Building more just futures calls for interventionist, innovative and fearless thought.
MORE JUST FUTURES
How can we imagine media futures that are more just than the present or the past? What theories and what practices can challenge media hierarchies, resurgent racisms online misogyny? Allied with #metoo, #cripthevote, #communicationsowhite, #sosblakaustralia, #rhodesmustfall, #blacklivesmatter and other movements for change, the More Just Media Futures theme of the Media Futures Hub foregrounds questions of social justice in the context of rapidly transforming communication technologies and proliferating opportunities for voice. From long standing traditions of media activism and critique to emergent interests in decolonising methodologies, the politics of listening and data justice, what are the media practices that foster more just futures? What can be learned from First Nations media, intersectional voices online, and refugee media interventions?
What would a media theory of the future look like? How might theory create concepts that open onto new possibilities for living with media? How is it already doing this? Too often, media and cultural theory is reactive to the events and pressures of the recent past. But it can be much more. The Future Theory resides in the past and present, both to model what theory can be and to explore what it might become. It takes as its starting point the necessity for situated and attentive practices of theory building and casts a sceptical eye on totalising claims that elide difference, re-instantiate dubious hierarchies or rejected out of hand the knowledges of those outside the mainstream. Future Theory is unruly and earnest, imaginative and rigorous, ambitious and capacious; it looks for collaborative concept building, not the assertion of closed systems. Future Theory is about thinking-feeling into where media is going before we arrive to find the place in ruins.
What is happening outside the immediate concerns of the Global North? What events, formations and issues remain largely invisible, or under-studied? How do dominant scholarly preoccupations and Euro-American frameworks obscure pressing concerns in locations and communities of the Global South? Decolonizing Futures thinks with insights from critical race studies, Indigenous studies, postcolonial studies and the coloniality/modernity framework. From data colonialism to the dumping of electronic waste, the international division of digital labour to the creative ways (‘jugaad’) adopted by the global poor to access and use technological resources, and emerging technologies and socio-political change, Decolonizing Futures examines developments in the Global South through decolonial vocabularies, research projects, and methodologies.
In a fast-changing world facing evolving challenges, continual methodological improvement is required to tackle the speed of emergent media practices, forms and formats. We need creative, innovative and experimental methodologies that can help us not only understanding these phenomena but also intervene with a future-oriented and justice-centered approach. From digital ethnography and critical data studies to visual, sensing and activist research approaches, new methodologies call for interdisciplinary, collaborative and collective strategies. The Future Methods theme explores the creation, tailoring, expansion and discussion of current methodological limits and proposals and aims to expand the methodological toolkit and future orientations to research.