A year ago, I created a series of Youtube short films each with a different future visioning session on topics ranging from The Future of..Celebrity, to Storytelling, to the Weather. These films were made daily over several weeks following the pattern established by teenage Youtubers and in the run up to ESRC Festival of Social Science. I had promised to run a live online visioning session as part of this festival and each short film was a trial / build-up to the main event.
In the making of each film, I would start with breakfast while thinking about a new theme for the day – looking out the window or considering current issues in my life (hence, the Future of pets, death, money, marriage). I would edit my narration script so that visioners (people who do a visioning session) would experience something that hinted at the future of these but without assuming anything. The narratives are deliberately stripped back, intentionally bare of suggestion or assumption to allow people to experience their imagined future. People go to such different places in their minds that the narrative needs to work for each of them, wherever they might be. For example, when I want people to travel in their imagined world, I do not say ‘you walk’ because they may be floating in a spacesuit. I say ‘you move’ or ‘you explore’.
I’m not the most natural of presenters, so the films are a bit awkward. My cat miaows in several of them, someone knocks on the door. But once in the flow of the narration, I ignored it all, hoping that the person doing the visioning session would be so immersed in their imagined world, that they would not notice. I posted a new film up each day and then waited to see what happened to them.
12 months later and the short films reside still on the VisioningLab Youtube channel. I have watched with interest to see how they do. Each film has a small number of views (lowest is the Future of the Weather (I suppose this is something we cannot change), the highest is the Future of Post-PhD life – this was commissioned by the North West Doctoral Training Programme for their PhD students). Accumulatively, they have about 1500 views. I have suggested to friends and colleagues that they do a session – some have and said that they did stimulate a future vision that ‘very powerful’. So they do ‘work’. Very few people leave comments on the Youtube pages. I wonder why.
The exploration into future visioning continues…
If you are intrigued and would like to do a visioning session, you can find them all here