Gleaning Racial Justice Futures: Confronting the past and incorporating plural everydays

Format: Papers, RSD10, Topic: Culture & Society

Hillary Carey, Chris Costes, and Mihika Bansal

Visions of the future world we want to create help align people toward change. Such concepts are present within some racial justice advocacy groups. Still, we propose that the work of attaining equity might benefit from more use of future visions as an additional tool toward creating systems change. To understand how visions of possible futures show up in current racial justice work, we analysed the communications of fifteen organizations. We used website content to discern how these organizations describe the worlds they want to build—a technique to gather information without requiring any additional effort on their part. The collect future visions were a small portion of the online material, but they provided rich depictions of systems change. From looking at how organizations described possible futures, we identified themes about future objectives. We found making freedom, health, and safety more accessible for all people to be the most common intention for these futures. This analysis helps us begin to imagine how tools of futures studies might evolve to accommodate justice-oriented world-making. We found that such tools would need to account for the complexity of imagining futures from an inequitable present day: taking account of historic structures and acknowledging the plurality of present-day experiences.

Keywords: racial justice, futures, communication, liberatory futures, design justice

Sketchnote by Patricia Kambitch | Playthink

Citation Data

Author(s): Hillary Carey, Chris Costes and Mihika Bansal
Title: Gleaning Racial Justice Futures: Confronting the past and incorporating plural everydays
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 3 September 2021
Last update:
Publisher Identification:

Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested citation format (APA)

Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

Publishing with RSD

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The Scholars Spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholars spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


Verified by MonsterInsights