Collective Futures - The RSA - RSA

Collective Futures

Unboxed: Collective Futures

A global exploration of the potential for collective imagination and creative collaboration to shape better futures for people and planet

What is UNBOXED?

A once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity, UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, took place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and online during 2022.

It aimed to celebrate the power of people coming together to imagine and design better futures and featured 10 awe-inspiring flagship installations as well as an exciting calendar of events and pop-up experiences across the UK.

Our Collective Futures journey

Throughout 2022, in partnership with UNBOXED, we have been working to deliver a global exploration research project called ‘Collective Futures’. It examines the power of collaboration between people from different backgrounds, perspectives and areas of expertise; uncovering ways that collective imagination can help us build better futures for people and planet.

Here at the RSA, we see ‘Collective Futures’ as:

An emerging yet thriving field of thinking and practice that puts the future of people and planet at the heart. It encourages us to work side by side with people from a diversity of backgrounds. To be creative and imaginative about our possible futures and take steps together towards better futures that enable people and planet to flourish hand in hand.

Collective Futures for people and planet

Dive into research findings and a variety of resources designed to support communities, policymakers and funders worldwide.

Our process:

Phase one: open call

In March 2022 we held an ‘open call’ inviting anyone who felt our emergent framing of Collective Futures was represented in their work to share their motivation, mission and methods.

We spoke with 14 people, representing a wonderful mix of creatives, anthropologists, futurists, community activists and advocates, who in one form or another, are using creative ways to tackle exclusion.

Phase two: collaboration

Through a series of deeper collaborative global workshops and creative conversations, we discovered a wealth of inspirational stories, case studies and practices that can support us all to work collaboratively and creatively for the benefit of our long-term futures. All of the stories and findings have been woven into a final interactive exploratory space - Collective Futures for People and Planet: Spaces to explore an emerging field.

Phase three: sharing and testing

We will share our final interactive exploratory space widely and hope that it will help support communities and places the world over for years to come. It is our intention that it is a living and constantly evolving resource which we will continue to add to.

Accessible via Miro, a digital whiteboarding tool, users have the opportunity to explore, interact and contribute to our Collective Futures research, in their own time.

Using the space as a jumping-off point, we will continue to stimulate discussion through further global creative conversations, helping to widen out the field of Collective Futures. We welcome anyone with an interest and curiosity to join us to explore how taking a Collective Futures mindset can help enable people and planet to flourish hand in hand.

How can I get involved?

There are many opportunities to get involved with our Collective Futures work whether through engaging with our exploratory space, attending global conversations or events. Email us below.

Contact the Collective Futures team

Do you have a question about our work or research? Would you like to speak to the team? Click below to reach out.

Updates from the project team

  • Super-nature: shaping how cities feel


    Tamsin Hanke Sash Scott

    Super-nature was one of 10 commissions to feature in the 2022 global exploration research project, Collective Futures. Learn about the work and its outputs in this field note.

  • Out of this world


    John Peto

    Unboxed's Our Place in Space project convened astronauts, academics, artists, authors and engineers to bring the universe to thrilling life for schoolchildren across the UK.

  • About us: our language has saved us once before


    Natasha Ryan

    Our partnership with Unboxed featured 10 major commissions across science, tech, engineering, arts and maths About Us was one of those commissions. Learn more.

Get in touch

We would like to encourage anyone who would like to contact the team with ideas or thoughts, to email us.