MAKING SUSTAINBLE WATER FUTURES PUBLIC

At the dawn of the Anthropocene, people across the globe are beginning to realise
that their future will be radically different from their past. Western modern
development, characterised by uninterrupted socioeconomic growth and material
consumption through the exploitation of nonrenewable resources, cannot continue.
Societies, and - as part of it - academia and politics, are called upon to develop
modes of human existence that stay within planetary boundaries, preserve ecological
integrity and acknowledge multi-species relations. Therefore, it is a key challenge to
develop the navigational capacities required for a rapid transition to a sustainable
future together with diverse publics.

However, engaging people into debates about uncertain futures is an inherently difficult task.
Futures scenarios often appear abstract, intangible and developed by remote
researchers in complex language. Theatre offers an exciting opprotunity to
engage people and make sober, factual information come to life. Particularly in the
context of sustainable water futures, theatrical forms can
allow audiences to build small worlds within which people can live through utopian or
contrafactual moments.

Water is paradigmatic for the anthropocenic challenge of transforming nature-culture
relations and imagining sustainable futures. As such it presents a fitting theme for the  participatory salons, theater pop-ups, staged productions, digital and online platforms which AnthropoScenes has planned for the next three years. The AnthropoScenes novel and unique approach will be continuously evaluated and aims to be transferable to other fields of social-ecological research and beyond.

Funded within the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state government by the Berlin University Alliance, AnthropoScenes is a cooperation of the Theater of the Anthropocene, the Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems (IRI THESys) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin (TU) and Freie Universität Berlin (FU).