Current debates on crises such as climate change or the pandemic have forcefully brought the future into focus. Predictions, forecasting and speculation, whether regarding new imminent lockdowns, or the long-term endurance of humanity or the planet have become commonplace, both in public discourse and as part of managing our everyday lives. The future is often imagined as a singular chain of chronologically ordered events, and as located away from ourselves; as that which is still to come. Yet, anthropologists have long recognised that futures are multiple and heterogeneous; they are conditioned by the imaginations, material configurations and actions of the present and they exist here and now, as current ways of being. Perhaps, to borrow from a recent text by Tsing et al, futures are best thought of as "patchy" – unevenly conditioned, imagined and enacted across the globe, evoking questions about the scope for life plans and futures as something we make.
For this conference, we invite discussions on the inclusive theme of futures, whether uncertain, desired or dreaded. We welcome contributions that add to our understanding of futures as always situated, and as involving specific forms of cultural understanding, knowledge, power, and resources.