Gemma Milne_Headshot_creditAndrewPerry

Gemma Milne


Realising the potential of CCE in enhancing (political) imagination in the new space sector

Gemma Milne is a Glasgow-based writer and researcher focused on narratives surrounding, activism in and political economy of science and technology. She is author of ‘Smoke & Mirrors: How Hype Obscures the Future and How to See Past It’; is a researcher in Science and Technology Studies and Sociology at both Edinburgh University and Glasgow University focused on corporate futurism and the political economy of deep tech. Gemma writes for outlets such as The Guardian, WIRED, Forbes, the BBC and others; and is co-host of the Radical Science podcast. Gemma is an Assessor for Innovate UK, a Fellow of the Institute for the Future of Work, an Innovation Jury Member for SXSW and has previously been a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and an Expert Advisor for the European Commission.


The imagination plays an outsized role in the outer space sector. From sci-fi adventures and educational scientism, to mission-orientated politics and corporate space visions; imagination creates momentum in space-based fields, shaping marketing, hiring, sales, investment and lobbying. Fredric Jameson famously said it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. We are arguably ‘risk creatures’, stopping ourselves from creating the future we want due to the imagined and material barriers of modern society. VC is chased, IP is imprisoned, ownership is concentrated; potentially harmful power structures are created in the name of ‘getting innovation done’. If the space sector is to avoid replicating harm, a different kind of imagination is required. By exploring creative practices designed to enhance imagination, I will investigate the role the cultural and creative economies can play in imagining a ‘prefigurative politics’ for the space sector.