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LCC launches conference forecasting the future of digital, social, cultural and architectural design


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Published date
19 May 2016
2025: Forecasting Futures workshop and conference take place today as part of LCC’s programme of public events this summer.  The 2025: Forecasting Futures event series is organised by MA Design Management and Cultures students.

The free workshop and conference, which support an overarching exhibition, will allow audiences to share opinions on future design trends, hear from industry experts and explore utopian/dystopian thinking around five key themes: digital disruptions; ageing populations; architectural visions; consumer lifestyles and cultural institutions.

The themes, which cover important global themes, have been authored by experts in each field, who will feature as speakers at the 2025: Forecasting Futures conference.

Experts are:

  • Toby Burgess, Director of Toby Burgess Design and postgraduate architecture tutor at the Architectural Association and Westminster University
  • Marcus Green, Social and Economic Research Manager at Age UK
  • Sharon Heal, Director of the Museums Association
  • Ruth Marshall-Johnson, Cultural Researcher specialising in identifying the relationship between cultural development and consumer behaviour
  • John Straw, Senior Advisor at McKinsey & Company and author of iDisrupted, a book and website about the effect of disruptive technology on people, businesses and economies.

We chatted to MA Design Management and Cultures students, Lilian Avila and Sandra Landell, who have been involved in managing the event series:

We’re looking forward to hearing from the speakers at the conference, what can we expect from this event?
SL: I’m especially looking forward to the panel discussion, experts in their individual fields getting challenged by a new generation of thinkers – amazing!

LA: We are trying to create some conflict and conversations between the pieces of work in the exhibition and the forecasts the speakers at the conference are likely to make; the future is not certain after all and conflicts will happen. Forecasting what these conflicts might be allows us to be one step ahead.

LA: The purpose of 2025: Forecasting Futures was to ask questions about our future as a society and I think some of the responses to these questions will really intrigue people – like whether we will have jobs or be substituted by machines in the future.

Why do you think forecasting futures is particularly important in the design world?
As design is connected to every single aspect of our lives, it’s important to forecast the future and think outside the box in order for us to develop today.

LA: I think the study of futurology applies to both advertisers and designers, because we, as creatives, are hugely responsible and influential in creating new content, developing new cultures and behaviours and forecasting desirable lifestyles. Creatives are responsible for the future, so it’s important that we think about it.

What has your involvement been in the project so far?
: I’ve been doing a bit of everything, but in mainly helping with the marketing and promotion of 2025: Forecasting Futures.  Sandra and I have been creating content for everything that goes online and liaising with graphic designers to create a catalogue and organise printing for the event.

SL: We’ve been involved in the project management and the overall communication processes, such as the design management of the exhibition catalogue, vinyls, posters, social media assets and other productions connected to marketing and communication.

LA: Before studying MA Design Management and Cultures, I supported with the organisation of a congress we have back home in Brazil and I also completed a social media internship.  My role in the 2025: Forecasting Futures events project has allowed me to build on this existing experience.

LA: I think that sometimes it can be frustrating having to wait, and I’m very impatient! When working in a project like this, you might email someone and cannot move on until you have an answer or approval.  We are the project managers, but we still have someone we have to report to.

Did you submit any work for the exhibition in response to the five key themes?
I submitted a video around the future of cultural institutions, exploring what role museums might play by 2025. I spoke with kids and teenagers and other millennials who will be influential by 2025 and asked them what they want the museums to have in the future. It’s presented as a video in exhibition.

SL: Yes, I also submitted a response to cultural institutions, as I have a personal interest in this theme.

SL: I think the role of museums will be challenged by the content we so gladly upload onto social media ourselves. Everyone today is curating their own exhibition and show about their daily lives, which anyone will be able to access and study in the future when 2016 is up for examination.

LA: There is this idea that our generation of millennials are just about technology, screen modes and staying on the phone all the time, but we are a lot more than that; we are the generation of connecting, sharing and interaction.

LA: I feel like museums are not yet maximising the opportunities that this presents. Some think that by putting iPads around their shows and creating apps will solve their problems, but there are so many more opportunities to make the most of our generation’s interactive behaviour.

What can visitors expect to see at the accompanying 2025: Forecasting Futures exhibition?
The exhibition is a very eclectic show. There are a wide range of artworks, nothing is the same and everyone can find something they will appreciate. It is an exhibition that requires time – pick up a booklet, read the descriptions, and take your time while doing it. Then you will get the best experience!

What’s the forecast for your own future in 2025?
I like to imagine that I will have my own company, providing consultation on design ethics and marketing, but we shall see. I’ll come back and talk to you in 2025!