Interviews with / by

Catherine Armitage Interviews Richard Slaughter for the Sydney Morning Herald (2012)

It’s not the apocalypse but it is time to wake up and act, a troubled futurist tells Catherine Armitage. As he comes into view among the autumn lunchtime crowd at the Art Gallery of NSW, there’s nothing about Richard Slaughter to suggest he’s one of the world’s foremost futurists and a founding father of the discipline in Australia. Of slight build and wearing a lightweight jacket and casual slacks, the author and educator – whose radical book The Biggest Wake-up Call in History sets out the signs of pending planetary collapse and advocates consensual social transformation to head it off – could be just another gent with a little time on his hands, here to catch the Archibald exhibition. Except for a slightly intimidating intensity behind the glasses. And the fact he’s clutching a chicken focaccia. Read more…

Ryota Ono Interviews Richard Slaughter for his Research Paper on Futurists in Australia (Journal of Futures Studies, 15, 2, 2010)

The first question was ‘what paths and/or key events have brought you where you are and to what you are doing in relation to the futures field?’ The response: ‘I was attracted to science fiction when I was a teenager. Eventually, I realised that the images of the future appearing in SF were mostly negative. The question arose was ‘Why is the collective image of the future so depressing? Read more…

Wendell Bell and Richard Slaughter in Conversation (Journal of Futures Studies 2006/7)

Prof Wendell Bell is one of the most productive, articulate and respected members of the international futures community. Over several decades he has published many papers and books, culminating in his two-volume opus, Foundations of Futures Studies, which immediately became one of the foundational texts of the field. We’d met on numerous occasions at conferences around the world and developed both a continuing dialogue and an enduring friendship. While we do not see eye-to-eye on every single subject, we both subscribe to the view that FS has a vital role to play in an ever more threatened world. I began this email conversation with reference to a book that deals with various threats facing the US itself. Read more…

Ashis Nandy, Ziauddin Sardar and Richard Slaughter interviewed by Jose Ramos (Futures 37, 2005, pp 433-444) 

The history and development of futures studies is explored in interviews with three leading futurists. Ashis Nandy, Ziauddin Sardar and Richard Slaughter provide a personal perspective on their involvement in the field and the World Futures Studies Federation and reflect on future possibilities. Read more…

Seizing Tomorrow, Liz Else Interviews Richard Slaughter in Brasov, Romania (New Scientist 1st December, 2001, pp 42-45.)

Ask most people and they’ll tell you they take the future very seriously. Ask a politician and they’ll bore you into the ground with a 50-point action plan. Hopeless, says Richard Slaughter, who’s just become president of the World Futures Studies Federation. He’s a professor of futures studies based at the Australian Foresight Institute within Swinburne University of Technology, and he reckons the way we think about the future is all wrong. What we should do is study the future systematically if we are to stand the faintest chance of avoiding the disasters that are coming at us thick and fast. For him, understanding the future may also be the best way to change the present. Read more…

Neville Glasgow Interviews Richard Slaughter on Radio National, Wellington, New Zealand, December 1996

Today we’re going to explore something vital to us all – the future, or to be more exact the study of the future. A recent visitor to New Zealand was Dr Richard Slaughter, author of many books on futures studies, and Director of the Futures Study Centre in Melbourne. As he explains it, futures studies is not so much about predicting or prophesying the future, it is understanding the alternatives and making informed decisions in the present. Read more…

Normative Scenarios and Human Freedom: a Conversation with Jay Ogilvy (ABN Report, 1998) 

At the time of this interview Jay Ogilvy was co-founder and managing director of Global Business Network (GBN). Jay’s research and consulting experience revolved around scenario planning and the role human values and changing motivations play in purchasing decisions, telecommunications, health care and education. Jay also headed the development of GBN’s Scenario Planning Seminars and he worked with numerous companies to embed scenario thinking into their planning processes. He pursued these interests in collaboration with Peter Schwartz from 1979, when he joined SRI, and since 1988 with GBN. … I began by reading him a quote from his own writing where he said that ‘simply to be a human being is to be a futurist of sorts’. What did he mean by that? Read more…

Jordi Sierra Interviews Elise Boulding on Feminism, Futures, Peace Work and Civil Society

Best known for her work in peace and disarmament activism, Elise Boulding is one of those people you love for their naturalness and charm. Her work in futures studies has been pioneering; she is a member of the generation that moved into the future more for moral reasons than for scientific ones. She has not only intellectual depth but an ethical dimension and a sharp sense of humour as well. Her involvement in all sorts of international forums has given her an unusually broad perspective which lets her tackle a great variety of subjects. Read more…

At the Dawn of the Third Millennium: Scenario Planning and Beyond. A conversation with Peter Schwartz (ABN Report, 1996)

At the time of this interview Peter Schwartz was an internationally known futurist and business strategist. A specialist in scenario planning, he worked with corporations and institutions to create alternative perspectives of the future and to develop robust strategies for a changing and uncertain world. His research and scenario work encompassed energy resources and the environment, technology, financial services, telecommunications, media and entertainment, aerospace, national security, and the Asia-Pacific region. I began by asking him ‘How was it that you first became interested in the futures area? What were the starting points for you?’ Read more…

The Gaijin Futurist: Interview with Jim Dator (21C #8 Summer 1992)

Futurists often approach their field with great enthusiasm. But Jim Dator’s ‘road to Damascus’ started with rejection in Japan. … Dator travelled to Japan partly to discover why this small and war-beaten country had industrialised so much more rapidly than any other non-Western country of the time. He also came to understand the crucial relationship between values, technology, and society. “I learned that, no matter how hard I tried, or how ‘Japanese’ I thought I was, Japanese society is impossible to penetrate from the outside. Read more…

Wired up for the Digital Future: Interview with Kevin Kelly (ABN Report 6, 9, 1998) 

Before I asked Kelly about his book New Rules for the New Economy I asked him what motivated him to write the earlier one – Out of Control. What was the real starting point and motive? Kelly responded that Out of Control came about because he couldn’t get anybody else to write it. It concerned things he was really interested in and found fascinating, like the Biosphere 2 project, the emerging internet, ecological restoration and artificial life. He felt that all of these were deeply connected. He wanted someone to tell him how they were connected and to explore the larger universe that underpinned them. As editor (of Wired magazine) he tried to get others to take these assignments, but nobody did. In the end he felt compelled to do so himself. Read more…

Jamie King Interviews Ziauddin Sardar on Postmodernism, the Internet and the Future (1998)

Metamute editor Jamie King in conversation with Ziauddin Sardar, a contemporary example of classical Islamic polymaths. Born in Pakistan, he grew up in Britain where he has worked as a writer, science journalist, television reporter, futurist and cultural Ziauddin is regarded as a pioneering writer on the future of Islam and a formidable critic of the dominating tendencies of all things western. Read more…

The Lateral Lexicon: Richard Slaughter Interviews Edward de Bono (21C, No. 2 1997)

I began the interview by asking if de Bono could ‘briefly sketch in some of his personal starting points?’ He responded in the following way. ‘Well, with hindsight it’s always easier to pinpoint starting points which may, or may not, have been the real starting points. Three things came together. My background is in medicine, partly because that is very much a family tradition. My father, his brothers, his father were are doctors; so I started off in Malta doing medicine. Then, as a Rhodes Scholar, I went to Oxford where I took psychology and physiology. It was from psychology that I developed an interest in thinking.’ Read more…

The Colour of Money: Interview with Charles Birch (21C 1995 issue 1)

Charles Birch was for some years Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Sydney. He was a highly respected commentator, writer and speaker on theological and environmental issues, and a member of the Club of Rome. His 1976 book Confronting the Future was revised and re-issued in 1993. It is a ground-breaking book which systematically considers the challenges confronting Australia and, indeed, the whole Western world. His 1990 book On Purpose attempted to establish a basis for values in a world dominated by science and technology. This was followed in 1993 by Regaining Compassion for Humanity and Nature which explores alternatives to the materialistic outlook. I began by asking him about the origins of Confronting the FutureRead more…

Summary of Charles Birch’s Confronting the Future (Penguin, Melbourne, 1976, 1993) (To open click here)

Upshifters: Pioneers of an Awakening Culture – Interview with Duane Elgin by Sarah van Gelder and Richard Slaughter

Sarah’s first question was ‘How did we get to the point where buying and possessing things has become so important to us? What need is it fulfilling in our lives?’ Duane’s response began with the following statement. ‘Since World War II, we’ve seen the most massive experiment that’s ever been undertaken in programming the psyche of a civilisation. And it has worked. The advertising culture has succeeded in creating identity consumption – a sense that our meaning in life depends upon the significance of what we consume…’ (Read more…)

Psych-Fi: JG Ballard’s Startling Views of the Future (21C, Issue 5, Autumn 1992)

J.G. Ballard was a gentle, courteous man with a soft southern English accent. Yet he had a vision of startling originality. His fiction, which explored our hidden obsessions with media, technologies, landscapes, gained him a solid international readership. Perhaps more than any other, Ballard drew attention to the new – often powerfully subversive – ways that mainstream cultures appear to be undermined by the very tools and innovations that sustain them. Read more…

Education Futures: Painting a New Picture. Ashley Crawford Interview with Prof. Hedley Beare (21C Issue 8, Summer 1992)

The publication in December of Education for the 21st Century by Professor Hedley Beare and Dr Richard Slaughter may establish some fresh ways of looking at the problem of how education can respond to the emerging world picture. The book may also cause as much controversy as it does guidance with its suggestion that before effective reforms can be implemented the entire existing structure of educational institutions and philosophies must be profoundly questioned. Beare, a gentle, thoughtful man, in some ways fits the traditional image of an educator. Quietly spoken, lightly built, with an avuncular manner and a ready smile, he looks much like university professors the world over. However in terms of attitude and viewpoint, Hedley Beare is anything but traditional. Read more…

Basic Human Needs and Ecological Balance: Sohail Inayatullah interviews Johan Galtung (Prout Journal Vol 4 No 1 1989)

The first question sought Galtung’s views on the present crises facing humanity, his vision of the future and his perspectives on the long waves of social change, on macro history. He responded by saying ‘let us first start with some of the basic issues facing the world. To answer this question, we should always have as our point of departure two simple points; one is basic human needs and the other is ecological balance.’ Read more…