THISAM is learning in an informal environment where ideas, opportunities and new adventures will naturally happen from a good beer among people worldwide. THISAM is an informal way to spend a vacation in Greece: the beauty of Thessaloniki and the well-known Greek hospitality are undoubtedly one of the assets that make such an event a “must” on my summer list.
However, THISAM is also about journalism and its new trends: the media business is changing faster and faster every day. Hence, young journalists should acknowledge that going to university is as essential as staying updated in a profession where “the medium is the message”, as McLuhan reminded us all.
Therefore, I found prof. Epaminondas Christophilopoulos’ lecture on Futures Literacy (FL) particularly interesting. As Head of the UNESCO Chair on Futures Research at the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), his main research area focuses on the possible future scenarios by combining imagination, beliefs, trends and technology development. According to UNESCO, “FL is the skill that allows people to understand better the role of the future in what they see and do.”
Nowadays, it is considered an essential talent to foster our resilience: empowering imagination enhances our ability to prepare, recover and invent as changes occur: “FL can help this community, your community to draw a fresh creative view on the future and challenge the current way of “solving” things” he said.
Prof. Christophilopoulos particularly stressed the link between FL and journalism since “in a world of growing populism the press is a crucial actor for explaining the world, support science, and support a discussion to address our common challenges like climate crisis.”
During the lesson, what grabbed my colleague’s attention was his informal design thinking approach. Instead of giving us a frontal lecture on foundations and recent trends in the field, he invited us to apply it critically by picturing potential journalism scenarios. After having introduced the concepts of trends, megatrends, weak signals and black swans he guided us in the elaboration process. In the end, each group delivered a feasible scenario for the communication business in the years to come.
In the scholar’s opinion, having the chance to interact with young journalists at THISAM is crucial when dealing with crucial events in a world of growing polarization: “these events help bring bridges, set up constructive dialogue and build consensus. Furthermore, they help us better understand the world by making sense of it.”
Like every established discipline, FL has its own main disseminators on social media (Wendy Schultz, Jerome Glenn, and Amy Web) as well as a couple of sites on which to start researching. So, feel free to look at the Millennium Project and Teach the Future or the official UNESCO site in case you want to know more about it before next THISAM.
FL is something we are all capable of. Expanding our horizons might have a potent transformation in what people are able to know, imagine and do. In a time of crisis, this is a great resource to add to the pocket.