Who gets to imagine the future?

At Joseph Rowntree Foundation we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the work we want to do over the next year. We’ll be talking more in due course about the overall programme, but today I want to share some reflections on the concept of social imagination, and how we can grow our collective ability to imagine a future that is both environmentally and socially just. Social imagination, or collective imagination, is a nascent field of work, and we are beginning to scope out what role JRF might play alongside others in nurturing and growing this field, as part of the Emerging Futures work I’m heading up. We’re looking for partners and fellow travellers, so if you read this and want to be more involved, we’d love to hear from you.

The landscape in which JRF does its work to tackle poverty is shifting. A decade or more of rising inequality, flatlining wages, profound changes to the housing market, ageing populations and increased precarity all call for fresh perspectives on what is needed to solve poverty. And indeed the next decade is likely to see even more dramatic shifts in that landscape, thanks to the global effort to address rising temperatures.

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