Alternative Futures Research Collaborative

"Alternative Futures Research Collaborative" (AFRC) is created by AFRN in partnership with New Economy Network Australia (NENA) to execute the MOU signed by the two parties.

The Alternative Futures Research Network (AFRN) studies and promotes alternative modes of development beyond Carbon, Capital, Consumerism and (unsustainable) Growth with a focus on the prospects of inclusive development in Australian regional areas, particularly the Hunter Region.

NENA is a network of individuals and organizations working to transform Australia’s economic system so that achieving ecological health and social justice are the foundational principles and primary objectives of the economic system.

AFRC is the UON-FEDUA’s first community-partnered participatory research initiative, that intends to identify, explore, develop and promote collaborative research projects focused on building new socio-ecological and economic systems/modalities in Australia.

Surely, there is no shortage of transformative practices, utopian visions, and progressive transition theories. But perhaps one of the greatest dilemmas of our time, confronted by the progressive social forces, can be formulated in this way:

The expectation that out of the marketplace of aimless interactions between countless various forms of post-capital alterity in somehow magically will rise a new paradigm that eventually ends the supreme rule of capital, before it ends life, ironically resembles the very core neoliberal myth of invisible hands and the trickle-down fairy-tale.

There are myriads of possibilities for reform and transformation; diversity is surely an advantage, but also paradoxically is a drawback in the age of looming complex catastrophes. The prime task should perhaps then be to make efforts to integrate our divergent ingenuities and to restructure the plethora of rival progressive voices around their shared principles and common values.

In response to the above historical challenge, AFRHub aims to: (1) create a Common Platform for promoting conversation, convergence, collaboration, coalition and integration among various transformative forces and visions; (2) co-create a ‘Knowledge Commons of Alternatives’ (KCA) through exploring, mapping, comparing, examining alternative modes of livelihood, governance, and sociability that transcend capitalist relations and the current crisis-prone dependence on carbon, consumerism, corruptive politics, and compulsive growth.

By employing an integrative, interdisciplinary approach and a general ‘transformative methodological framework’ consisting of methods such as social network analysis, big data mining and analytics, social and communal informatics, in-depth case studies and ethnographies of exemplary cases, social set analyses, and decolonized critical action research, AFRC will be able to better understand the dynamism of current social transitions, predict future trajectories and empower progressive social forces.

Co-chaired by Dr. S A Hamed Hosseini (from UON) and Dr. Michelle Maloney (from NENA), AFRC consists of two steering groups:

  1. Collaborative Research (CR) Committee:
    1. Designs and pursues core projects with NENA that aim to realize the objectives of the MOU; this includes identifying, exploring, developing and promoting collaborative research projects focused on building new socio-ecological and economic systems or modalities in Australia;
    2. Actively seek financial and in-kind supports required to implement the activities of collaboration including linkage/joint research projects and facilitate joint publications;
  2. Engagement and Impact (EI) Committee:
    1. (co-)organise and (co-)host events including research-oriented conferences, symposia, and training workshops;
    2. Coordinate and promote community-partnered projects to ensure that AFRC contributes to the development of the knowledge commons, supports game-changing regional/national social/practical projects, and informs actions that transform Australian society; and
    3. Create an open and collaborative platform for mutual learning, professional training, and sharing experiences amongst the academics and practitioners involved in regional/national social projects.

AFRC enjoys special support form its external Advisory Council of Experts that is comprised of distinguished academics, policy specialists, research end-users, and practitioners.

Members of the CR committee

Members of the EI Committee

External Advisory Council

Dr. S A Hamed Hosseini

Dr. James Juniper

Mr. Matthew Allen

Dr. Michelle Maloney

Dr. S A Hamed Hosseini

Ms. Meaghan Burkett

A/Prof. Kate Senior

A/Prof. Hans A Baer

...

Prof. Simon Springer

Dr. Sidsel Grimstad

Prof. Marcus Foth

...

Dr. Michelle Maloney

Prof. James Goodman

...

A/Prof. Sara Motta

Mr. Steven Liaros

...

Dr. Liam Phelan

Prof. Duncan McDuie-Ra

...

A/Prof. Kate Senior

...
...

Prof. Simon Springer

...
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