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Hybrid Futures Lab: Methodologies

Blurred digital face with many cursors

Video still from ’Are you a robot?’ Team members: Scarlett Wang, Yu Leng, Jinhye Park, Eunah Lee

How do we conduct inquiry when conditions are volatile, times are turbulent, and complexity increases? How do we attend to the multiple instabilities and contingencies of a world in continuous transformation, and how do we capture this unfolding of events within our research and practice? What kind of methods can be used to engage with the unknown, with processes, with becoming, and all the uncertainty (and mess) they entail?

A world in constant transformation needs methods malleable enough to ‘stay with’ uncertainty, and to work with uncertainty as a material. These methods need to be able to encounter the unforeseen with inventiveness and adaption, with creativity and experimentation. They need to be fit for the continuous rather than the discrete, fit for sensing the intensities of immanent participation and more-than-human relationality.

In other words, we need methods that acknowledge that their research objects are always in the making. For us involved in design, art and, increasingly, in post- disciplinary and non-disciplinary practice, this is an exhortation to seek ways to knit together theory and practice, thinking and making, designing and philosophies, and experimenting with work at the hinge of the speculative and the pragmatic. The purpose is to develop interrogations that can scaffold tangible interventions, which in turn can feedback on to speculation.

The Philosophical Pills
How to create meaning through an inquiry into the unknown

A large chart with many headings and symbols

The Philosophical Pills are a set of curated insights that interrogate and challenge established notions and assumptions we may have about the future.

Their purpose is to act as diffractive lenses to introduce  non-existent futures into the present so to inform design practice. The Philosophical Pills amplify the capacity to imagine, and speculate on, different futures. Even more important, they are diagnostic devices for practical experiments in the present.

Read more about the Philosophical Pills.

The Philosophical Pills are part of FUEL4Design, an Erasmus+ Strategic partnership project focused on curriculum innovation funded by the European Union. Partners: University of the Arts London, Politecnico di Milano, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, and ELISAVA.

Hybrid Futures Hackathon
How to build community during a global pandemic

A digital image of a man's face holding a tennis bat with the text So what do we have next then?

Video still from 'What’s in that drawer?' Team members: Vincenzo Ottino, Aditi Sahoo, David McCulloch, Jiangyue Wu

The Hybrid Futures Hackathon (January 2021) called on students to imagine human-machine encounters taking place in the near future (in 2050.  Facilitated and delivered entirely remotely, the Hackathon was designed for community-building, exchange and cross-course learning for UG and PG students engaging with the key themes of the Digital Innovation Season.

It attracted 40 participants, with nine competing teams, six shortlisted and four winners. The outcomes (3 minute videos) were showcased during the Hybrid Futures symposium, which concluded the season.

Facilitated by Kaye Toland and Joana Chicau.