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if we ruled the world...

RETHINKING GLOBAL SYSTEMS THROUGH SPECULATIVE DESIGN

How can we use scenario planning techniques to design strategies that address social and environmental problems?

• 5. September - 10. October 2020
• Online!
• Six-weeks, Saturdays, 3-5PM CET
• Small class of participants


Pricing (For tickets click here)
Artist / Student (Full Time)*
€165

Freelancer*
€185

Professional*
€205

Generous Supporter Ticket*
€245

Solidarity ticket*
Donation (Limited)


course
description

If we ruled the world... is a strategy workshop in which players rethink global systems using tools from speculative scenario planning. The live session updates Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, proposed in 1961, for the era of the global crisis and economic emergency. During the sessions, participants will analyze current problems, identify trends while imagining probable, possible, and preferable future scenarios for our current crisis. In the end, we will negotiate preferable futures and develop strategies that might get us there.

Fuller proposed the World Game as an information system that makes the resources around the world visible so they might be acted on. By adapting ideas from the World Game, we hope to address issues related to the ongoing public health situation, labour crisis, and shifts in the distribution of power between states and corporations. We aim to create space for imagining new models of governance and collectivity.

Participants will work in dynamic groups — their configurations will change, so each student will have a chance to work with different members over the course of the class. By doing that, we aim to encourage further collaborations and connections between the participants.

Throughout this course, participants will learn analytical and creative thinking skills while focusing on speculative design and worldbuilding techniques. We will imagine possible future worlds based on the reality we’re living now. Participants will also learn how to identify and address particular issues and prototype design solutions for them.

Speculative design is a tool proposed by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby to create not only designed objects but also ideas. They suggest seeing design as a process of addressing big societal issues speculating about how things could be—to open debate and discussion about the kinds of futures people would wish for or run from.

Worldbuilding techniques are tools typically used in creating fantasy worlds, where an imaginary setting has coherent qualities such as history, geography, ecology, etc. In this course, we will introduce the participants to the general methods of worldbuilding and learn how to implement them in the design process.

The course will be divided into five acts. Every act will start with an introduction to the main concepts of the week supported by examples from speculative design.

This course is based on a workshop developed in collaboration with Calum Bowden.


course outline

Week 1: A moment to get to know each other

This first act is about getting to know each other and learning about everyone’s background and expectations. What brought you to this course? What is it that you hope to learn and practice? We’ll also give a general overview of the course and share ideas, examples, and resources; for this course, we will focus on speculative design theory, scenario building methodologies, and Fuller’s ideas for the World Game.

Week 2: Context and trends

The second act is aimed to set up the context by researching trends. Participants will work in smaller groups. Each group will be assigned with a “layer” (e.g. economy, geopolitics, energy, etc.) to research recent trends related to their layer. For example, a trend for the economy layer could be current global lockdown and for the politics layer increasing governmental control due to the pandemic. After the research, the groups will share their outcomes with the rest of the class.

Week 3: Probable futures

During the third act, students will explore connections between different trends identifying problems. The main question is: what will most likely happen in the future if nothing changes? Participants will change their groups and cross-connect previously identified trends. Following the previous examples for economy and politics layers, a potential problem could be rising protests due to the economic instability after the pandemic and as a response to this - normalization of strict governmental control.

Week 4: Possible and preferable futures

The fourth act will be dedicated to speculating on possible scenarios. What are the alternatives to the previously identified problems? What futures, based on where we are now, can we imagine? Participants will change their groups to imagine multiple scenarios based on previously identified trends and problems. Afterwards, they will present their ideas to the bigger group and collectively negotiate a preferable future.

Week 5: Means and strategies

The fifth act is dedicated to designing strategies to bring these preferable futures into reality. Participants will work in smaller groups and think about mediums that can contribute to achieving this future. The medium can be a zine, a political party, a device, a game, or anything that can be developed online. As an outcome, each group will create a prototype for their medium.

Week 6: Final Presentations

As an outcome of the course, each group will create a prototype for their medium. We will use the last week to design the prototypes and present them in the last session.


who is this
class for?

The course is designed for students and professionals who are interested in speculative scenario planning and design fiction. It will be interesting for people who want to analyze current socio-economic and political situations, learn how to think both critically and creatively and work in groups negotiating future scenarios. Building a prototype is an important part of the course; we think it is crucial to materialize abstract ideas in a particular outcome.


about live classes

Classes are 'live' meaning that you can directly interact with the instructor as well as with the other participants from around the world. Classes will also be recorded for playback in case you are unable to attend for any reason. That said, we kindly ask that you please only purchase a ticket if you plan to attend regularly. For specific questions, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.


about fees

We realise we're living in uncertain times. We are a small organisation with no outside funding and like many, we are also in survival mode. During this time, we are offering a limited number of pay-what-you-can solidarity tickets for this online class. Preference is given to women, POC, LGBTQ+ and persons from underrepresented communities in tech who would otherwise be unable to attend. We are greatly appreciative of your understanding and support.


about tickets

Tickets for this class are currently available via Eventbrite. If you would like to avoid Eventbrite fees, please email us for direct payment options. We kindly ask that all “pay-what-you-can” students register through Eventbrite. Due to reduced staffing, we’re unable to handle specific payment requests for these registrations.


meet the
instructors