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Special Section - Highland Gathering

Vol. 3 No. 2 (2024): Ekologos

Generating Climate Futures Through Collaborative Workshops: A Method Brief

  • Evan Tims

    Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholar, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta
April 27, 2024


Across South Asia, narratives of climate risk pervade the discourses of development and economic change. States such as Nagaland are integrating climate adaptation into their policies through assessments like State Action Plans on Climate Change. Meanwhile, influential actors in the academic and civil society sectors are increasingly asking how climate change will influence notions of development. Some authors have explored how this trend creates regimes of anticipatory governance, particularly in at-risk regions like Bangladesh, where institutions organize resources and reorient the built environment in anticipation of climate disaster. While experts debate how to best mitigate or adapt to climate change, local communities are rarely asked to contribute to the broader discourse. During my year in Nepal as a 2021–2022 Henry J. Luce Scholar, I worked with several communities to explore their own future predictions and ask how these futures may complicate or contest expert-driven assumptions. In December 2023, as a Fulbright Scholar visiting The Highland Institute, a research centre in Northeast India, I hosted a workshop with similar goals. In this brief article, I share the methods and frameworks I used at these two distinct sites and gesture to some of the key resulting insights. I hope these community-driven predictions will be taken seriously as real indicators of the futures that persist in the imaginaries of groups at risk of climate change. Further, my aim is that this approach will be accepted as a means of challenging our assumptions about who can imagine the future and why.