Do you remember the exact moment when Spock entered the engine room of the Enterprise for the last time? When Harry finally faced Voldemort as a mortal man? When Dorothy clicked her heels?
Stories have power, and science fiction and fantasy stories grip our imaginations like no others. They give us bad-ass heroines and underdog heroes who navigate wild, alien worlds and fix epic, once-in-a-millennium crises. They inspire us to be better.
What if the same sorts of stories that regularly move grown-ups to dress like elves and camp out for movie tickets can also help us solve the real world’s most pressing problems?
FutureShift lives at the intersection of speculative fiction and social change. Speculative fiction — an umbrella term that includes science fiction, fantasy, and horror — includes some of our most beloved stories, from Star Trek to Harry Potter to The Wizard of Oz. Like the heroes of these stories, social change movements take on serious, difficult problems that require great passion and commitment to solve.
At their cores, both speculative fiction and social change aim to understand the world as it is and imagine how it could be.
At FutureShift, we carry that imagination over to the real world.
Who We Are
Jo Miles, Principal
Jo Miles has a decade of experience working with non-profits on digital strategy, helping them translate their vision for change into online action. She’s particularly passionate about fighting climate change, creating sustainable food systems, women’s issues, and ethics in technology. It’s rare for a week to pass without some real-world issue in her work reminding her of a science fiction story with an (often disturbingly) similar theme.
Jo is also a writer of science fiction and fantasy, and her first publication is forthcoming from Diabolical Plots. She’s been a devoted speculative fiction fan since she was a kid: she grew up on Tolkien and Star Trek: The Next Generation, a grounding that made it obvious to her how speculative fiction can speak to real-world concerns. Her love of sci-fi and fantasy has only grown since then; she loves to geek out over Game of Thrones, but gets even more excited over new books with diverse casts of characters that tackle serious social issues. Jo is a graduate of Oberlin College, with majors in English and math.
Amanda Kloer, Principal
Amanda Kloer is a nationally recognized digital campaigns expert. She currently runs a global campaigning team at a large social change tech company, where she established and built multiple campaigning programs. Amanda has worked for more than a decade in human rights advocacy with a particular focus on women, LGBT communities, criminal justice, and how technology can solve our most pressing social justice issues.
Amanda first fell in love with fantasy reading The Princess Bride as a child, and her formative years were shaped by everything from Hermione Granger’s inspirational protests for house elves’ rights to Jeff Noon’s mind-bending musings on technology and human possibility to the X-Files’ dark government conspiracies. Now, a steady diet of spec fic pop culture continues to profoundly shape her social justice work. Amanda enjoys spending time in her multi-fandom decked out “nerd cave” and has been known to cancel social plans to read fan theories on message boards.
What We Do
Our vision is that speculative fiction and social change movements can make each other stronger:
Building social change
Social changemakers need to visualize the world they want to build and inspire others to join them in making it. A successful movement must help people understand the need for change — what’s wrong and why that problem should concern us — as well as what the world will look like if we succeed. We do that through the power of stories, and speculative fiction gives us some of our most powerful stories.
Tapping the power of science fiction
Speculative fiction shows us new possibilities — not just for technology, but for humanity. Each decision a creator makes can either reinforce the world as it is or show us what it could be. Incorporating a robust and nuanced view of social issues into speculative fiction not only enriches the stories we all love, but helps us reimagine the real world.
Bringing speculative fiction and social change together
FutureShift is a resource for both these groups. We help social changemakers tap into the power of speculative fiction, and help speculative fiction creators to use the thought leadership of movements to tell powerful stories.