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How I’m Using Imagining Liberatory Education Futures

June 21, 2022

Guest post by Dr. Cheryl Doig

Imagining Liberatory Education Futures makes a critical contribution to education and imagining a better world. What makes this forecast and these scenarios especially powerful is their applicability and connection globally.

Even from the other side of the world these scenarios resonated, as did the tensions that exist. This reinforced for me the intertwined nature of the conversation regarding systems change and the need for a bold vision, even while working to change the current system.  

The secret in reading scenarios is not choosing one that you seem to prefer but considering the whole picture, the deeper questions related to underpinning beliefs and values, and then to explore the current state and future states.

Four scenarios sit on a matrix with axes of low to high social cohesion and low to high responsiveness of public institutions. The scenarios are: A) Education Liberation Commons Grow at the Speed of Trust; B) Care-Based Ecosystems Provide Vibrant Social Infrastructure; C) Liberatory Education Thrives in Micro-Structures; and D) Economic-Driven Pathways Bypass Liberation.
The scenarios matrix from Imagining Liberatory Education Futures

Each scenario holds glimpses of today’s world, and I found myself asking:  

  • In what ways is each scenario already being exhibited?  
  • What don’t I like about each scenario and why?  
  • What opportunities might exist in each scenario?  
  • What might be some unintended consequences of each scenario?  
  • How do my own beliefs underpin my interaction to each scenario?
  • What are the key ideas that might collectively drive liberatory education forward and what action can we take in our context? 

The scenarios provide real depth, coming alive through the persona voices and with the scenario highlights providing a useful summary.  

The “Signals of Change” section provides interesting examples relevant to the USA context but provides good examples of scenarios in action to get us thinking about our context. Real examples and stories help deepen our understanding. I’d love to work with our local futures team to identify some signals relevant to the New Zealand context, especially from an Indigenous perspective. I am also going to dive back into the futures scenarios developed by Tokona te Raki, the Māori Futures Collective, as I suspect I will see some real alignment and perhaps open up a whole new range of conversations. 

The online resource is extremely well set out, with lots to explore and a simplicity to design that helps focus on the complexity of the issue. This forecast is a powerful tool for considering the future we want and to drive the emergence of robust, anti-oppressive education structures within our context. I hope people appreciate how much research and thinking has gone into the creation of Imagining Liberatory Education Futures. Now it is up to us to use it as a catalyst for conversation and change.

Imagine liberatory education futures in your own context.


About Dr. Cheryl Doig

Dr. Cheryl Doig is a leadership futurist, weaver and connector. She lives in Ōtautahi, Christchurch a small city in Āotearoa, New Zealand. Cheryl has a passion for growing futures thinking and strategic foresight through her company, Think Beyond

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