/now

Having now wrapped up the academic year, including teaching Carnegie Mellon School of Design classes and modules in Experiential Futures, Systems, Cultures, Transition Design, and Postal Networks (a collaboration with the United States Postal Service led by my colleagues Kristin Hughes and Stefan Gruber), so far 02019 has been quite eventful.

  • We finally published the first of two back-to-back volumes of the Journal of Futures Studies Special Issue on Design and Futures, co-edited by me and Cher Potter from the V&A Museum. It includes contributions by a fantastic array of writers, including Hollywood production designer Alex McDowell and the Decolonising Design Collective, and conversations with leading design/futures colleagues like Anab Jain and Liam Young. Opening the special issue is an article introducing the framework Ethnographic Experiential Futures (EXF) created with Canadian designer and futurist Kelly Kornet.
  • In May I delivered the keynote address for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) User Experience and Design Team's Futures Away Day at the spectacular Albert Hall in Manchester, to help kickstart the integration of foresight generally and experiential futures particularly into the organisation's methodological repertoire. This enormously enjoyable collaboration also involved working with fantastic BBC co-conspirator Filippo Cuttica to help his team stage a participatory design process where 200 people created future artifacts for a massive #FuturesBazaar! (images below)




  • Situation Lab's experiential futures project NaturePod is in a show that just opened in Adelaide at MOD., "Australia's leading future-focused museum", as part of their new exhibition Hedonism, which runs until November.
  • Did a mini-residency at Stanford University's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (aka Stanford d.school) including a day-long, hands on process using EXF as part of The Future's Happening, an initiative led by Lisa Kay Solomon to introduce and integrate futures thinking and methods at the d.school.
  • Alongside USC Situation Lab colleague Jeff Watson, we've now done our first formal exploratory engagements with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles, revolving around supporting imaginative processes for the formulation of new space missions. (image below)


  • We ran two Futures by Design workshops at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford in May.
  • For the second year running, we facilitated for the United States Conference of Mayors (with Civic I/O and Governance Futures Lab at Institute for the Future) to introduce futures thinking to mayors from across the USA at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
  • Attended invitational symposia held at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico (The Role of Information in Complex Conflict), and the Lorentz Centre in Leiden, Netherlands (Studying the Future with Counterfactuals).
  • Taught a weekend-long intensive How to Use Your Imagination for design students at North Carolina State University.
  • Ran workshops for the Obama Foundation held in Honolulu, Hawaii, to help design and launch a new Foundation program supporting the efforts and initiatives of emerging leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region. (image below)

Obama Foundation Design Workshop, Hawaii, 6 January 02019
Photo courtesy of The Obama Foundation

Locally...
  • As the academic year ended, CMU Situation Lab organised and facilitated the annual strategy gathering for Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, commissioned by Dean Keith Webster and his leadership team.
  • I'm thrilled to be joining the Board of Trustees of City of Bridges High School in Pittsburgh, a groundbreaking new institution led by Principal Randy Bartlett, with its first cohort starting in the Fall. For the school's first annual Homecoming event this Spring we offered a special opportunity to play Sitlab's unreleased imagination game for educators, Futureschool.
  • Also locally, we've spoken at events for Coro Pittsburgh, and the city's brand new AI/Humanities Meetup.
And coming up...
  • Plans are afoot to bring futures approaches to American city leaders once again, at the 89th annual United States Conference of Mayors, to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • The second half of the Journal of Futures Studies Special Issue on Design and Futures is due to publish shortly. It features philosopher Timothy Morton, MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, NASA visual strategist David Delgado, design theorist Tony Fry, multimedia futurist Maya Van Leemput, and many others from across diverse practices and six continents.
  • With 02019 being the centenary of one of history's most influential design movements, final manuscripts are now with the publisher for the upcoming collection Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press), edited by Laura Forlano, Mike Ananny, and Molly Wright Steenson. Jeff Watson and I are thrilled to have a piece appearing in it, "The School of Worldbuilding".
Will update again as the year goes on.

(The idea for the /now page comes from Jerry Michalski. Cheers Jerry!)

Updated 03jun19.

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