Summer Futures Reading, Remembering Eleonora Masini, and more

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Volume 8,
Number 7
June 29, 2022

New Books in Foresight

Taking a break? Catch up on your future-oriented reading with a few new and forthcoming books that caught our eye, covering the economy, urban planning, notable biographies, and more.

For science-fiction fans, Business Insider’s Reviews notes the most popular titles of 2022 so far, according to Goodreads users, including The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan, Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, The Starless Crown by James Rollin, and Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi.

In Memoriam: Eleonora Masini

Pioneering futurist and sociologist Eleonora Barbieri Masini died June 28, reports her son Federico Masini. She was 93. Eleonora was “the soul of futures studies,” writes Javier Vitale of the Center for Prospective Studies, UNCUYO.

Born in Guatemala, Eleonora lived and worked primarily in Italy, where she stretched her training and professional work in the law and sociology to help develop the emerging field of futures studies. She was professor of futures studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Gregorian University, from 1976 to 2004.

Among her many futures affiliations were the World Futures Studies Federation (president from 1980 to 1990), The Millennium Project (founding Node chair for Italy, 1998), World Academy of Art & Science, the Club of Rome, and the World Future Society.

Tributes from members of her extensive networks have noted Eleonora’s kindness, grace, wisdom, patience, and warmth, as well as her positive vision and efforts for the future of women and for women in futurism. [See biography at WFSF]

News and Moves in the Field

  • Meeting: The International Institute of Forecasters will hold its 2022 International Symposium on Forecasting July 10-13 in Oxford, England. In addition to the symposium program of keynotes and practitioners’ presentations, the event offers workshops on deep learning, forecasting with neural networks, judgment in forecasting, and more. Registration (virtual or in-person) here. [Learn more]
  • Competition: Applications close July 14 for the 2022 Next Generation Foresight Practitioner—Young Voices award, sponsored by the School of International Futures and Teach the Future. Entrants ages 12 to 17 must submit “a brief bio, a 400-word essay and a 2m 30s video describing what the young person has done or plans to do to anticipate and create change in their community.” [Learn more]
  • Education: The School of Communication and Public Affairs at Oral Roberts University is launching a 48-credit Doctor of Strategic Leadership program this August that includes a 9-credit concentration in Strategic Foresight. [Submitted by Jay Gary, PhD, program director and lead professor. Learn more]
  • Communications: Houston Futures has launched a new video series to help disseminate programs and information from the University of Houston’s futures studies program. Hosted by program director Andy Hines and research director Laura Schlehuber, the videos will be released every two weeks, featuring interviews “with other futurists on all the fun topics.” [Learn more]
  • Encyclopedia entry: The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible, edited by Vlad Petre Glăveanu, has published WFSF Executive Director Victor Vahidi Motti’s article on “Futures Studies.” The main purpose of futures studies, he explains, “is to discover and master the complex chains of cause and effect through conceptualization, systemic approach, and feedback loops, ultimately providing innovation in the social and technological fields.” [Learn more]
  • Honors: The 2022 Core77 Design Award has named Stuart Candy and Ceda Verbakel winners of the Speculative Design Award. Their “Imagination is a Commons” project focused on using “experiential futures to bring a conversation about long-range alternative pathways for global development to life for the U.N. Development Programme.” [Learn more]
  • Fundraiser: World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) is raising funds to create a documentary commemorating its forthcoming 50th anniversary. The anniversary celebration will be held September 2023 in Paris, where the organization was founded in 1973 “as a global network of leading futurists.” The documentary will be produced in partnership with the TExT-TUBE Futures Studios, established by WFSF Fellow Member Dr. David Lindsay-Wright. [Learn more]
  • Foresight resources: The Futures School has compiled a list of international government offices devoted to foresight work. See “Strategic Foresight in Government” by Ashley Bowers, The Futures School (posted June 1, 2022).

Listen: Wales Reconsiders the Future

“Imagine a country where everyone is paid enough to truly live.” That is the theme of “Reconsidering Future,” a poem featured in Future Generations for Wales Commissioner’s video promoting the Universal Basic Income pilot program. The program aims to help support young adults leaving the foster care system.

Poet-in-residence Taylor Edmonds is joined by other voices across Wales, envisioning a version of the future in which “your mother doesn’t take a second job, no 50-hour week and empty seat at the table, without the weight of night shifts on her back.” [Watch on Youtube]

Just for Fun: Wordling Stories

Do you play Wordle, the online game now managed by the New York Times? This test of your five-letter-word vocabulary gives you six chances to guess the word of the day. With each guess, the program highlights the correct letters in the correct place, correct letters in the incorrect place, and letters that are not in the word at all.

While the puzzle-solving process can fire up the left side of the brain, I challenged myself to fire up the right side by using my guessed words in flash poems or micro-stories. Not all have been successful as poetry, but it seemed a shame to waste words! (Bonus points if we can turn our Wordles into scenarios.)

SeeStories My Words Tell” on my blog. —CGW

Signal Thoughts

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”
William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, Act III, Scene 5


Edited August 15, 2022, to correct source of Signal Thoughts.