Areas of expertise
Balcom Raleigh is an interdisciplinary doctoral researcher interested in broadening societal understanding of how the futures people imagine are linked to their capabilities to perceive potential change and innovate. He is co-chair to the UNESCO Chair on Learning for Transformation and Planetary Futures at University of Turku; president of Foresight Europe Network (2023-2024); ex-officio steering group member of The Millennium Project; and occasional independent consultant to international organizations including OECD, UNESCO, and UNEP.
His PhD topic is complexity, transformation, futures literacy, and sustainability innovation. He works with sustainability innovators who are working to address the climate emergency to nurture futures literacy. Through co-inquiry, participatory action research, and principles of communities of practice, these engagements lead to mutually beneficial understandings of how futures literacy materializes and functions for specific groups. As a champioin of co-design of research interventions and reflexive co-inquiry, his motto is ‘no extractive research’.
He started at Finland Futures Research Centre in June 2015 as Millennium Project Intern and continued as a research assistant as part of a benchmarking study for the centre’s Masters Degree Program in Futures Studies. He then joined the Futures of Cities and Communities project in May 2016 and a year later officially began as a Project Researcher for the same project. In that role, he joined ESPON Big Data for Growth Corridors project and BioEcoJust research teams. From 2019-2021 he won sequential annual funding for an EIT Climate-KIC task called FLxDeep.
Before becoming an academic researcher, he worked in the field of online communications (2000-2014) for large and small companies and Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota). The work mostly involved creating e-newsletters, websites, online training, and social media presences, and occasionally involved producing content for online game-based training.
He has a master’s degree in Futures Studies (Turku School of Economics - University of Turku, May 2017). In his master’s thesis he developed a role-driven ‘futuring game’ called Metaphor Molecule. This game has been used as a reframing exercise in a variety of Futures Literacy Labs and as the basis for the BioEcoJust Game developed in the same-named project to enable reflection upon existing and emergent BioEthos.
Balcom Raleigh was responsible teacher of FUTULAB3 Participatory Scenario Planning (2020-2022). This course gives students practical experience in participatory scenario planning with an actual case organization. He co-taught the preceding version of the course, Scenario Thinking, with Amos Taylor in 2019; and with Markku Wilenius and Amos Taylor in 2018.
In 2017, Balcom Raleigh co-designed and co-taught the Finland Futures Academy Summer School which was organized as a UNESCO MOST Futures Literacy Lab on the topic of Complex Futures of Human Settlements.
As a teacher, he is interested in experience-driven education, communities of iniquiry, and participatory action research.
Balcom Raleigh’s PhD research focuses on the interrelations between complexity, transformation, capabilities, and imagination in contexts of sustainability innovation to address the climate emergency. His PhD supervisors are Dr. Katriina
Siivonen (University of Turku) and Dr. Riel Miller (retired from UNESCO).
Most recently, he was a project researcher on the foresight team of the SUSCON project, funded by Business Finland where he led work on introducing futures literacy to project partners and stakeholders.
He was part of the EIT Climate-KIC Deep Demonstration on Long-Termism (June 2019 - December 2021). The goal of this international consortium is to foster long-termism in the finance sector, political sector, and wider society to raise collective ambition and prioritisation of addressing severe long-term consequences of climate change. As part of this Deep Demonstration, Balcom Raleigh led the funded task called Futures Literacy across the Deep (FLxDeep) funded by EIT Climate KIC (see ty.fi/flxdeep, 2019-2020). In 2020, FLxDeep was a consortium of researchers, educators, and foresight practitioners at six partner organizations located in five European nations. conducting a variety of training, participation, and embedded processes for introducing futures literacy in various contexts.
He was part of the futures team of the Bioeconomy and Justice (BioEcoJust) project funded by Academy of Finland(January 2018 to December 2020). This project explored justice and ethical issues that could arise from a full transition to bioeconomy up until year 2125.
Previous to the above, he was part of the Future Potentials of Big Data for European Growth Corridor Development targeted analysis funded by ESPON (May 2018 to August 2019); the Futures of Cities and Communities project focusing on complexity and futures of mobility in Turku 2050 (May 2016 to December 2017); a benchmarking study of international Master's Degree Programs in Futures Studies (January to March 2016); the Millennium Project's Future of Work/Technology 2050 study (June to December 2015); and the NeoCarbon Energy Project funded as a Tekes strategic opening (June to August 2015).