Imagining a better future through world-building

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Peter Smedley/NW

Peter Smedley

On Thursday, March 18, the Student Leader Fellowship Program will be leading a virtual skill builder that focuses on creative exercises for developing a healthier image of the future. 

The event focuses on world-building in a more applied sense, taking elements of fictional world-building and utilizing them in the real world in order to envision a better society. Madelyn Pawlowski, assistant professor of English, shares what participants will be doing during the workshop.

“Participants will make a mini-zine in which they respond to a series of prompts that help them imagine a better future or create a vision of a new world. We will use storytelling and worldbuilding prompts to move through this creative exercise,” Pawlowski said.

Although the event is still virtual, the Student Leader Fellowship Program will also be holding a small bookmaking segment. Pawlowski will be demonstrating how to make homemade booklets, also known as zines. Zines are a homemade form of media that are easy to make and offer a refreshing form of communication.

Because of the political unrest of 2020, Pawlowski believes it is necessary for people to articulate their visions for a just, equitable and inclusive future now more than ever.

“Like the writer Adrienne Maree Brown (sic) asks, ‘What are the ideas that will liberate all of us?’” Pawlowski said.

The workshop is all inclusive and aims to give people a means to share their voices and speak on justice. 

“I’ve always been fascinated by the ways that everyday people make meaning and share their voices. Anyone who has access to paper can make a zine, and anyone who has access to a printer/copy machine can distribute that zine,” Pawlowski said.

With the flexibility and accessibility zines offer, Pawlowski is optimistic that, despite the pandemic, people will engage in more tactile senses.

“The tangibility of zines makes it an interesting type of communication to consider and create during this time when we are incredibly isolated and forced to interact through mostly digital means,” Pawlowski said.

This workshop is running in conjunction with the Diversity Common Reader Program, which has selected “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nahisi Coates for their yearly book reading. The NorthWind covered a piece on the program’s plans for the winter semester shortly before winter break.

Participants of the Imagining a better future skill builder are not required to have read “Between the World and Me”.

“This workshop is for anyone who believes that better worlds are possible and want to work toward building them. Or if you’re simply curious about learning a new hands-on skill or want to build connections with other members of your community,” Pawlowski said.
To register for the event visit the event listing on the Hub.