The battle for the future

14:09 by Cornelius Holtorf

Reading Jenny Andersson and Erik Westholm’s 2019 book Slaget om Framtiden (The Battle for the Future), it is striking that they argue that collaboration in future studies with partners in society is a liability rather than an asset. 

Andersson and Westholm claim that specific economic, industrial or political interests of partners in society create conflicts of interest which make it impossible to conduct free research and reach independent conclusions.

Here is a film where they present their research (in Swedish): https://www.iffs.se/kalendarium/iffs-play/slaget-om-framtiden-om-forskningen-och-konflikten-mellan-tillvaxt-och-miljo/

However in my experience it is precisely the other way around to what Andersson and Westholm claim. From collaboration with non-academic partners I have learned a lot on how to think various futures, how to approach and address them, and not the least what practical challenges there are to be considered. This has made our research conclusions not only more applicable and relevant in society but also academically stronger in their content.

Cornelius Holtorf
In 2017, Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden, was awarded a UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures. This is one of eight Chairs in Sweden, and the only one within the cultural sector. Cornelius Holtorf, holder of the UNESCO Chair, alongside his team, will continue to generate ideas through this forum.

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