Archive of Futures will be a digital repository of documents, videos, photos, and more of the next 200 years. Jasmine H. Wade, PhD student at UC Davis and creative writer, and the AfroSurreal Writer’s Workshop invite you to dream up materials that you hope to see in the next 200 years or that you think are possible/likely in the next 200 years.
We feel that it is nearly impossible to build a future that you cannot envision. So, we invite you to dream with us, to think of futures that are just, feminist/womanist, anti-racist, queer, or whatever your heart hopes for. What policies, events, and stories emerge in the act of imagining a radical, inclusive future? Octavia Butler, Black speculative fiction writer who has lately been called prophetic, was imagining futures, desirable and undesirable, long ago. We are taking up her call to action to engage our imaginations, our greatest strength, in fierce and wonderful ways.
On this website, you’ll find our official call for submissions, which outlines the details of the project. The call also includes an incomplete list of potential submissions. You’ll also find our book of prompts to help get your ideas going and a list of frequently asked questions.
Why an Archive?
From Jasmine H. Wade:
The idea that will become Archive of Futures started when I brought Saidiya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother to a Black Lives Matter event in Sacramento (yes, I’m that person who brings a book everywhere). The event was in a park near my apartment where music played and the faint smell of hot sausages made my stomach rumble. I got there early, picked a good seat, and settled into my book as I waited for others to arrive. I was just at that point in Lose Your Mother where Dr. Hartman describes a young enslaved girl’s murder on a ship from three perspectives—the slave trader, the witness, and finally the girl. I laid the book down on my lap and tried to imagine Hartman’s process. Was she sitting in an archive somewhere, reading court transcripts and ship manifests, and then put together this beautiful narrative? Did she look at the documents, yellowed and fragile, and see the narrative that wasn’t physically there: the girl’s?
Then, the BLM Sac event started. The conversation drifted from the agenda a bit and folks began to talk about their hopes for Sacramento. Elders, youth, and everyone in between chatted about what they wanted their schools to look like, what access to necessary mental health services could look like, and places they hoped their children could play and feel free. I imagined someone in the future listening to this conversation, not unlike Hartman how dug through the archives, and finding the seed of an idea for a story, policy, dissertation, and more. This thought sparked what will become Archive of Futures.
In Make Your Own History: Documenting Feminist and Queer Activism in the 21st Century, Alison Piepmeier asserts that documenting is activism; “when materials are archived, they archive the status of something significant enough to be worth saving.” My intention with Archive of Futures is to create a space that asserts not only that our dreams are significant and worth saving but also that it is imperative to save our dreams, to document our visions for the future so that we and generations to come can build on and shift things in our favor.
Jasmine H. Wade is a speculative fiction writer, curriculum designer, and PhD student in Sacramento, California. She’s a queer time traveler, one who moves, thinks, and imagines in the past, present, and future at once. Her short stories have appeared in Drunken Boat, Lunch Ticket, the Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 2, and others. She is an alumna of VONA/Voices and Mills College’s MFA program. Her dissertation focuses on Black and Indigenous radical aesthetic practices, and she uses speculation, poetics, and critical fabulation to visualize the futures activists are working to create. Her stories and graduate work play with the ideas of ghosts, time travel, apocalypse, and more in the pursuit of a better world.
Radhiyah Ayobami was born in Brooklyn by way of the South. She is an Africana Studies graduate of Brooklyn College and a prose MFA graduate of Mills College in Oakland, California. She has been published in several journals including Kweli, Agni, and Tayo Literary Magazine, and she has facilitated writing workshops with pregnant teens, inmates, and elders. She has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Sustainable Arts Foundation, Atlantic Center for the Arts and Under the Volcano Mexico. She is a Reiki Master, an herbal tea blender, a listener of the trees, and Mama to a beautiful son. She is also the author of The Long Amen.
Audrey T. Williams is an Oakland-based Poet/Writer/Healer. In 2018, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts. She works full-time as a Copy Supervisor in the healthcare/biotech industry in San Francisco. Audrey’s creative projects share narratives through a lens of multi-cultural ancestry from the African and South Asian diasporas. She is currently working on non-fiction, poetry, and speculative fiction projects that draw from dreamwork, myth, and sacred geometry. Her current book-length projects include: Of Chutney and Chitlins: Stories from a Multi-cultural American Girl and Learning to Spell: Setting Intentions for Intuiting and Invoking the Muse. Audrey’s poetry chapbook, Where I Dream, is available only at Alley Cat Bookstore in the Mission District of San Francisco.
Rochelle Spencer is author of AfroSurrealism: The African Diaspora’s Surrealist Fiction (Routledge 2019) and Guardian Angels (Nomadic Press 2019), and co-editor, with Jina Ortiz, ofAll About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2014). She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, a former board member of the Hurston Wright Foundation, a VONA alum, a member of the International Art Critics Association/Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art (AICA), a recipient of an NEA Art Works grant, and a scholar with the Black Book Interactive Project, directed by Dr. Maryemma Graham. Rochelle is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Literature at Fisk University, has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Spelman College, San Jose State University, Laney College, and LaGuardia Community College, and was a griot at Bucknell University’s Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives and Culture.