Future Fables

The stories that make up the Future Fables: Lessons from Other Animals collection are intended to open up new thresholds for considering how humans relate to the more-than-human species around us. These stories emerged alongside another project we are developing with the Australian Museum, titled Survival Stories: Threatened Species and the Scientists Who Study Them, to be launched in late 2023.

Although creative and playful, the stories we are developing for the Museum are necessarily ‘fact based’, as appropriate for a scientific institution. Yet while interviewing scientists and fossicking in the archives, we began spinning stories that were more fable than fact: expatriate lungfish looking for love in lonely hearts columns, a conversation between a naturalist and a platypus about colonial collection practices, historical news extracted from the bellies of fish specimens.

In addition to our own experimental stories, we met artists and storytellers with wonderfully unusual stories of human-animal entanglements: bats as a potent metaphor for living with autism, or as an extended metaphor for parenting in climate emergency.

The Center for Humans and Nature is a US-based non-profit platform dedicated to promoting human responsibilities in relation to nature, with a commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. It is the perfect home for these future fables, speculative histories, and unlikely visualisations.

This project has been made possible through the support of the Australian Museum, particularly Climate Curator and Manager of the Climate Solutions Center Jenny Newell, UTS School of Design, and a 2022 International Engagement Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts.