How to use design to speculate about possible futures?

Speculative design practice questions the practice of design and offers some alternatives that are essential for the world of today and more importantly, the world of tomorrow. Based on the urgent need for an upgrade related to speculative design educational practice, the SpeculativeEdu project is oriented towards novel educational skills and practices for the 21st century, especially those focused on the relations between technology and people (society). Today, design practice often focuses on making technology easy to use, practical, even sexy. In speculative design, however, the curriculum proposes a practice engaging with a social context, using design as a means of speculating about how things could be, examining also the possible negative implications of introducing a new product into everyday life – imagining possible futures.

SpeculativeEdu is an educational, project funded by ERASMUS+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth, and sport, with the aim of strengthening speculative design education by collecting and exchanging existing knowledge and experience whilst developing new methods in the field of speculative design. Its scope is to collect, exchange, reflect upon, develop, and advance educational practice in the area of speculative design and its self-critical approach. This project, which will last 24 months (1 October 2018 – 30 September 2020) will bring together the leading European academic/research institutions, SMEs, and an NGO from speculative practice, education, and research. The consortium will be led by the University of Split (Croatia), and consist of Edinburgh Napier University (UK), Goldsmiths, the University of London (UK), the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (Portugal), the Human Ecosystems Relazioni (Italy), and the Institute for Transmedia Design (Slovenia), and based on four events: two international students workshops held in Croatia and Firenze, a conference in Slovenia, and a symposium, accompanied by an exhibition, to be held in Split. The project will host renowned speculative design practitioners from around the globe to carry out a concept of open/free education resources producing three outcomes: State of Speculative Design Study, a collection of best practices and case-studies; Speculative Design Textbook, a textbook for students and practitioners; and Speculative Design Open Toolkit, an open access online repository.

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