Techniques of Futuring — A Mixed Classroom with Policymakers

group of students in TLL tilt their heads while listeing to presentation

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 in which students from different disciplines and national and local policymakers are part of one classroom in which 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 in view of the planetary crisis of the 21th century. Participation in this mixed classroom offers students the possibility to gain hands-on experience in connecting ideas to action in collaboration with policymakers, on topics that are both scientifically innovative and societally urgent.

During the course, participants study and reflect on existing and new practices like scenario’s, back casting, design thinking and science fiction. 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 Minster 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 upon a democratic understanding of research and education as a form of inquiry: supportive of public debate and political decision-making, in particular in relationship to 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
The aim of this course is 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 they will be experienced by their future inhabitants.

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, scenario’s, 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 to gain hands-on experience in connecting ideas to action in collaboration with policymakers, on topics that are both scientifically innovative and societally urgent. In addition, you get taught innovative forms for doing research and presenting research.

Testimonials

Portrait of author and researcher Wytske Versteeg wearing dark blue shirt with red background

dr. Wytske Versteeg