Apply for the Mixed Classroom 2023-2024

Logo of fist in a yellow ligtbulb 'just energy' on lilac background

Starting November 2023, the Urban Futures Studio offers a mixed classroom course, a price-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 Just Transitions. Connecting with ongoing societal and political developments, the course accumulates in collaboratively orchestrating a public meet-up of The Just Energy Movement.  

In this 3-month course, you will explore both theoretically and in practice how dramaturgy shapes 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 fostering social movements with real transformative power. To give two examples of questions one might ask at the intersection of justice and dramaturgy:

  • How do decision-making processes change if there is an empty chair in the room representing future generations?  
  • 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)?

This year’s theme

This year’s Mixed Classroom brings together policymakers, master’s students, artists, activists, and other practitioners to stage an empowering meet-up of ‘The Just Energy Movement’ (see, for instance, The Just Energy Essays), which is becoming increasingly prominent in the Netherlands as we speak.

In recent years, NGOs, politicians, academics and government agencies inside and outside the Netherlands have emphasised justice’s importance in sustainability transitions. As an example of a promising step forward: in December 2022, the EU agreed to the Dutch’ Just Transition Plan’ and made €623 million available for a ‘just energy transition’. This plan focuses mainly on employment, such as retraining the 49,000 fossil-fuel industry employees. Although this plan is appealing at first glance, the discourse and policy it promotes have a somewhat ‘negative’ tone; the emphasis lies on preventing injustice – e.g. energy poverty, increase in unemployment – rather than striving for justice. 

The fundamental objective of a just transition – so is the point of departure for the Just Energy Movement we engage with throughout this course – is not just the prevention of injustice but the more ambitious strive for a society where it is increasingly possible for a diversity of human and nonhuman actors to flourish together. In this course, we explore different dimensions of how sustainability transitions can be(come) just transitions, and we actively explore if/how dramaturgy might be crucial in fulfilling this potential. As the course progresses and we engage ever deeply in the Just Energy Movement, our analytical focus will shift to the question of how dramaturgy can be – and historically has been – a cornerstone for justice movements and if/how we might currently be witnessing ‘the return of the social movement’. 

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.

Read the interview with magazine Rooijlijn

For UU Master’s students

  • Course enrolment for this course is open up to and including Sunday 24 September 23:59h

  • Period: The course starts on 13 November 2023

  • 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 Dr. Koen Wessels (