Dreaming alternative futures with ThoughtLAB-14

May 15 / 158


A panel was asked to imagine 2050 in a consideration of art and climate at Carlton Connect Initiative’s first ThoughtLAB-14 event – “Baby it’s hot outside!”

Part thought experiment, part Q&A, ThoughtLAB-14 invited a guest panel to interact with the audience to collaborate on ideas, analyse evidence and dream alternative futures.


The following scenario, set in the not-too-distant future, provided the backdrop:


“It’s the summer of 2050 and after three consecutive days hotter than

47C, including a new record temperature for Melbourne of 50C,

predictions of even hotter temperatures have thrown citizens into chaos.

Your country has turned to you to solve the predicament. With you

trusty advisory panel, decide on the best plan of attack and strategies to



Facilitated by Professor of Geography Ruth Fincher, the panel comprised a climate scientist David Karoly, science communicator and performer Chris Krishna-Pillay, artist Tony Lloyd, and Citipower and Powercor strategist Lara Olsen.


The audience was encouraged to play along and take on roles as the Prime Ministers and CEOs of Australia. Discussions included the possibility of using art galleries as refuges in extreme weather events, whether the University would be a seaside university by 2050, and impacts on flora and fauna. The panel also considered alternative agricultural methods – farmscrapers and multi-level aquaculture – and how design would play a role in keeping our buildings cool.


The event was part of ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2015 from 11 April–17 May 2015, a Melbourne-wide festival of art exhibitions, forums and talks seeking to harness the creative power of the Arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.


Story by Christen Teen

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