In April, UNESCO Chair on Futures Research ran a two-part Future Thinking Workshop (4-hour) in the context of the “Let’s build the city of our future” Erasmus+ Programme. Students from Thessaloniki (Greece), Paris (France), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Saint-Benoît (Réunion) had the chance to familiarize themselves with the field of Future Studies and ‘thinking about the future,’ whilst engaging with an array of textual and visual references culled from science-fiction literature and film, contemporary art, and experimental practices addressing climate change and the human-nature-machine relationship.
Students were first introduced to key concepts—such as Everyday Future Thinking, Anticipation, and Foresight—as well as literary and artistic practices/references, including, among others, John Berger’s multiple Ways of Seeing, Superstudio’s radical architectural designs, William Gibson’s science-fictional experimentations, and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s sound ecosystems.
Utilizing the aforementioned references, they were asked to individually respond to a creative writing exercise; in specific, “Try to recall a day or a night in a city you have either lived in or visited. From all the thoughts, images, sounds that come up, pick out those that refer to the future.”
In the second part of the Workshop, students were allocated to five groups, where they were asked to collaborate, create, and present five different collages corresponding to five different future cities: among others, “Fairyland,” “FREERIA,” and “Green Town” came about as imaginative future cities; each addressing issues, such as climate change, depletion of energy resources, and economic disparity, but also elaborating thematics, such as space exploration, diversity, tradition and modernism, technological advancements.