Radical Interpretations – Exploring Imagined Futures

What is a radical interpretation of the future of Learning? Or the future of Leadership as our Organisations evolve? What will Society look like as work itself changes? How will we be innovative, creative, productive? Where will technology carry us as AI permeates every aspect of our lives? What will be the cumulative effects of this? Radical Interpretations will be a new magazine, a series that explores these imagined futures, creating space for both established, emergent, and divergent voices.

At the start of this year i shared my research and publication schedule, and those of you who looked far enough forward would have seen ‘Radical Interpretations Magazine’ hiding at the end of Q4. For some time i have wanted to expand the publishing arm of Sea Salt Learning, to move beyond the Handbooks and Guidebooks, into a more regular magazine, but i wanted to find the right space and identity for this. ‘Radical Interpretations’ is where i have settled: a collection of essays from established and emergent thinkers that paints potential futures and acts as a kickoff space for discussion.

This week i have been laying out the schedule for this work, and thinking about core questions of purpose, governance, editorial approach and contribution.

Very roughly my plan is to use Q1 to define the scope, find contributors, work on design, and set up systems and site. Q2 and Q3 for writing and editorial, and Q4 for publication, but that whole schedule is a little fluid. Longer term i intend this to be probably a bi-annual production, with two different topic issues a year. These will explore broad aspects of the Social Age: initially i am looking for contributions around Learning, Leadership, and Healthcare/the future of the NHS.

IMAGINED Futures is the key: these are not about iterations within existing systems, but rather the re-conception of those systems, and should not necessarily be constrained by undue practicality or pragmatism. Similarly though, they should not be inconceivably distant. A landscape we can imagine reaching one day.

Examples of what these essays may explore will be informed by some of the core concepts of the Social Age: radical connectivity (how does this impact the nature and integrity of existing systems, from organisational ones to societal), belonging (and what this means for Organisations, even religions), democratisation (how the fluidity of infrastructure and ease of engaging utility outside of any system impacts social organisation and power), as well as the broader shifts from ‘utility’ to ‘experience’, ‘globally local’, and a general rebalancing and redistribution of power.

There is not going to be a set format for these: in my own prototype work in this space i have switched between narrative description, illustration, and sketched models. I hope that this work will include more formal submissions, possibly even peer reviewed ones, as well as more creative and speculative fiction or illustration.

I’m inspired in this effort by some of the frankly beautiful publications i see being produced by freelance magazine designers and small independent publishers. Magazines like APWOT (A Profound Waste of Time) that explores video games, or ‘Let’s Explore’ magazine, which has had issues on curiosity, and empowerment. Both crowd funded, both spectacular in breadth and presentation.

As Mark has shared with me on LinkedIn, also more formal efforts from entities like Microsoft and MIT, painting potential futures, with a broad remit.

I am not blind to the challenges of magazine publication: i have done this twice before, producing single issues each time, but facing up to the challenges of marshalling diverse voices, and finding a voice for the publication itself. It’s hard to get right, so i am unafraid to fail.

I will provide updates on this work as it opens up.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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