Speculative Optimism – Creative Writing Project

Notebook and Pen

All the great products, services, experiences and ways of being we see in the world (and the bad ones too), started out as ‘just’ acts of imagination. To make them real, the people who dreamt them up had to bring others on board, raise money to produce things, keep at it when doubts set in – but initially, before all of that – they had to imagine.

Many have seen an opportunity in the ‘pause’ caused by the pandemic, to find ways to ‘Build Back Better’ and tackle the challenges of the future with renewed optimism.

I’m looking for collaborators for a creative project – working title ‘Speculative Optimism’, which aims to stimulate acts of imagination about how we could build back better from where we are now.

Initially, it’s a book (print and electronic) containing a collection of speculative stories about a world which has been built back better after COVID-19 (and/or other stuff that is happening now). All are welcome to participate, as coaching in writing craft / potential co-authoring / services of an editor will be an option for those who are less confident in their writing skills. Writers will be invited to write a short story / poem / other written format piece depicting a potential future from an optimistic standpoint.

But this is no invitation to create Utopian fantasies with no basis in reality. Alongside the invitation to write, contributors will also be given basic training in techniques of Futurism. For example, they will be shown how to collect and interpret ‘signals’ of the future about their chosen topic – real bits of information that already exist about technology, society, trends etc. These will form the raw material from which they can create their speculative optimism piece, which will effectively be a fictionalised forecast about a potential better future.

The format will probably also be extended to include e.g. music, video, visual arts, games / whatever

While what people will produce are ‘just’ works of imagination, they could potentially become real, if people decide to become active in working towards them, so alongside/ after the book, a community platform would be developed inviting collaborative activism/innovation (a self-funding business model would plough back in profits from earlier stages to fund later development of the idea).

Ultimately, the idea could also be turned into a game format, which could either be played ‘for fun’ to help people produce works of speculative optimism, or could form part of a facilitated speculative optimism learning programme for organisations.

I am inviting expressions of interest from writers / editors / other creatives / coaches / mentors / futurists / any skill set that you think could help with the project. Please email sarah@ludogogy.co.uk

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