SpeculativeEdu Future Friends Event in Maribor: Let’s make a better future together!

May 13, 2019

Future Friends in Maribor hosted 120 people from around the world.

Photos by SpeculativeEdu and Nik Belec.

Have you ever wondered what the future will look like? How we can make changes today that will create a better future?

Following its kick-off meeting in Split, SpeculativeEdu, in collaboration with renowned European institutions in the field of Speculative Design, featured its second event in a row, as planned within a two-year project programme – the Future Friends Event in Maribor, Slovenia, taking place April 14–18, 2019, hosting more than 120 people from around the world.

Future Friends was a five-day event: a mix of educational opportunities, an intensive workshop, a conference, and an open discussion, accompanied by networking events involving researchers, experts, and pioneers in the field of Speculative Design. It was open to anyone keen on exchanging knowledge and experiences with design professionals and the general public.

Speculative Futures Workshop: What about our future friends? Who are they? And how can we communicate with them?

As an introduction to the Future Friends event, a three-day intensive workshop was held at the Maribor Center for Creativity, led by world-renowned lecturers in the field of Speculative Design, with whom 23 selected workshop participants – young experts, students, design researchers, architects, urban planners, anthropologists, graphic designers, performers, and futurists from India, Mexico, the UK, USA, Spain, Serbia, Croatia, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, and Slovenia were creating possible Future Friends scenarios: New Beginning with Ivica Mitrović and Oleg Šuran (University of Split); Future Perfect or Future Shock with Michael Smyth and Ingi Helgason (Edinburgh Napier University); and Alternative Friends with Jimmy Loizeau, Matt Ward, and Dash Macdonald from Goldsmiths (University of London), as well as James Auger (Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute), with an emphasis on the “real world” – i.e. the needs of real people, society, politics, and the economy.

Together, we looked for the answer to the question of who or what will be our friends in the future? Will they be objects, art, vegetables, a new system, or perhaps a feeling?

What is Speculative Design today?

The main event of Future Friends was the Future Friends Conference, taking place on April 17, 2019 in Vetrinjski Dvor, with renowned Speculative Design practitioners, educators, and researchers, including SpeculativeEdu partners Ivica Mitrović, Michael Smyth, Oriana Persico, Salvatore Iaconesi, James Auger, Matt Ward, Dash Macdonald, and Jimmy Loizeau, as well as guest lecturers Rosario Hurtado, Tina Gorjanc, and Enrique Encinas. The conference was moderated by Sara Božanić. The lectures and case studies were a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved, and the audience was receptive and thoroughly engaged in the after-presentation discussions. The conference attracted more than 106 attendees from Slovenia, Croatia, the UK, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Denmark, USA, Ukraine, Spain, Serbia, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, France, Finland, and the Czech Republic.

The open discussion, dubbed The State of Speculative Design, took place April 18, 2019, in the Applied Arts Salon in Maribor. The discussion focussed on Speculative Design in education and practice today with an emphasis on future paths. The discussion was open to all who are interested in Speculative Design education and practice, and resulted in a vivid dialogue between experts, practitioners, students, and lecturers. The reflections will be part of the forthcoming State of Speculative Design Study.

Read more about our guest speaker line-up.

Stay tuned and join us in one of the following events.

The Future Friends Event was supported by: