The front and the back of a postcard on purple background. On the front 'Greetings from Oost-Laren, middenland'.
A post card sent to visitors of the RURAL UTOPIAS exhibition

An imaginative theatrical event to discover pathways from present rural deadlocks to possible rural utopias: ‘RURAL UTOPIAS’ is the final exhibition of a 10-week-long Mixed Classroom run by the Urban Futures Studio, which brought together 40 policymakers, artists, farmers, activists, and master’s students. Together they explored the question: how to emerge from rural political deadlocks in the Netherlands and cultivate more hopeful possible futures? The social movement “The Creative Collectives for Utopia” emerged from this course and guides the audience through a series of rooms and experiences. In these different rooms, participants get the opportunity to actively rehearse and collectively prefigure different kinds of stories, ways of thinking, feeling and taking action together to emerge from rural deadlocks.

Black and white illustrated map in the shape of a circle
Map of Rural Utopias (Thanks to all of the participants involved in the Mixed Classroom for inspiring the content, as well as creative cartographers such as Qiu Zhijie and Grayson Perry for inspiring the mapping style.)


  • yellow buttons with 'UTOPIA'
  • two people looking at a passport
  • man with yellow bandana and yellow 'utopia' button talking with his hands
  • women smiling and giving public presentation, on the left a person recording it with their phone
  • woman holding a mic and reading a speech from paper
  • protest march in a hallway with big green protest sign 'BOEREN VOOR HET KLIMAAT'
  • woman holding protest sign 'The Future Needs Us'
  • women holding protest sign 'CHANGE starts on the MENU'
  • man holding protest sign 'Know your farmer, Know the origin of your FOOD'
  • woman holding protest sign 'Soil not oil'
  • man holding protest sign 'ALL INCLUSIVE VILLAGES FOR ALL!'
  • white exhibiton space with brown leaves and white hazmat suits laying on the floor and
  • white exhibition space brown leaves laying on the floor, a beamer and a laptop on a green box, a tree branch standing in a green box
  • two students are squatting on a floor covered with leaves
  • Mixed Classroom student in white hazmat suit spraying a substance on a plant, held by a woman
  • close up of a green cutting in a glass bowl covered in white granules
  • man holds glass bowl, people in white hazmat suits in the background
  • Mixed Classroom student in white hazmat suit trows a substance into a glass bowl held by another man
  • Mixed Classroom student listening to a woman standing in front of a group
  • man holds a glass bowl with a plant in it
  • people sitting in a circle on a floor covered in leaves
  • Two mixed classroom students in black attire with yellow accents
  • Mixed Classroom student standing in front of a screen with 'Creative Collectives for Utopia' logo, holding a mic
  • Two Mixed Classroom students in a theatre talking to the audience
  • people sitting a circle on a floor covered in leaves
  • Blackbox theatre with Mixed Classroom students giving a performance
  • Mixed Classroom students showing powerpoint sheet "Imagination routes, come on a journey with us, open up to the unthinkable"
  • woman with closed eyes holds a green cutting in a glass bowl
  • Mixed Classroom students giving a spoken word preformance in blue theatre lighting
  • Mixed Classroom students giving a performance in a blackbox theatre
  • Mixed Classroom students giving a performance and clapping their hands
  • woman with closed eyes holding a glass bowl filled with soil
  • woman smiling and wearing a yellow 'UTOPIAS' button
  • Women gets interviewed by a women holding a small mic and a gimble with a smartphone
  • three people stand talking in front of a theatre stand
  • people wearing white eye masks
  • Mixed Classroom student giving a presentation while wearing a white eye mask
  • A group of people talking while wearing white eye masks
  • A group of people talking while wearing white eye masks
  • people standing with their eyes closed and their hands on their hearts
  • A person writes the word 'Moving' on a white piece of paper while wearing a white eye mask
  • A person writes 'With Solidarity' on a yellow piece of paper while wearing a white eye mask
  • A person draws a flower on a piece of fabric
  • woman touches a piece of fabric attached to a white skirt
  • close up of a patch work dress with texts like 'room for ecology' and 'connection'
  • close up of a patchwork skirt with texts like "bull+cow+calf" and "insects"
  • Woman wearing white patchwork dress to which pieces of fabric with text are attached
  • a table with pieces of fabric, paint, colouring pencils, coloured tape and markers
  • people listen to a presentation. to the side is a clothes rack with costumes
  • people attaching pieces of fabric to white patchwork skirt
  • woman wearing a white patchwork dress, while standing on a pedestal and lit by coloured spotlights
  • people stand in a circle around a woman. they all hold a strand of fabric from her dress as if it were a web
  • Mixed Classroom student in green shirt talks to audience
  • people painting and writing on pieces of fabric
  • people sitting in small discussion groups in a theatre
  • people sitting in a circle discussing
  • people sitting and discussing in a circle
  • people discussing while sitting in a circle
  • man in green sweater in a conversation
Photos by Maxine Troyer