About Futures and Beyond: Creativity and 4IR Conference 2022

The Futures and Beyond: Creativity and 4IR Conference aims to serve as an impetus for an Africa-centric discourse and knowledge development at the intersection of Creativity and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The specificities of industrialization on the African continent require unique approaches that respond to the context and needs of African societies. These approaches will define the future for the cultural and creative sectors while at the same time re-imagining a new future for Africa where humanity and technology meet.

“The seed of a revolution is often creativity. The Fourth Industrial Revolution harnesses creativity, innovation and these combined makes possible the unimaginable. Our imaginings of a socially just future can become a reality if we discover the right pathways,” notes the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala.

The aspect of humanity within these significant anticipated technological changes is a critical area where ethical design should be considered from a historical perspective to ensure that flawed and oppressive systems do not perpetuate the inequality and discrimination that is stifling development on the continent. A grasp of the three proceeding industrial revolutions known to modern society helps frame an understanding of 4IR. Historically, industrial revolutions have been stimulated by major technological changes, that inform the rate and types of production, which in turn informs systems of labor. These changes have economic repercussions such as greater prosperity for those who own the means of production and major shifts in the use and ownership of resources. Importantly, industrial revolutions have also had substantial social impacts, such as education, gender relations, urbanization, and rapid globalization.

Previous revolutions are well established in literature and their impact has been substantially studied. The development of the cultural and creative sectors is also entwined with changes in technology and creatives have always played a role, both in the development of new technologies as well as in their proliferation. 4IR is, however, still very much in conceptualization, and the range of terms that define it is still in debate. Even more in debate is the impact it is likely to have on all spheres of human life, as well as on the creative sector more specifically.