Scenario Art as a Decision-making Tool to Facilitate Sustainable Futures: The Case for Minerals and Mining in Australia

By Aleta Lederwasch.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Scenario Art (visual representations of a future scenario, used to enhance decision-making processes) is offered as a new tool to facilitate a transition to sustainable futures. The paper acknowledges recent evaluations of current futures methods (methods for long-term decision making and strategy development that involve consideration of multiple future circumstances), which have found that the futures field is not having the transformative influence expected. It is argued that to have a transformative influence, world views need to be drawn out and examined. An analysis of the results of a workshop (Vision 2040) that tested the application of Scenario Art, alongside art and neurological theory, is used to explore the relationship between Scenario Art, neurological processes, and the implications of these neurological processes in the context of decision-making processes. Vision 2040 utilized a deliberative process and aimed to establish a shared vision and strategy for the future of the mining and minerals industry in Australia. The workshop involved a range of futures methods which provided an opportunity for mining stakeholders to explore how the mining and minerals industry in Australia can deliver long-term national benefit. This paper focuses on the results of applying Scenario Art at this workshop which support that Scenario Art increases a person’s level of empathy, creativity, responsiveness to risk, imagination and willingness to consider alternative perspectives. In the context of developing a shared vision, it was found that this increased a person’s ability to recognise strategies and actions that would benefit multiple stakeholders and to recognise shared and conflicting ideas, values and perspectives for a preferred future.

Keywords: Scenario Art, Art, Futures, Mining, Minerals, Sustainable Futures, Decision Making Processes

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.153-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 10.548MB).

Aleta Lederwasch

Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, NSW, Australia

My work ranges across several research areas but all with the common thread of contributing to sustainable futures. Various areas that I conduct research in include the minerals and mining industry, the remediation of contaminated lands, participatory democracy and the use of art to engage stakeholders in various issues. I am currently developing a method and organising a project that will involve a travelling exhibition around Australia that invites the observers to become the artists of the show, literally, we are hanging blank canvases and inviting observers to draw, paint and write about their visions on particular issues. My background includes legal research for environmental NGO’s, voluntary climate law work and being a practicing artist in life drawing.


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