Mr. Doug Worts
Standing on the Shoulders of Ancestors: Linking Past and Present to a Sustainable Future
Our world is getting more intense by the day. In the face of climate change to political chaos, humanity would certainly benefit from a vision of the future we want to inhabit. It is vital that progressive governments and businesses step up to provide the necessary leadership – and there are examples of each in the world. In addition, part of the crafting of a new vision lies in turning to the past. This means claiming the wisdom springing from the experiences of ancestors, and applying it to present-day decision-making processes. The challenges we face today are in large part ‘cultural’. If ‘culture’ is understood as the way in which people form relationships with each other, as well as with the larger natural world, then consciously and effectively adapting our cultural foundation blocks will be vital. This presentation will explore and invite museums and heritage professionals to imagine how experimenting with different ways of thinking about, and engaging with, the past can help chart our path into a sustainable and flourishing future.
Douglas Worts works as a culture & sustainability specialist with WorldViews Consulting, in Toronto. Douglas approaches culture broadly, as ‘how we live our lives’, seeing museums as potential facilitators in forging an emerging ‘culture of sustainability’. His professional work combines a 40-year career in museums, including more than two decades exploring how culture shapes and directs the prospects for global human sustainability/unsustainability. Of central importance within Douglas’ museum career are experimental exhibits and audience research, coupled with organizational design and change management. More recently, the field of ‘systems-thinking’ has become fundamental – locating the forces and factors that create our living culture, which is demonstrably unsustainable. Douglas has published, taught and lectured widely on his work.