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What's Futures Literacy?

We use the future every day: we predict, we fear and we hope. The future, however does not exist, she exists only in our imagination. When we use the future, we anticipate and how we anticipate matters, since it changes the present. For something that has such a deep impact on how we act and think in our daily lives, we know very little about how we use the future.

Futures Literacy, developed within UNESCO, is the capability of imagining diverse and multiple futures, and using futures as lenses through which we look at the present anew. (Miller, 2018). When we only use the past and the present to make decisions and make sense of the world, we might be overlooking important emerging phenomena. By expanding ways we use the future, we can integrate complexity in our choices and uncertainty will become something that we can appreciate, even embrace. One approach to acquiring these skills is through Futures Literacy Labs.

These learning by doing/action-research workshops enable participants to reveal, reframe and rethink the assumptions they use to imagine the future. Since the future doesn't exist and is unpredictable in itself, we are only capable of examining our anticipatory systems, the systems that help us make sense of the present. Running FL Labs is an effective way of testing hypotheses about the attributes and impact of FL.

About

UNESCO Chair on Futures Literacy at Hanze University of Applied Sciences

As Chair we commit ourselves to the implementation of Futures Literacy in Higher Education through research and a wide range of practices. The development of these programs, the lessons learnt, the tools for evaluation and the carefully designed principles, have put the UNESCO Chair at Hanze at the top of global educators regarding futures literacy. More and more students, and professionals from all over the world find their way to our programs. The Chair has become a leading voice of advice in long term learning trajectories due to experience in mapping learning journeys in futures literacy.

Our Team

Our Objectives

Our Team

  1. Loes Damhof

    Loes Damhof

    FL Expert/Speaker/Consultant

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    Loes Damhof got elected Lecturer of the Year 2016 of all higher education in The Netherlands for her innovative practices and passion for teaching. She was awarded with the first Comenius award which she used for implementing Futures Literacy in higher ed. In addition to her research and teaching practices, Loes consults and trains staff of international organizations as FutureWomenX, OneResilientEarth, UNESCO, UNFCCC, ClimateKIC, CIFS, MOTI and Oxfam. She hosts FLLabs around the globe that challenge and raise fundamental questions on gender equality, decolonization, migration, climate change and technology. She is a member of the World Futures Studies Federation and a Fellow at Hawkwood College, UK

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  2. Elles Kazemier

    Elles Kazemier

    FL Trainer/Senior Lecturer Professional Development

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    Elles is a senior lecturer Professional development at HUAS, Groningen and an expert in innovative curriculum design and faculty development. She’s an expert on professional, hybrid, learning environments, on faculty development and always on the lookout for possibilities to enhance co-creative learning and interdisciplinary problem solving. In addition to her work on Futures Literacy, she works as a coach in one of Hanze’s research and knowledge centres, a member of the research group Learning in Heterogene groups, a trainer in COL’s. Previuosly she codesigned, conducted and researched the in service training A teachers road to excellence for honours teaching. She worked as a trainer and assessor of the Basic Didactics programs at Hanze for 5 years.

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  3. Jitske J Gulmans

    Jitske J Gulmans

    FL Expert/Senior Lecturer Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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    Jitske is a senior lecturer Innovation & Applied Science at HUAS and responsible for education in both Bachelor and Master programs in Social Work & Healthy Ageing. She is dedicated to contribute to professional learning and development, both at the individual level as well as in teams and organizations. Her current research focuses on Professional Identity in relation to Change Agency in innovation and transition contexts. Currently she conducts research into the relationship between FL and the Key Competencies for Sustainability (KCS) and teacher education.

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  4. Ramila Khafaji Zadeh

    Ramila Khafaji Zadeh

    FL Expert/Consultant

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    Ramila is a trainer and designer in Futures Literacy Labs at the Hanze UAS and a member of the UNESCO Chair Futures Literacy. She works on projects and assignments close to industry and develops new concepts on the integration of Design Thinking into Futures Literacy Labs. Her experience with (health) governance and entrepreneurship has been a valuable addition to the field of Futures Literacy. She has extensive experience in leading FLLabs in governance projects and social innovations, ranging from local municipalities to the Prime Minister's office of UAE. Her latest project is training educational institutes for Oxfam in Nigeria and Somaliland. In addition to her work on Futures Literacy, she works as a policy advisor for local municipalities

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  5. Petra Cremers

    Petra Cremers

    Researcher/Educational Consultant

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    Petra is a researcher at the department Research & Education at Hanze UAS and the Unesco Chair Futures Literacy. Her dissertation on 'Designing hybrid learning configurations at the interface between school and workplace' has been the foundation for the development of 'Innovative workplaces' at Hanze UAS. Besides advising on educational innovation and arts-based research methodology, she is currently conducting research on transformative learning processes, identity work and Futures Literacy (FL). Currently she conducts research into the relationship between FL and the Key Competencies for Sustainability (KCS) and teacher education

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  6. Paul Beenen

    Paul Beenen

    Principal Lecturer Healthy Ageing/Chairholder

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    Dr. Paul Beenen holds the UNESCO chair on futures literacy at the Hanze University. He is also leading an interprofessional transition master Healthy Ageing Professional. This ‘transition’ master has a purpose to reposition and organise care for health in society towards a sustainable future and to develop congruent and critical educational strategies and methods. He has worked in health services and education as a practitioner, researcher and pioneer for the last20 years. He is in the lead in various international projects, aiming at interprofessional development and the entwinement of practice, research and education. In this he combines local action withan international orientation.

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Our Objectives

  1. Research & Design

    Research & Design

    To conduct research into the design principles of these learning spaces and the impact of these activities.

  2. Teach & Learn

    Teach & Learn

    To make higher education, society and beyond more futures literate, step by step, day by day.

  3. Build & Sustain

    Build & Sustain

    To build and sustain a resilient community that enhances that capability by embracing complexity and uncertainty.

Activities

All activities support the enhancement of Futures Literacy in Higher Education and beyond

Since the Futures Literacy Intensive Program in 2016 the Team at Hanze has expanded her activities with research and development, training programs and long term projects and parterships. The overaching aim is to empower the next generation and to foster resilience and openness to emergence in higher education and beyond.

Projects

Research & Development

Training

Publications

Research & Development

  1. Art inspired reflection

    Art inspired reflection

    Research on learning processes

    Research on learning processes and impact of FL labs within the FLxDeep project, using images as metaphors for reflection by participants. In collaboration with University of Turku. See Martin Richards (2020): ‘Crafting Magic Mirrors for Time Travellers. Designing Visual Metaphor Miro Exercises for Deepening Futures Literacy’.

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  2. FL and Identity Work

    FL and Identity Work

    Research On Impact

    Research on the impact of the FL Intensive Program (2 iterations (2018 and 2019, including an FLLab) through participants’ reflections and criterium based interviews in combination with identity work. (FLIP). Outcomes are disseminated within Hanze UAS, partners, and will be published in a chapter of ‘Identity Work in Higher Education’ with partners from higher education institutes in the Netherlands and Belgium – in progress.

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  3. FL and SDG Capabilities

    FL and SDG Capabilities

    Research on Learning Outcomes

    Research on learning outcomes and learning processes of the program Mastering Futures Literacy (2020-2021), investigating relationships and potential mutual reinforcement of FL capability and Key Sustainability Competencies (UNESCO). Data analysis in progress.

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  4. Educational strategies

    Educational strategies

    Research on FL and Value Creation

    Research on design principles, educational strategies and impact of the program ‘Mastering Futures Literacy’ (2019-2020), using the Value Creation Framework (Wenger, Trayner & De Laat 2011). Published in Futures: Kazemier, Damhof, Gulmans & Cremers (2021)

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  5. Impact & Design principles

    Impact & Design principles

    Research Erasmus project FUTURES

    Research on the impact and design principles of the Futures Literacy Online Intensive Program (2020 including an FLLab) through participants’ reflections and a questionnaire on the embodiment of the design principles within the programme. Publication in progress in collaboration with partners of the Erasmus Project Future laboratories for professional and personal development – FUTURES

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Publications

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  1. Mastering Futures Literacy: Rethinking teaching in societal transformations

    [Paper Presentation] by Kazemier, E.M., Damhof, L., Gulmans, J. & Cremers, P.H.M. (2021, June 8-9)

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  2. Facilitating Identity Work in Futures Literacy training programs

    [Paper, Abstract, Workshop] by Cremers, P.H.M. & Gulmans, J. (2021, June 8-9)

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  3. Mastering Futures Literacy in Higher Education

    [Article] by Kazemier, E.M., Damhof, L., Gulmans, J. & Cremers, P.H.M.

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  4. Learning in complexity is walking a fine line: how anticipation for emergence can help us

    [Workshop] by Damhof, L., Kazemier, E.M. & Khafaji Zadeh, R. (2021, June 8-9

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  5. Anticipation for emergence: Defining, designing and refining futures literacy in higher education

    [Article] by Damhof, L., Kazemier, E., Gulmans, J., Cremers, P, Doornbos, A. & Beenen, P. (2020).

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  6. Using the future: Embracing uncertainty, improving decision-making and democratising tomorrow

    [Article] by Damhof, L. (2020). Can we teach futures like we teach history? In: Larsen, N. (Ed.)

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  7. De tijd om van de toekomst te leren is nu

    [Dutch, Blog] by Damhof, Loes and Paul Beenen

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  8. Futures Literacy: Leren van de toekomst

    [Dutch, Article] by Damhof, L. & Kazemier, E.M. (2019)

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Training

  1. Mastering Futures Literacy

    Mastering Futures Literacy

    Face-to-face three module online course (Dutch spoken)

    A face-to-face three module course for faculty and educational consultant and professionals. Building blocks are a Futures Literacy Lab, deep dive into theoretical framework, design and facilitation of a lab and the implementation and contextualization of FL (Dutch spoken).

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  2. Futures Literacy Online Program

    Futures Literacy Online Program

    15 hours online program for professionals and researchers

    An international intensive 15 hours online program for professionals and researchers. Building blocks are a Futures Literacy Lab, an introduction to Riel Miller's framework and the design of a Futures Literacy Intervention

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  3. FLDeep

    FLDeep

    15 hours online program for professionals and researchers

    An international intensive 15 hours online program for professionals and researchers. A follow up to the FLOP and a deep dive into the theory on anticipatory assumptions and processes and the application of the framework.

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  4. Futures Literacy Intensive Program

    Futures Literacy Intensive Program

    Two-week program for master students and professionals

    An f2f international two week intensive program for master students and professionals. Building blocks are a Futures Literacy Lab, a theoretical deep dive and the application of design and facilitation skills in a FLLab

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Community

Futures Literacy is best practiced and learned in relationship with others. Our partners and alumni keep the community alive.

The Community stretches beyond the Chair's network partners and consist of alumni and friends of the Global Futures Literacy Network. Read the experiences of past events in our Testimonials and check out our upcoming events and the stories of our fellow travelers!

Events

Network

Testimonials

Testimonials

  1. The emergence of futures literacy, the HUAS Virtual FLIP Course and a Futures Literacy Laboratory for Novelty facilitated by Ms. Damhof, have given us a better terminology, vocabulary, and processes to democratize the future and ways to approach clients and partnerships more holistically. As such, new avenues of collaborations have opened and we are currently exploring how to anchor futures literacy with museums and in the educational system.
    The emergence of futures literacy, the HUAS Virtual FLIP Course and a Futures Literacy...

    Nicklas Larsen

    Senior Advisor, CIFS

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  2. Futures Literacy has had a profound impact on me as a person and professional, and I firmly believe it should be main stream thinking in higher education. Look at today's situation in times of corona: we perceive the new situation through old lenses (the horseless carriage metaphor). We have known for years that one-way knowledge transfer does not work, but what are we doing now? We translate this conventional way of learning to an online version, which only reinforces it’s shortcomings. I see little evidence that we have really learned anything from the insights that this reframe has given us. We are still trapped in the existing paradigm. That’s why, especially in these times, Futures Literacy is not only an essential skill for students, but for the Higher Education institutes as well.
    Futures Literacy has had a profound impact on me as a person and professional, and I firmly believe...

    Rob Verhofstad

    Principal Executive Board HAN

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  3. As a historian I have learned from the past, as a meditator I have learned to stay in the here and now and that’s a gift (that’s why it’s called the present☺), but Futures literacy gives me the ability to view the future in multiple ways and that’s a real gift.
    As a historian I have learned from the past, as a meditator I have learned...

    Robin van den Berg

    Director IT Academy Noord-Nederland

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Contact

Want to know more, do more or experience more? Feel free to reach out!

Whether you want to use our services for a Futures Literacy Lab, follow a training or explore collaborations, we are always open for a conversation. Please fill in the contact form and we get back to you asap. Want to reach out to us directly? Please use info@futuresliteracy.net.

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