis and stakeholder context.

When creating nature futures, underlying epistemologies may include: rational-analytical / empirical-predictive; ethical-normative / activist-emancipatory, creative-aesthetic / cultural-interpretative, visionary-imaginative / open-explorative, utopian-speculative / critical-poststructural.

Their methodological translations may include: data-based forecasts; ecosystem scenarios within integrated environmental assessments; cultural nature-futures; climate action research; environmental design futures; more-than-human, multi-species and non-human futures; climate fiction, solar punk; mixed-media, design- and art-based futures; interactive exhibitions or performances; non-Western ways of knowing like Indigenous practices.

To explore the epistemic range, methodical variety and diverse forms and expressions of environmental futures, this Combined Format Open Panel proposes a threefold structure:

- Session 1 (panel) invites a selected number of conference papers as case studies, innovative research projects and conceptual and methodical designs (science-art, quantitative-qualitative, biophysical-socioeconomic-cultural, design-based, …). These papers will encourage dialogue across disciplinary boundaries and illustrate epistemic and methodical continuities between different ways of knowing in creating environmental futures.

- Session 2 (interactive performance) will use elements of science theater as performative, co-creative, participatory approach to experiencing and reflecting anthropogenic impacts on nature:

- Session 3 (workshop) will apply Causal Layered Analysis to open a reflexive space, questioning worldviews and underlying assumptions revealed in sessions 1 and 2. Tracing and critically reviewing the process of scientific knowledge production in environmental futures, its epistemic, methodical and outcome layers will be deconstructed and reframed/reconstructed for novel, integrative perspectives on making environmental futures.

Submissions are welcome as regular conference papers (session 1) and art-based/performative interventions (session 2); session 3 will be moderated by the organizers.

Accepted contributions: