Imagining the Future for Transformation – new master’s elective

Group photo of students enrolled in the 'Imagining the future for transformation' course
CC4Utopians - students enrolled in the 'Imagining the future for transformation' course

This year, the Urban Futures Studio is offering for the first time the new master’s elective, ‘Imagining the future for transformation’. In this course, students embark on a ten-week journey as members of the social movement - 'Creative Collectives for Utopia' (CC4Utopia), which serves as a critical and imaginative friend for transformative societal initiatives. CC4Utopians learn how to become both an archaeologist and co-designer of the future:

  • An archaeologist in the sense of uncovering the politics and dynamics that have narrowed what futures we see as plausible, or even possible.
  • A co-designer through their collaboration with diverse societal groups to generate approaches that can convincingly challenge the status quo and help expand our imagination and action towards more just and sustainable futures.
Zine: Creative Collectives for Utopia

In the first half of the course, members explore critical perspectives on why it is so difficult to imagine and bring about ‘better’ futures, alongside state-of-the-art techniques for facilitating collective imagination in ways that enable societal transformation. This includes mapping, modelling, artistic, speculative, participatory, and decolonial approaches that challenge Western and capitalist biases in how sustainability issues and possible futures are often imagined and addressed.

CC4Utopians then put their learning to practice by working closely with one of four initiatives around the world which use futuring approaches to enable societal transformation. This year, we are working with practitioners/academics involved in participatory reimagination of public space (Nigeria), imagining contested futures of sustainability (Norway, NL, UK), Atlantis Green Special Economic Zone (South Africa), and transformative pathways for the biodiversity nexus (Europe). These collaborations will result in the co-creation of innovative approaches to futuring that will be shared in the form of a CC4Utopia futuring zine in November 2023, so stay tuned!