Techniques of Futuring — A Mixed Classroom with Policymakers
Each year the Urban Futures Studio organises a Mixed Classroom about the imagination of sustainable futures. The ‘Mixed Classroom’ is an exciting new form of education. Students from different disciplines and national and local policymakers are part of one classroom where they learn from and with each other. The central premise of the course is that our images of the future determine how we act in the present.
This course gives participants an understanding of the techniques developed for knowing and anticipating futures given the planetary crisis of the 21st century. Participation in this mixed classroom offers students the possibility of gaining hands-on experience in connecting ideas to action in collaboration with policymakers on scientifically innovative and societally urgent topics.
Participants study and reflect on existing and new practices like scenarios, backcasting, design thinking, and science fiction during the course. Each course ends with an ‘intervention’ by students in a form that fits that year’s theme. Previous closing sessions were A Canon of Change, The Museum of the Linear Economy, Mobility Museum 2050, Coach for Conversation and the Uninvited Futuring Exhibition
Dutch Higher Education price
The course ‘Techniques of Futuring: A Mixed Classroom’ has won one of the three Dutch Higher Education Premiums 2021. The Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven will present the premiums of at least 500.000 euros on the 1st of March. For more information (Dutch): https://www.uu.nl/nieuws/team-mixed-classroom-wint-een-van-drie-hogeron…
The set-up of the course
A democratic understanding of education
The Mixed Classroom concept is based on a democratic understanding of research and education as a form of inquiry: supportive of public debate and political decision-making, particularly in terms of long-term challenges. For this reason, the composition of the course (mixed classroom) has been developed in close connection to its content (imagination of the future) and form (off-campus education and the involvement of designers and artists).
Aim of the course
This course aims to give participants a better understanding of the available techniques to deal with inherently uncertain futures by imagining what cities of the future may look like and how their future inhabitants will experience them.
Techniques of Futuring
During the course, students develop a conceptual and practical understanding of the available techniques for imagining the future, such as design thinking, scenarios, creative writing, and the staging of public participation.
Mixed Classroom Format
The course offers a mix of (guest) lectures, interviews, case exercises and discussions. Using the mixed classroom format, students learn to apply the acquired theoretical knowledge in case studies on future cities. Participation in this course offers you the possibility of gaining hands-on experience in connecting ideas to action in collaboration with policymakers on scientifically innovative and societally urgent topics. In addition, you get taught innovative forms for doing research and presenting research.
dr. Wytske Versteeg