02/06 2022

OPEN CALL | Into Blue Futures: A Speculative Workshop in Strategic Foresight

Metamedia Lab


Metamedia Association in collaboration with The Design of Visual Communications Department (Arts Academy in Split), the University of Nova Gorica (Slovenia), and ArtEZ University of the Arts (Arnhem, NL) is organising a Speculative Design workshop under the title “Into Blue Futures: A Speculative Workshop in Strategic Foresight ’’. The workshop will take place from 1st to 6th of August 2022 in the Association of Technical Culture (Zajednica Tehničke kulture) in Pula, Croatia and will be led by Maja Grakalic and pETER Purg.

In this workshop, participants will explore tools and methods of Strategic Foresight, a discipline that works closely with Speculative Design, and combine them with particular approaches in Art Thinking. The workshop will be held during the 24th edition of the Media Mediterranea festival.


// Workshop Context


The workshop topics will address this year’s festival’s theme “Worlding the Hydrosphere”, in particular the burning issues of marine and maritime worlds, coastal communities, their manifold ecologies and challenges of sustainability, post-tourism, sea-borne migrations, oceanic and archipelagic thinking, climate change, energy consumption, post-growth, etc. Is there a space for a new kind of (Blue) Humanities to emerge?


To address the topic we will use Strategic Foresight (SF) and Speculative Design (SD), practices belonging to a family of forecasting disciplines. SF is a thinking tool that uses a range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies to map MULTIPLE FUTURE scenarios based on current trends. SF is the strategic and critical thinking that preseeds the SD stage. With SD, we aim to physically manifest multiple scenarios and create an immersive environment in order to FEEL the future, and thus open a debate about which of the futures we want to contribute to. The aim is to inspire reflection upon substantive socio-cultural, economic and political changes, and make us ready for all eventualities, but more importantly, give us tools for making more responsible and ethical choices towards a more inclusive future. Both disciplines started off as exclusive practices stemming from business, research and academic studios but have recently been democratised and listed by UNESCO’s Future Literacy Initiative as essential competencies for the 21st century.


In order for Art Thinking to be inserted as of the key stages of innovation, one needs to understand the methods and tools used in the artistic practice, relevant to a chosen problem or question. These unconventional elements of the innovation process that bring about radical, positively disruptive innovations based on plural views and approaches, principally consider the individual experience and viewpoint, while remaining holistic in terms of the systemic approach. Art thinking thus provides a much-needed pendant to design thinking – if not an obligatory pre-stage within the innovation process – since it “spends more time in the open-ended problem space, staking out possibilities and looking for uncontested space” (Robbins 2018).
(REFERENCE: Robbins, Peter. 2018. “From Design Thinking to Art Thinking with an Open Innovation Perspective.”)


// Workshop Approach

In this workshop, participants will be guided through the research methods and processes of Strategic Foresight and expand some of its aspects with Art Thinking. After having been presented with the basic concepts and methods in Strategic Foresight, the participants will dive straight into activities exploring the beliefs and values of a possible Blue Future, and gradually develop prototypes that manifest different visions of or speculations about possible (more or less viable) futures. On the last day, participants will present their thinking process as well as the tangible outcomes of their projects to the festival public.


Participants will be encouraged to think strategically and critically about the impact our current actions and personal biases can have on the future of humanity, society and the planet. You will work in a collaborative and inclusive setting using your existing skills and tech available on site (basic and some expert digital and analogue creative media) as well as include participants’ own creative tools and stuff they bring along.


// General Information


This call is addressing a diverse range of participants, from students to professionals across the creative sector, we particularly invite art and design practitioners from fields of new/interactive media, IT, sociology, (eco)biology, artivists, and humanitarians etc., ages 18-35. The workshop programme includes lectures and collaborative as well as interactive exercises, visual/media presentations, and group work focused on the process of practical co-creation.


The working language of the workshop is English, fair fluency in spoken English is thus expected.


Participation in the workshop is free of charge. Accommodation expenses are fully covered for all accepted participants by the organisers. Food and travel expenses are not covered and are at the expense of the participants themselves. Refreshments will be provided during the workshop.



// Applications


To participate in the workshop, please fill out the application form.

For more information, contact us at kontakt.radionice@gmail.com


The final date for application is July 6, 2022. The number of participants is limited. All applicants will receive notification of the selection decision by email on July 14, 2022. Once selected and notified, the participants will be expected to respond to all communications by the organisers duly. They shall also receive a task to accomplish before the workshop start that will demand individual self-guided preparatory activity within 2 weeks before the workshop start. All applicants will receive notification of a selection decision by email.


// Mentors 

Maja Grakalić is a service designer, experiential futurist and a P.hD researcher at Central Saint Martins in London, with 15 years of experience working for media companies, the public sector and educational institutions (Nova TV, BBC, UK Government, MA Material Futures CSM, Strategic Foresight for positive Change). Her work merges strategic design and foresight with the human-centred collaborative approach in the public sector, government and policymaking. She educates students and professionals about future-facing strategic design approaches and how to use those to challenge the status quo and build desirable futures together. Her PhD research awarded by the London Doctoral Centre (AHRC) tracks the origins of speculative design in former socialist Yugoslavia and aims to explore omitted histories of the practice and diversify futures perspectives outside of the Western context.

Peter Purg currently leads the New Media module in the Digital/Media Arts and Practices graduate//postgraduate programme at the School of Arts, University of Nova Gorica, where he acts as Associate Professor, projects coordinator as well as an expert across realms of digital culture. He was project lead of the MASTmodule.eu project that defined the role and methodology of Art Thinking in social innovations for a better European Future. Having curated the 20th international contemporary art festival Pixxelpoint 2019, his scientific inquiries lately include media arts pedagogy, post-growth and media ecology. Since december 2021 he is Dean of the School of Humanities, UNG.


Design by Oleg Šuran

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