Apply for the Mixed Classroom 2024-2025

Farmers protest in Brussels (by: João Francisco Moura, CC-BY-NC 2.0)

Starting November 2024, the Urban Futures Studio offers a mixed classroom course, a prize-winning form of academic education for ambitious UU master students where you learn from and with societal actors such as policymakers, activists, and artists. This year’s Mixed Classroom will evolve around the concept of ‘Politics and Policy in a Radical Age’. Connecting with ongoing societal and political developments, the course uses futuring to address the idea of ‘captured futures’: our cultural inability to make meaningfully different political choices. Course enrolment for students is open, up to and including 22 September 2024.

In this 3-month course, you will explore both theoretically and in practice how Techniques of Futuring and dramaturgy shape our collective capacity to imagine and act towards sustainable futures. You will learn how the interaction of knowledge, setting and form influence if and how people change their perspectives on sustainability transitions, and together we will explore the crucial role of dramaturgy in making political change possible. Moreover, you will learn how ‘dramaturgical regimes’ determine what we can say with influence, how, and why – and how ‘soft spaces’ make other forms of decision-making possible. To give two examples of questions one might ask at the intersection of justice and dramaturgy:
 

  • How do ‘the rules of the conversation’ change if the plenary opening of a sustainability conference is staged in an imagined future and opens with a musical keynote (e.g. Pathways to Sustainability Conference 2023 )?
  • Why are protests against climate policy so successful? And what can we learn from them? 

This year’s theme: Politics and Policy in a Radical Age

woman holding protest sign 'The Future Needs Us'
'RURAL UTOPIAS' closing event of the Mixed Classroom '22-'23 (photo: Maxine Troyer)

Sustainability politics is caught in a radical age. On all sides of the political spectrum, protests are hardening, social movements are emerging, and sustainability transitions are under pressure. This year’s Mixed Classroom brings together policymakers, master’s students, artists, activists, and other practitioners to discuss ‘Politics and Policy in a Radical Age’. In response to sustainability transitions, we are witnessing a new wave of populism, nativism, and environmental backsliding. The resistance to change is palpable. So deeply entrenched are our unsustainable aspirations that any attempt to question them is widely received as a threat to people’s freedom.  

At the heart of this year’s course is the idea of ‘captured futures’, the idea that the 21st century is caught in the dreams and aspirations of the 20th century. But these dreams don’t hold anymore, they cannot be the future. This breeds backlash. In this radical age, how can we create new aspirations? How can we make sustainable and lasting policy in an age of polarization and radicality? And how to address deep value disputes around justice and sustainability, as student, policymaker, or NGO?

In this year’s Mixed Classroom, we will address these questions through ‘futuring’. We will investigate how shared images of the future come about and how we can employ futuring to build a better world. Key questions in the course will be: 

  • Why is this era so radical?
  • What is a good, cultural, theory of change for a radical age?
  • What is the role of emotion in policy and politics?
  • Can alternative dramaturgies help foster change? Can we have ‘dramaturgies of change'? 

Participants will learn about concepts such as the ‘Futures Prism, ‘soft spaces’, and the ‘triple re-‘ framework.

The Mixed Classroom format

Our Mixed Classroom offers a mix of (guest) lectures, workshops, discussions, and collaborative assignments. You will learn to apply the acquired theoretical knowledge in real-life contexts concerning ‘just sustainability transitions’. Participants gain hands-on experience connecting ideas to action in collaboration with policymakers and practitioners on scientifically innovative and societally urgent topics. In addition, you will learn to use innovative and creative forms for doing and presenting research. 

Get a sense of what to expect from Urban Futures Studio’s Mixed Classroom: have a look at the bus tour ‘A Coach for Conversation’, the Museum of the Linear Economy and the Canon of Change. Course instructors and creators of the Mixed Classroom, dr. Jesse Hoffman and dr. Peter Pelzer talk about this innovative, price-winning form of education in an interview with Dutch magazine Rooijlijn.

For UU Master’s students

  • Course enrolment for this course is open up to and including 22 September 2024 23:59h
  • Period: The course starts on 11 November 2024
  • Course days: Wednesday & Friday
  • Students can follow this course for both 5 EC and 7.5 EC
  • A pre-selection applies to this course 
  • For more information, contact course coordinator Jeroen Oomen (j.j.oomen@uu.nl)
Apply via Osiris

For practitioners

Apply via 'Onderwijs voor professionals'