Dr. Roanne van Voorst is a futures-anthropologist, writer, columnist and president of the Dutch Future Society. She obtained her PhD in 2014 (cum laude/ with honors) and is currently affiliated to the University of Amsterdam as assistant professor. As an ‘anthropologist of the future’; her core research focuses on what she has coined ‘sustainable humanity’: in times of robotification, digitization and big-data lead decisionmaking, what makes us human? And how does society remain humane? Her current, ERC-granted research investigates these topics in the context of public health, in six different country case studies.
Roanne has conducted research all over the world, from Inuit villages in Greenland to the slums of Jakarta and from refugee-camps in Greece to brothels in Austria; amongst conflict actors in Haiti as well as with sexworkers in the Netherlands.
In 2014, she obtained her Ph.D. (with distinction/cum laude) at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR). She has since worked as a consultant for the Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS) on a research project on the future of cities, offered consultancy and academic advice to different Non-Governmental Organisations and companies, and participated in a 5-year long international research at the International Institute of Social Studies. Currently, Roanne is affiliated to the University of Amsterdam. She leads an international research team, investigating the future of public health in different countries. She is also chairwoman of the Dutch Future Society.
As an anthropologist of the future, Roanne’s approach typically involves in-depth interviews, extensive literature research and participant observation: a methodology in which the researchers emerges herself deeply into the topic of study, so that she can experience, rather than just cognitively understand the matter at hand (simpler put: Roanne personally tries out many of the things that she studies). She combines this way of working with futuristic scenario-building – a method in which she was trained at Utrecht University.
In her ongoing research, Roanne focuses on what she calls ‘sustainable humanity’. In the next 20 years, humanity is likely to face more changes than the past 300 years. Roanne asks what keeps us human, in times of robotification, Artificial Intelligence, fake news and global crises. How can we move ahead as modern citizens and digitizing companies, without losing human values? If decisions in hospitals are increasingly led by big data, how will this change our health policies? If robotics continue to improve, will we develop friendly relationships with them in the future, or will they take care of us when we are ill or lonely? How will we make friends, or love, or babies, in 5, 10 or 30 years from now?
Roanne has won several academic scholarships for her research projects, amongst which funding from the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES), the Catherine van Tussenbroeckfonds and the European Research Committee.
Selection of recent talks:
- International Health Conference Dubai (digitization of health)
- AAA/CASCA annual meeting Toronto (future of health)
- Goldschmeding Foundation (future of health and humanity)
- University of Göteburg (on futures-anthropology)
- NWO technology festival (on techno-society)
- Academie voor Organisatiecultuur (futures-anthropology)
- NEMO museum Amsterdam (sustainable humanity)
- TedX Amsterdam Schiphol (sustainable humanity)
- Probiblio (about the future of humanity in society)
- Kinderallergologie Symposium (on the future of healthcare)
- Sijthoff Media (on the future of society)
- Nacht van de Filosofie (on the future of human relations)
- Saxion (on the future of friendship)
- VINT (on futures-anthropology)
- International Literature Festival The Hague (on feminism, the future of housing and the future of food)
- Het Filosofisch Kwintet - on the future of humanity, with Steven Pinker, Philipp Blomm and Rutger Bregman
- RUG University, keynote talk on dealing with unknown futures
What others say
‘Our largest event-space was fully booked after we’d booked Roanne to speak about the art of overcoming fears. The audience was amazed and thrilled!‘ - Patrick Baars, Marketing & Communicatie account manager NKBV
‘Roanne gave a public lecture for our Better Future Campus, for 80 senior managers and corporate professionals. She spoke about courageous leadership with wisdom and humour – the audience loved it.‘ - Michel Barth, Managing Partner of Better Future
‘The 200 people in the Museon thoroughly enjoyed Roanne’s story. Her knowledge and expertise are impeccable, and she is a passionate speaker – everyone was moved. We immediately booked her again!‘ - Diederik Veerman, curator Museon
Get in touch!
If you want to interview Roanne for public media,
please contact her publishers.
In the Netherlands, that is Podium for Park Uitgevers: Saskia.Hausel@parkuitgevers.nl. In the US, that will be Harper Collins: email@example.com.
For Germany, please contact Penguin Random House:
If you have a question or tip related to Roanne's current academic work on the future of public health, please Email to firstname.lastname@example.org