Christine Winnell interviews Richard Slaughter

Posted: 2013/05/15 in Uncategorized
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7.30 Report interview December 31st 2010
Christine Winnell interviews Richard Slaughter on themes from his book The Biggest Wake Up Call in History, Wellington, New Zealand, April 2011.

Richard A Slaughter completed one of the first PhDs in futures studies at the University of Lancaster in 1982. He is an internationally recognised futurist / foresight practitioner, author, editor, teacher and innovator who has worked with a wide range of organisations in many countries and at all educational levels. He has built a reputation through futures scholarship, educational innovation, strategic and social foresight and the identification of a knowledge base for futures studies (KBFS). He is Director of Foresight International, Brisbane.  (

After stints at several universities he was invited by the VC of Swinburne University in Melbourne to set up the Australian Foresight Institute. During 1999 to 2004 he was Foundation Professor of Foresight there and pioneered new approaches to advanced foresight training and research. A research program on Creating and Sustaining Social Foresight was supported and funded by the Pratt Foundation and produced a series of monographs. (  He is a long standing fellow of the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF). During 2001 – 2005 he was its President.

He is a prolific writer and holds several editorial positions. These include: board member of Futures (Oxford, UK), Foresight (UK), the Journal of Futures Studies (Tamkang University, Taiwan) and series editor of The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies (FI, Brisbane). His first book was Birds in Bermuda (Bermuda Bookstores, 1975). He is co-author of Education for the 21st Century (Routledge, 1993, revised and re-issued in 2011 in pdf form as Education for the 21st Century Revisited), author of The Foresight Principle – Cultural Recovery in the 21st Century (Praeger 1995) editor of New Thinking for a New Millennium (Routledge 1996) and co-editor of the World Yearbook of Education 1998: Futures Education (Kogan Page, London 1998).

He has published a series of futures resource books and an edited volume of essays: Futures for the Third Millennium: Enabling the Forward View (Prospect, Sydney, 1999) as well as a collection of papers by various authors from The ABN Report entitled: Gone Today, Here Tomorrow: Millennium Previews (Prospect, Sydney, 2000). A number of his publications have been revised and re-issued on a series of CD-ROMs, beginning with the Knowledge Base of Futures Studies vols 1-5 (FI 2005) and Towards a Wise Culture: Four ‘Classic’ Futures Texts (FI 2006). With Jay Gary a three DVD set with the collective title of Pathways to Foresight(, was then produced and published by Peak Futures, Colorado, USA and FI.

He is the author of Futures Beyond Dystopia: Creating Social Foresight (Routledge, London, 2004) and, with M Bussey, Futures Thinking for Social Foresight  a compendium of teaching resources and strategies which is also available on CD-ROM (Tamkang University Press, 2007, revised edition, FI 2011) both of which are also available on CD-ROM. With an international team of researchers Richard completed a study on The State of Play in the Futures Field (SoPiFF) for the Foundation for the Future, Seattle in 2008, later published as a special issue of Foresight vol 11 no 5, 2009.  In 2010 he published a much-praised overview of the global predicament in The Biggest Wake-Up Call in History (FI, 2010) followed by To See With Fresh Eyes: Integral Futures and the Global Emergency (FI, 2012).

He has received professional recognition from several sources. These include three ‘Most Important Futures Works’ awards from the Association of Professional Futurists. The first was for the 2005 Knowledge Base of Futures Studies, Professional Edition, CD-ROM. The second was for a special issue of Futures on Integral Futures Methodologies in 2008. The third was for The Biggest Wake-Up Call in History. During 2009 Richard was appointed as Patron of the Asian Foresight Institute which is based at Dhurakij Pundit University in Bangkok. Then in 2010 he was voted one of ‘the best all-time Futurists’ by members of the Foresight Network, Shaping Tomorrow.

While attempting to slowly ‘wind back’ a close to 40-year commitment to futures work he remains active on several editorial boards, in mentoring members of the ‘next generation’ of foresight practitioners and related projects. Currently, and with others, he is working on a History of Futures in Australia and on a ‘Descent Pathways’ project for the UK journal, Foresight. Other fruitful activities include advanced photographic work (including birds and street art), film festivals, early European art, selective reviewing of classic literature and, most importantly, a small but growing number of grandchildren.

Apart from this weblog and the FI site Richard also administers Integral Futures ( and Strategic Foresight TV (

See also:

Richard Slaughter interview

In this interview Richard Slaughter discusses themes from his new book, The Biggest Wake Up Call in History in which he contends that humanity’s impacts upon the world have ushered in a new era that can be termed ‘the Anthropocene’ — the era of human impacts. The book reviews major threats to civilisation — including the onset of global warming and peak oil. It examines the view that we are headed for what model builders (such as those in the Limits to Growth project) have called an ‘overshoot and collapse’ future. While that perspective is deemed credible it is suggested that there are other options. One of these is a shift from a ‘collapse’ to a ‘descent’ narrative.
Careful use of an Integral perspective allows us to consider a wide variety of responses to the global emergency. They are used here to review and evaluate a sample of proposed transition strategies; then to enable a range of post-conventional and transformative options for the future.
Dr. Richard A Slaughter is a writer, practitioner and innovator in Futures Studies and Applied Foresight with a particular interest in Integral Futures.
Richard is Director of Foresight International (

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