This contributing paper systemically explores creative practices across a variety of disciplines, such as visual art, design, cinema, and theatre, that imagine future states and can aid in disaster prevention and risk reduction. It first examines the consequences of failures of the imagination in the context of disaster planning. It outlines the process of scenario planning and considers how each practice may be applied to scenario planning exercises. It examines the way each of these practices models potential catastrophic events and, in some situations, offers potential solutions.
The author seeks to provide a broad cross-section of artists, works, and practices and demonstrate the variety that exists therein. Furthermore, those identified herein were selected for their immediate and easily visible relevance to scenario planning vis-à-vis disaster and risk management. The scope of risks considered is intentionally broad, encompassing disasters as diverse as economic crisis, severe weather, and terrorism. While the extreme events presented herein offer the most dramatic examples of “failure of imagination” scenario planning informed by creative practices can and should be applied to lower-stakes risks as well.