In the uncertain and roiling spring and summer of 2020, the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University published Us in Flux, a series of stories and events about community, collaboration, and collective imagination in the face of transformative change. We wanted to follow threads of hope in myriad directions, and were delighted to publish pieces in a diversity of styles—from far-future utopias to yarns about quantum entanglement and odes to backyard ecology.
Two years, three (or four!) shots, and multiple variants later, amid climate chaos and political angst, the raw, desperate energy that powered our collective response to the pandemic has waned. We’ve moved from frenzied triage to merely managing the deeply imperfect systems we’re left with, but we’re still in flux.
This summer, in another moment of anxiety and possibility, we’re presenting a second cycle of Us in Flux stories and events, inviting authors and experts to provide glimpses of better futures shaped by new social arrangements, communities, and forms of governance, with a focus on bottom-up creativity and problem-solving at the local level. Our stories will present civic experiments, envisioning the collectives, systems, and activities that could power the functional, equitable, and thriving communities of the future.
We’ll publish one story each month from June to September 2022, and host an event where the story’s author will discuss its themes and implications with an expert from a relevant field.
Our first story is “Becoming Birch” by Carter Meland, about rock music, unexpected connections, and northern Minnesota forests. The story is available to read now, and this Thursday, June 23 at 12pm Pacific time, we’ll host a virtual conversation with Carter and Grace Dillon, professor of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University and editor of Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction.