This activity was developed by Jane Pirone and Barbara Adams for a series of speculative storytelling workshops titled “Collective Effervescence”. All artwork by Jane Pirone.”

Barbara Adams is a sociologist whose interdisciplinary research looks at how knowledge is produced and political action is initiated through art and design projects. Barbara co-edited the book Design as Future-Making and is co-editor in chief of the journal Design and Culture. She is Assistant Professor of Design and Social Justice at Parsons School of Design and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Wesleyan University.

Jane Pirone is an Associate Professor of Design Ecologies at Parsons School of Design where they served as Dean of the School of Design Strategies from 2015-2019 and as Director of the Communication Design program from 2006-2011. Jane’s creative and transdisciplinary practice engages with living systems, storytelling, participatory futures, and new technologies from critical, queer and post-human perspectives.

How do you think about the future?

Haunting raises spectres, and it alters the experience of being in linear time, alters the way we normally separate and sequence the past, the present and the future. These spectres or ghosts appear when the trouble they represent and symptomise is no longer being contained or repressed or blocked from view…the whole essence.

To repeat, for me haunting is not about invisibility or unknowability per se. It refers us to what’s living and breathing in the place but hidden from view: people, places, histories, knowledge, memories, ways of life, ideas. To show what’s there in the blind field, to bring it to life on its own terms (and not merely to light) is perhaps the radicalisation of enlightenments with which I’ve been most engaged…haunting is an emergent state: the ghost arises, carrying the signs and portents of a repression in the past or the present that’s no longer working. 

Avery Gordon from Haunting Futurity

Conjure a future. What haunts that future? 

Download the PDF to draw out this future and collaborate on this activity with others.

This page is part of UNHCR’s Project Unsung collection and portfolio. Project Unsung is a speculative storytelling project that brings together creative collaborators from around the world to help reimagine the humanitarian sector. To discover move about the initiative and other contributions in the collection, you can go to the project website here.