Making SPACE for Feeling: (Re)configuring the Future with Speculative Fiction

Research output: Other contribution


At the 2019 Hugo Awards, Ada Palmer proposed the idea that authors of speculative fiction are all scientists. In Palmer’s words, the genre studies the world and tests hypotheses in innumerable simulations, “thereby giving every generation new tools of empowerment, analysis, action and global progress – social, as well as technological.” Indeed, speculative fiction has long been used as a tool with which to envision future realities, and may be re-tooled to imagine tangible avenues towards a more hopeful future.

In this presentation we will explore the genre’s function as a liminal space of experimental thought, where theories and ideas are ‘beta tested’ within fictional worlds, before being deployed through trade fiction, and into the imaginations of the audience. Together, we will further consider the ways that speculative fiction, while not necessarily a social reality in the ‘concrete’ sense, encourages dreams of the future as a shared collective experience.

Laura Collier is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia. By employing an adapted history of emotions approach, in conjunction with xenofeminism and activist theory, Laura’s thesis explores ways in which speculative fiction narratives by women imagine a future for humanity, and considers the power inherent in the utopian imagination. Laura tweets at the handle: @thelauracollier

Kathryn Prince is an Associate Professor in English and Literary Studies whose current project, “Actor, spectator…detector?”, considers the limits of facial recognition, biometric data, and more human-centric cues in relation to emotion detection in the theatre and beyond. She is Leader of UWA’s node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions and Director of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at UWA.

[Palmer, Ada. “John W. Campbell Award Presentation Speech 2019.” Dublin WorldCon. 18 August 2019]
Original languageEnglish
TypeSymbioticA Public Lecture
PublisherSymbiosis Group
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Making SPACE for Feeling: (Re)configuring the Future with Speculative Fiction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this