The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) marked its 10th anniversary with a series of events in Toronto during late July, most of which I attended. Among them was an evening get together in the Distillery District during which time a number of awards were presented. One of these was a Most Important Futures Work (MIFW) for my 2010 book, The Biggest Wake-Up Call in History. In the book I reviewed the global predicament, some of the strategies proposed to address it and possible ways forward in what look like increasingly impossible times. (Further details are in earlier posts; about a dozen reviews can be found on the Foresight International site, where the book can be purchased.)
The relevant award category was ‘published works that analyse a significant futures issue.’ The other publication thus honoured was Tim Jackson’s stimulating Prosperity Without Growth. It is indeed an honour to be recognised by the APF and to share the limelight, as it were, with such a ground-breaking work. The award may, in turn, make it a little easier to work toward a second edition and mainstream publication. Sincere thanks are due to all those who were involved in this year’s selection process.
As part of the preparation for WFS and APF events in Toronto at the end of July, I’ve gathered together a number of resources that are relevant to sessions I’m taking part in. There are obviously other resources on the other three sites I administer, but I thought it useful to assemble some of the most relevant items in one place. They are filed on the Toronto Resources page under: Education Bootcamp, APF, ‘Megacrisis’ session, Bio and Other Items.
I’ve added a new section where I’ll be placing appreciations of colleagues or friends who have died. The first of these is for Prof. Allen Tough with whom I worked for some years.
This is the title of a new section. Over time I’ll be adding images and commentary on these two fascinating and closely- linked subjects. If you’re at all interested in either I hope you’ll enjoy the result and perhaps take a little more time next you pass some unexpected work on the street.
As a change from my more serious work on futures here are the front and back covers of my 2012 calendar. This is the second year I’ve produced one. Currently they are not for sale. Next year, however, I’ll be taking orders from September or October for the 2013 one. Watch this space for further details.
Notes on 2012 Bird Calendar (To open click here)
I’ve just put links to two clips of this short video from 1996 on the Futures in Education page, along with an introduction and paper that tells the story in a little more detail. Briefly, I was involved in designing and implementing a new upper secondary school subject called Futures – Personal, Social, Global. The subject was successfully trialled in a number of Queensland schools and the early evaluations were positive. But then the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies (BSSSS) was reorganised and, somewhere in the shuffle, the new subject was abandoned.
I invite you to look at the clips, read the short paper and arrive at your own conclusions.
This new book will be published by Foresight International in early 2012 in soft cover and pdf, with eBook to follow. Following the publication of The Biggest Wake-Up Call in History I decided to re-visit my personal archive of previously published articles, papers and chapters. Over a couple of months I pulled together several folders on a number of topics, one of which was Integral Futures. That was as far as it went until I read an outstanding paper by Terry Collins and Andy Hines on The evolution of integral futures – a status update (World Future Review, 2, 3, 2010 pp 5-16, WFS, Bethesda, M.D.). Here is how they described it.
Integral Futures is an approach to futures studies that adapted Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory to futures practice. Integral Theory is not exclusively the domain of Wilber, but he is its leading exponent and was central in popularising the idea. The domain is expanding with new voices and ideas increasingly contributing to the conversation. A key concept underlying Integral Theory is to include as many perspectives, styles, and methodologies as possible when exploring a topic.
In their overview they provide a valuable timeline of work carried out by various people over a decade or so and, in that light, it seemed to me to be time to pull some of my own contributions together and to make them available in one place. This I’ve now done. Andy Hines has been across these developments since he visited us at the Australian Foresight Institute a year or two after teaching had commenced (in 2003) and has proven to be a discriminating and clear-eyed participant observer. So I was particularly grateful that he provided us with a Foreword to the new book. It is reproduced below with his permission, along with my own Introduction and a list of Contents. In making this work newly available I’m not expecting that it will be a best seller. I do hope, however, that it will be of some value to those who are interested in new and empowering perspectives that can and are being brought to bear on the global emergency. In my own case some of the emerging concepts, methods, perspectives and so on have certainly provided me with ‘fresh eyes’ and many new insights. Let us bear in mind, however, that integral theory, integral futures – futures of any variety at all – are of little use unless they help to shed new light upon, motivate new actions to deal with, the new realities that surround us on every side and challenge us to our very core.
Foreword by Andy Hines (To open click here)
Introduction (To open click here)
Contents (To open click here)
Partly as a tribute to Hedley Beare (see below) and partly because the issues raised in the earlier edition are at least as significant today as they were in the early 1990s, a revised and updated edition of this book can now be obtained from the FI site. The book, which has long been out of print, has been re-constituted from original pre-publication files. Besides a new introduction it contains new figures and appendices. The latter includes three reviews of the original book, a brief rationale for futures in education, a short ‘op ed’ piece published in The Age newspaper, a personal tribute to Hedley Beare and, finally, a short reflection piece that considers the book in the light of subsequent developments.
As the world slowly becomes aware of the global emergency humanity has created for itself, I hope that works of this kind will be taken up and used more widely. PDFs are available from the FI site: http://www.foresightinternational.com.au/
To read the 2011 Introduction to Education for the 21st Century Revisited Click here
The results of this years ‘all-time best futurists’ as voted upon by Foresight Network Members are in. They are in no particular order: Alvin Toffler, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Slaughter, and Sohail Inayatullah. There was a draw for third place so we have not split hairs and recommended to the FN Board that we accept four new Laurel Awards. Sincere appreciation to you all for your mega contributions.
The biographies of the four new recipients will shortly appear on the Foresight Network website. They join Hazel Henderson, Jim Dator and Joe Coates who were the first recipients in 2009 and Richard “Bucky” Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), Herman Kahn (1922-1983), Donella Meadows (1941-2001), Jules Verne (1828-1905), H G (Herbert George) Wells (1866-1946) who were given posthumous Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Board this year.
In early December I was surprised and honoured to receive the above message from the Foresight Network of the on-line Futures community, Shaping Tomorrow.* Several weeks later I’m still not quite sure what to say except a profound ‘thank you.’ I think it was Fabienne Goux-Baudiment who wrote a short piece a few years ago about the difficulties of being a Futurist / Foresight practitioner. You basically do what you do because you believe in it, heart and soul, not because you expect any thanks, rewards or prizes. So it is a rare pleasure to know that one’s peers have seen fit to award this honour and I thank each of those who took part
A tribute to Hedley Beare, colleague, friend and mentor, who died in September 2010 has been added to the Futures in Education page. I’ve also decided to re-edit and revise our book Education for the 21st Century, partly as a further tribute to Hedley and also to make this later version available to a new generation of educators. Re-reading the pre-publication manuscript that we produced together not only brought back fond memories of working with him, it also reminded me of some of the themes we’d tackled – themes that have only grown more extreme and urgent since then.
As a ‘taster’ of what will soon re-emerge I’ve also added a short ‘op ed’ piece I wrote for the Melbourne newspaper, The Age, in 1997. It points out some of the fundamental contradictions of school systems that readily address ‘the future’ rhetorically and as window-dressing but, thus far, have failed abysmally to understand (a) how central the futures dimension is to every aspect of education and (b) how the approaching global emergency undermines more conservative and traditional approaches.