ROANNE
VAN VOORST

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About Roanne

Dr. Roanne van Voorst is a futures-anthropologist, writer and (Tedx)speaker. She is president of the Dutch Future Society and works as a scientific advisor for HATCH, on the future of work. She obtained her PhD in 2014 (cum laude/ with honors) as an ‘anthropologist of the future’; her core research focuses on what she calls ‘sustainable humanity’: in times of robotification, what makes us human?

Read more about Roanne’s research and her ideas about sustainable humanity here, find information about her writing work or about the trainings and lectures she developed, here. You can also request Roanne’s speaking-availability for an event, or get in touch.

PSSST: Do you come from the Netherlands, just as Roanne herself? Then there is a special page for you in Dutch, in case you find that more easy!

Now working on a new book on the future of intimacy.
Want to be the first to pre-order? Sign up here.

Roanne both writes academic texts, as well as non-academic books and articles (for example for NRC Handelsblad). Her work has been translated into different languages and is published internationally.

Read her articles
Read her books

She also occasionally writes poetry, both in English and Dutch.

Here is a selection of her recent poems

RESEARCH

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, offers consultancy and academic advice to different Non-Governmental Organisations and companies, and is currently affiliated to the International Institute of Social Studies. Roanne is also chair/president 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 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 companies, without losing human values? If robots become even more efficient in carrying out our tasks (and soon they will), how can we avoid making humans redundant on the workfloor - and should we? Will we develop friendly relationships with robots in the future, will we end up worshipping them, or will they take over and destroy mankind? How will we care for our loved ones, our parents and our children? How will we make friends, or love, or babies, in 5, 10 or 30 years from now?

Curious to learn Roanne's insights on these topics?
Come and visit one of her public talks, read some of her articles on the theme,
follow a training that she co-designed,
or be the first to pre-order her book on the future of love.

SPEAKING

Roanne regularly speaks about her research and books, moderates or presents events, or reads from her work.

Some of her favourite themes:

  • The future of love, intimacy and sex
  • Sustainable Humanity
  • The future of friendship
  • The future of work
  • The future of food

For booking inquiries, please contact MVP Management: myrthe@mvpmanagement.nl

Upcoming talks:


2022:

Kinderallergologie Symposium (March, on the future of food)


Sijthoff Media (April, on the future of society)


Sexuality Festival (April, on the future of intimacy)


Nacht van de Filosofie (April, on the future of love)


Saxion (May, on the future of friendship)


VINT (June, on futures-anthropology)


International Literature Festival The Hague


2021:

Nacht van Ontdekkingen - talk on sustainable humanity


Het Filosofisch Kwintet - on the future of humanity, with Steven Pinker, Philipp Blomm and Rutger Bregman


IMPAKT festival - keynote talk on the Future of Love


Explore the North - talk on Sustainable Humanity


UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) - talk on Sustainable Futures at work

Most recent public talks


'The future of work' for IKEA International


RUG University, keynote talk on dealing with unknown futures


Avebe, keynote talk on the future of food


'The future of love' for BRAINWASH Talks


Impossible Bodies - a future scenario on cyborgs, trans- and humanism


The Brave New World conference (Leiden)


Roanne on storytelling, sci-fi and future-scenarios


Roanne's summer discussion at the TNW Couch Conference (co-organized by the Financial Times) on future leadership demands - in our personal lives, and in companies.


Roanne; writer, podcaster, speaker

Some recent examples of performances: on pop-festival Lowlands she shared her vision on the future of love, food and music; during TedxTalks in Amsterdam and Wageningen she envisaged a sustainable future of our world – one in which nature, humans and technology flourish; during a ‘history and future dinner’, she spoke for an intimate audience of futurists and trendwatchers, during a lunchtalk at Patagonia she spoke about the future of work, and during a booktour in Indonesia, she read from her work and engaged in meet-and-greets with her readers.


Roanne is known for her ability to explain complex matters in an accessible and engaging manner. With her anthropological background, she is not your average futurist: instead of just pointing out trends, she explains how these trends will affect humanity: the way we think, live, love, work and feel. Moreover, as is common in the field of anthropology, Roanne personally tries out- or engages in - many of the future trends that she studies: whether it be a future food-product, a sex doll, an app, a job of the future, or a future-house. This often leads to unexpected, funny and – most importantly – incredibly insightful lectures about the impact that technology and other modern innovations have on human beings, on our companies, our families and neighbourhoods.


Roanne enjoys working with event coordinators to customize her talks within the scope of her research. Below is a top 3 of the most requested topics:

  1. The future of love, sex and gender

    Did you know that soon, most people will live single, in a house without roommates? That ‘sologamy’ is the new thing? Did you know that in the nearby future, sexdolls and avatars may have taken over the job of sexworkers? That long-distance technology will make it easier for couples to feel connected and stay intimate, even if they are hundreds of miles apart? All of these trends will deeply impact the way in which we experience love. It is often taken for granted that love is a universal force: something that never changes. But in this talk, Roanne explains that no such thing is true. By taking her audience into the history of love, relationships and marriage, she shows that the way in which we fall in love and care for romantic partners, constantly evolves. At this moment, we are on the breach of what is perhaps one of the biggest changes in the history of love: in the future, we will never love the same.

    Roanne; writer, podcaster, speaker
  2. The future of work and education

    If robots and algorhytms become ever more efficient in carrying out human tasks, there is a fair chance that humans will become redundant on the workfloor. In this fascinating talk, Roanne helps companies and employees understand what individuals can do and learn, in order to remain professionally successful in the future. She discusses the skills that our children should already start developing, to increase their chance on a good job. And she also shares a future-scenario in which ways robots and humans collaborate, allowing us more free time for the things in life we value – even if they are usually not paid.

    Roanne; writer, podcaster, speaker
  3. The future of food

    What will you be having for breakfast, lunch or dinner in 2030? Where will this food be sourced? And how will it be prepared? Will we eat burgers made from cultured meat? Snacks made from insects? Or pills and powders based on your DNA profile? It may sound far-fetched, but with a growing world population we must carefully reconsider our food system – and times are changing, faster than you thought possible. With videos, images and personal stories about the future food that she tested for you, Roanne offers an insight into your future meals. Based on scientific research and dozens of interviews with futurists, trend watchers, lawyers, lobbyists, sociologists, historians, food experts, psychologists, inventors, vegan bodybuilders, influencers and farmers, Roanne outlines an anthropology of the future. She shows how norms, trends, and cultures in societies will rapidly change and introduces you to a post-cruelty future.

    Roanne; writer, podcaster, speaker

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

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