Extraordinary and everyday utopias: shaping shared futures – 11 July 2019
On 11 July 2019 at the Grand Parade campus, the University of Brighton’s Creative Futures theme hosted a one-day symposium based around visions of a utopian future.
The event was entitled ‘Extraordinary and Everyday Utopias: Shaping Shared Futures’ and was co-organised by Dr Jessica Moriarty, Course Leader for Creative Writing BA and MA, and Dr Matthew Adams, Principal Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Science.
The fully-booked symposium brought together academics, students, writers, artists and practitioners from across the world, exploring in various ways how we can imagine better futures. The day was structured around two keynote presentations, and parallel streams incorporating a range of academic and artistic responses to the symposium themes in the morning and afternoon. Speakers included Sohaila Abdulali, activist and author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape; Sophie Lewis, feminist activist and author of Full Surrogacy Nowand Miguel Amortegui, photographer, social commentator and author of Voices of the Jungle.
Dr Moriarty and Dr Adams said: “The day was a great success, exceeding our expectations in terms of the variety of ideas, the impact of the keynote talks, the passion of our presenters, and the liveliness of the conversations. It was a privilege to be able to share a space for engaging with progressive and utopian ideas with our contributors and an engaged audience”.
Murmuration Arts were commissioned to observe, and participate in the day, capturing key themes, before closing the day with an interactive performance which documented and represented those themes back to participants. View a film of their interpretation of some of themes, which formed part of their response.
The symposium included a Q & A with a Routledge commissioning editor, who are keen to publish an edited collection based on the symposium contributions. Dr Adams and Dr Moriarty will be seeking funding for a further event in 2019-20, smaller in scale, to bring together potential contributors to the book. As the book will involve ECRs as well as established researchers, the event will be important for fostering a supportive environment, maintaining momentum, generating a coherent narrative for the project, and establishing networks for further collaboration.
Matt and Jess would like to thank University of Brighton’s Creative Futures for supporting the symposium, particularly Stuart Hedley and Lucy Cooke for their assistance; and members of the University’s Centre for Spatial, Environmental & Cultural Politics (SECP) for their involvement.