Rites of Passage: visions of how the world could be
Trailblazery is hosting a Fringe event that will be a guide to the future. Here, some of its specialist speakers respond to the question: what does the future hold?
‘There are many routes into learning’
Lizbeth Goodman is a leading global expert on digital inclusion, special needs education and lifelong learning.
Education is broken. Technology can provide only part of the “fix”. I grew up in New York in the 1960s. They didn’t invent affordable high-powered contact lenses until I was in high school. So I wandered in a half light for most of my early years, but was fortunate to have a strong voice to guide me.
When I was young, it was obvious that all three kids in our family would want to go to college, and also that we would not be able to afford it.
My father decided that my brother and I could work on TV. Not being able to see the screen very well was not an impediment to “acting” in TV adverts.
So my three-year-old brother became the face of the nation’s baby bottles and I sold a brand of food at two, toddling happily across studio floors towards the outline of my mother on the rolling camera, with the voice of my father in my ear.
That early income was invested wisely many times over and it became our college fund.
I learned way back then that there are many routes into learning, many funny moments of following instinct and laughter in the dark, and many forms of motivation that can be mobilised to overcome obstacles, physical and financial.
I see so much potential for this next generation of learners, who will teach us all so much. We must include laughter in our teachings, and reward empathy and respect for difference in our “assessments”. If we do so, together, in the millions, then education stands a fighting chance.
‘Most of the glacier might be gone in 100 years’
Andri Snaer Magnason is an activist, author and film-maker. He is perhaps best known for his book and film Dreamland.
My grandparents went on honeymoon over Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, in 1956. My grandfather took 16mm films on these amazing landscapes. Once, I asked him why he had not filmed more of my grandmother. We could always film a glacier, but my grandmother on honeymoon would never again be filmed.
When they travelled to the glacier, it was with the same concept of eternity, like the rocks, the mountains and the beach. They lived on a long time span, a geological scale.
Most of the glacier might be gone in the next 100 years – assuming the Earth does not heat more than it already has. A hundred years seems very far away. But my grandfather was born in 1922 and he is still very alive. I know him very well, not as a child but as a man. If I will know my grandchild as well as I know my grandfather, then I will know someone that is still alive in the year 2120.
Ninteen-twenty two to 2120 – this is the timeline of people that I know and love, and the people that I will know and love. This should be the date we have in mind for all future planning: 2120.
‘Imagine if we partnered again with natural cycles’