The Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past theme encourages critical reflection upon the concepts that are used to join together past, present and future – including memory, legacy, heritage, and progress; upon different creative, artistic and literary modes of engagement with the past and the passage of time; and upon different emotional responses evoked by reflecting on the past – such as inspiration, trauma, resolution, forgetting, hope, denial, nostalgia, acceptance, mourning and celebration.

In exploring the question of whether and how understandings of the past – distant as well as recent – may provide pathways to the future, the theme will further consider the consequences of selectivity – whose voices are heard and whose are silenced by the past, as well as those which questions are asked about the past and those which are not. It will encourage researchers to explore different approaches to writing the past and how these may extend or restrict the possibilities of historical and critical interpretation.

Such perspectives are encompassed by five core areas of potential engagement, which have been developed through consultation with the Advisory Group and the broader research community:

  • Questions of temporality and history
  • Inter- and cross-generational communication, justice and exchange
  • Trauma, conflict and memory: transitions to new futures
  • Environmental change and sustainability
  • Cultural notions of the future

At its heart, Care for the Future encompasses questions around what is meaningful about continuity and change.

Read the full theme descriptor.