A new generation of practitioners are challenging our definitions of experts and expertise and calling for more diverse voices to be heard. Citizen talks to some of the innovators and entrepreneurs who are working across and beyond professional boundaries to improve city life.

Cathy Runciman: Atlas of the Future

Cathy Runciman

Cathy Runciman co-founded and co-runs Atlas of the Future, an online platform for stories about people working on projects that are shaping a positive democratic future

What do you do?
Atlas of the Future shines a light on people dedicating their energies and talents to shaping more equitable and sustainable futures. Once a year we bring people together at our Fixing the Future event to make new connections, stimulate discussions and inspire change. I’m also head of partnerships at independent global media platform openDemocracy, a non-exec director at Makerversity, a pioneering community of maker businesses in London’s Somerset House, and a member of the Point People systems changers network.

Why do you do it?
Independent media can play a vital role in the ecosystem needed to help create positive change. We need to counter the narratives of fear which are used to create a lack of agency and hope.

What is the ultimate goal?
Democratising the future! Which means: inspiring people to create a sustainable future that will truly benefit everyone, everywhere; raising the value of the most future-focused people, projects and organisations whose work will impact society; ensuring everyone is involved and no one feels excluded – breaking down barriers of culture, language, age and experience; improving future literacy by making developments in science, technology and across all areas of human endeavour more understandable, universal and accessible – and fun!

What’s your business model?
A mix of funded partnerships, events, consultancy and content creation.

What barriers have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
I’ve become increasingly aware of how much privilege (or how few barriers) I have. I’m constantly inspired by what the people we write about have often overcome to do the work they do.