Time Travels and the future

Kalmar county museum has seen the future! As users of the Time Travel Method we are used to travel back and forth in time using the Time Travel Method, taking inspiration and experience from past times with the aim of addressing the issues of today. In the autumn of 2018 Kalmar county museum was challenged by Prof. Cornelius Holtorf at Linneaus University to do something that we never done before: Travel to the future.

Prof. Holtorf holds the UNESCO chair in “Future heritages” and examines the relation between heritage and the future. His challenge for the museum was this: Is it possible to use the Time Travel Method to travel to the future? The idea was to use the method in the exact same way as we normally do, with key questions, local sites, safe spaces etc. The only difference was of course the historical sources. Instead of using historical documents, oral traditions, archaeology and similar sources, we had to look into different estimations on demography, climate, economy and technology. All of these “facts” was merged into a believable, but fictional, future. The process in this Time Travel was very thought-provoking and the team involved had many vivid discussions. The process is always important in the Time Travel Method, in this case we felt that this was extremely crucial. After the project we realized that we had the same experiences as someone arranging their first Time Travel!

The scenario was about the city district Varvsholmen in Kalmar, a site close to the sea and the Time Travel was staged in December 2068. In our scenario Varvsholmen is put under great stress. The Baltic Sea has risen over two meters and the embankments are in bad shape, threatening the residents. The ageing population of Sweden is seen as a great burden, the social cohesion is low and the government has just passed a law allowing assisted suicide. Some people have left the town to live on the country-side, while others are residents of the world, travelling from place to place. At this specific day, a group of activists has invited the local government to explain what they want to do with their beloved part of town.

The Time Travel event was piloted two times, using the same scenario. The first was with a mixed group of adults and the second was with an 8th grade class. Both groups were very engaged in the discussions and especially the soft values as social cohesion and spirituality were lifted. In the evaluation the Future Time Travel was seen as an interesting tool for discussing different futures, and how to reach or avoid them. But, as always in the Time Travel Method, we were talking about the issues of today. This Time Travel connected different futures to our individual possibilities and responsibilities that we have in shaping the future. Could this be an interesting add-on to the Time Travel Method as we know it? Maybe, at least we know that the future is ours to shape, so why not start creating it right now?

Reflections:

  • It was a challenging task to change the mindset to the future
  • The teenagers reflected on their own future, they will live to see 2068,
  • The participants saw their own possibility to influence their own future

Adam Norman, Tina Lindström, Kalmar läns museum, Sweden

Download:

Project report; Att resa till framtiden. (swe) 8,011 kB

Scenario 2069 (eng) 116 kB