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Melanie Walker, Alejandra Boni, Diana Velasco


The chapter outlines the conceptualisation of ‘reparative futures’ as explained by Arathi Sriprakash, David Nally, Kevin Myers, and Pedro Ramos-Pinto (Learning with the past: Racism, Education and Reparative Futures. Paper commissioned for the UNESCO Futures of Education Report. Accessed 1 Oct 2021, 2020), as well as the importance of transformative learning spaces which take us forward for actions beyond only critiques of what is wrong and unjust. Sriprakash and her colleagues make the case for learning with the past and from experiences of material, affective, and social oppressions as a methodology to construct reparative futures which are humanising, inclusive, sustainable, and more just, and where past injustices are no longer replicated but repaired. They propose that reparative futures signal a commitment to identify and recognise the injustices visited on, and experienced by, individuals and communities in the past. The concept understands that these past injustices, even when they appear to be distant in time or ‘over,’ will continue to endure in people’s lives in material and affective ways unless, and until, they are consciously and carefully addressed. Such injustices might include racism, patriarchy, colonialism, climate injustices, among others. Reparative futures and reparative spaces can then be a generative basis for knowledge and the shaping of transformative learning spaces—critical, reflective, changed understandings, and worldviews—in participatory ways and processes which value the lives of ordinary people and celebrate their knowledge, agency, resilience, and hopes in building different futures.

Collective learning, historical thinking, and ethical listening and dialogue would all feature, aimed at transforming the world rather than adapting to an unethical past/present/future and the transformative power of ‘being’ through education and solidarity. Collectively imagined futures would ground emergent transformations and learning and reparative agency. Reparative futures and such learning are then potential contributions to sustainable human development and well-being and to decolonisation. The chapter further introduces the capability approach to show that reparative futures require the formation of valuable beings and doings (capabilities and functionings) and the enhancement of agency towards human development ends.

Year of publication 2023