Covid-19 forced changes in everyday life upon large sections of the world’s population, with lockdowns and social distancing measures effecting conditions of work and leisure for billions of people. In this context our research created a space in which people living in countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa were invited to imagine what the future could look like – beyond the pandemic – by writing a Letter from the Future. In this paper we examine what these letters show about one particular relationship between the present and the future: a relationship of hope. In the context of major crises, and the complex experiences of loss they involve, the possibilities for hope becomes an urgent issue. We analyse a selection of responses from participants between 18 and 35 years-old, from Ecuador and Greece, to address two questions: (1) Do these letters express hope? (2) If so, in what ways is this hope political? Our answers to these questions have implications for understanding the nature, possibilities and politics of hope at times of crisis. They also have implications for futures studies: indicating the potential value of embedding the Letters from the Future method in a range of research contexts.
- Letters from the Future