Justine Jungersen-Smith

Justine's hybrid form doctoral work drew on interview material to examine how imagining the future felt from Aotearoa New Zealand 2017-2020.

PhD awarded 2021

Justine has a BA (Otago) in Gender Studies, and Narrative in the Modern World (Film Studies & Comparative Literature). She completed the MA in Creative Writing at Victoria's IIML in 2015. Her writing has appeared in The Pantograph Punch. In 2018 she was longlisted in the inaugural Michael Gifkins Prize for an Unpublished Novel.

Justine writes: 'Contemporary discussions of futurity are dominated by three things: climate change, artificial intelligence, and inequality. Each of these things trouble established ideas about what it means to be human on this planet, and each provide rich grounds for fear. Imagining the future from this historical moment involves trying to imagine environmental and social change so massive as to seem incomprehensible. My research employed a variety of approaches to try and apprehend this sense of the incomprehensible, including interviewing people about how they imagine the future, writing in a fragmented hybrid form, and studying Svetlana Alexievich's "Voices from Utopia" cycle.

'Like Alexievich, I approached "ordinary people" as a way of trying to apprehend epic scale. I asked: how do ordinary people talk about the future? What words do they use? How can I put their words on the page in a way which enacts an ethics of care while also paying attention to the literary possibilities of transcript form?

'During my research I developed a methodology called "Hearing Voices" to frame my research activity and to account for the difficulty of trying to comprehend the future. Hearing Voices became an approach to research and writing which prioritised listening to other voices as a way of trying to make sense of the incomprehensible. I used this methodology to generate creative non-fiction writing which sat alongside the transcript material. "The Cold Hour: Oral Histories of the Future" combined these two forms as a way of trying to apprehend the future and put the incomprehensible on the page.'

Read more:

The Pantograph Punch: work by Justine Jungersen-Smith