Solarity Workshop Session 1

Solarpunk: Recognizing the Future

Led by Rhys Williams, Gretchen Bakke, and Josefin Wangel

Solarpunk is a literary genre that imagines hopeful futures, a lens for seeing those futures germinating in the present, and a community that strives to realise them. Solarpunk is unique in that it binds fiction and fantasy to real world handy work. To do Solarpunk one needs to both be able to imagine a solar future in its mundane specificity, and have the skills to hammer, screw and wire it together. The solarpunk future is not out there somewhere and sometime, but here in the present, demanding we recognise it, and get better at making it happen. Solarpunk can be thus be read as an example of utopianism (Fournier 2002; Levitas 2013) in which the ’practical cultivation of contemporary possibilities’ stands in focus. In this workshop we explore these capacities and possibilities through practical, emotional and bodily engagement: we imagine; we write; we construct solar panels and learn how they work, and we come to see the world we build as already here in its elements. These elements simply need drawing together; here, for these few days, we will be the ones to draw, tinker, and write it together.

Fournier, V. (2002). Utopianism and the cultivation of possibilities: grassroots movements of hope. The Sociological Review, 50(1), 189–216.

Levitas, R. (2013). Utopia as method: the imaginary reconstitution of society. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.