Using Science Fiction to Solve Complex Problems

In 2021, we formed a consortium of speculative fiction writers and scholars and came together to explore how creative writing skills can help researchers in diverse fields solve the grand challenges of the twenty-first century.

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The Ursula Project: Speculative Fiction Storytelling for Technology Foresight

Launching in 2022, the Ursula Project is a collaboration between the University of Queensland and the Australian Department of Defence, Science and Technology. Our aim is to adapt story-telling techniques drawn from speculative fiction (across books, games, and screen) into workshop material that will help Defence personnel prepare for the potential disruptive effects of new technologies.

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Collaborations Across Disciplines

We have an ongoing affiliation with The University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute, and through them have provided expertise and creative workshops for areas as diverse as digital health initiatives and zero net emissions for agriculture. We design imagination workshops, storytelling games, pre-mortems, and other creative activities to help teams think better and engage across disciplines.

Defence Innovation Bridge

In 2020-2021, we helped to launch the Defence Innovation Bridge in partnership with the UQ Business School and the Department of Defence. The Defence Innovation Bridge aims to provide Australia with a new model for innovation by matching defence problems with solutions providers.

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My Future Town

My Future Town was an exciting creative project being run by The University of Queensland in 2022, for 13-18 years old people living in or around Dalby, Jandowae, Tara and Chinchilla. Twenty young people from each town were chosen to participate in one of four two-day creative workshops. These were run in each of the towns between May and July. The workshops were conducted by award winning science fiction and fantasy author and illustrator, Isobelle Carmody.

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Postcards from Future Queensland

Postcards from Future Queensland was launched in 2020 in response to the initial Covid-19 lockdown. We asked high school and university students across Queensland to watch creative writing instructions that guided them to produce postcards from a better future. These were then published in a chapbook by Corella Press.

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The Migration

The Migration is a near-future speculative fiction novel published in 2019 by Random House Canada. It finds parallels between the emergence of the Black Death in the fourteenth century and the ecological crises of the twenty-first century—that is, periods when humanity has had to confront the possibility of widescale loss of life. The Guardian called it one of the top science fiction novels of the year and it was shortlisted for two British Fantasy Awards and The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.

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