Future Imaginaries: Unwritten Stories of Climate Change & Sustainability

This course focuses on shaping and uplifting positive narratives about the future with attention to our environment, climate, and communities, examining how they can shape our expectations, actions, and outcomes in ways that the negative and alarming narratives have failed to do.


Course Information

Visual & Media Arts; Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies

Jon Honea, Homa Sarabi


Servelio Majano, Greandoll Oliva, Andie Fisher, Johanna Flores, Arianna Perdomo, Darien Rodriguez, Troy Arnold, Emely Deodanes, Lydia Debenedictis

We will examine different perspectives on the future, including optimism, hope, and agency, and discuss how these ideas can inform our understanding of the world and our place in it, as well as their potential to shape public policy and social change. We will examine the role that storytelling and media play in shaping our visions of the future, and we will discuss how to craft and communicate future imaginaries that inspire hope, action, and resilience. Through readings and other resources, discussions, and presentations and projects, students will learn to develop and articulate their own positive narratives about the future.

Studio participants on bike tour through Chelsea

A Look Inside the Co-Creation Process

by Beau Williams, student

I chose to take this course after participating in the impactful work being done at the Engagement Lab as a student employee, because I wanted to see the ELab’s collaborative work reflected in the classroom setting. I learned about how artists can create positive expressions of art dealing with topics such as climate justice, and also about how Chelsea, a community which I previously knew nothing about, is responding to environmental injustices.

Our first few meetings included a very informative bike tour of Chelsea and an open house at the headquarters of our partners, GreenRoots, where we learned about their day-to-day work. Through our partnership with the students in GreenRoots’ Environmental Chelsea Organizers (ECO), I was able to learn how growing up in an Environmental Justice community can affect the youth in Chelsea, especially in regard to their lack of access to green and blue spaces. I had not expected to see how engaged the ECO students were, both in their work with GreenRoots and in the community in general. 

Before taking this class, my understanding of environmental justice was framed through a broad and worldwide lens, with progress often seeming immovable and dire. This course really helped me to narrow the scope of that framework, emphasizing the importance and learning potential of engaging with a specific local community’s relationship to the changing climate. This reframing allowed us, in our short documentary Chelsea Unearthed, to co-create a more hopeful narrative, not only exploring the area’s issues but celebrating a community of young people who are actively working to make their future better.

Fall 2023 - Future Imaginaries Studio Participants

Studio Contact

Are you an Emerson student interested in enrolling in this course in the future? Please contact  jon_honea@emerson.edu or homa_sarabi@emerson.edu to learn more!

Fall 2023 - Future Imaginaries Partner