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FUEL4Design: Future Education and Literacy for Designers

Students having a discussion
Students having a discussion
Photographed by James Bryant

Implementing new approaches and resources to provide learners and educators with innovative and adaptable tools to imagine, perform and enact a plurality of futures by design.

Project duration: 1 September 2019 - 31 August 2022
Funded by: Erasmus+ Programme

Project summary

A 3-year project jointly delivered by a consortium of leading design-educator-researchers from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Milano, University of the Arts London, and ELISAVA.

21st-century design pedagogy needs to be urgently reframed in an approach that we call ‘Design Futures Literacy’. This is a literacy that connects teaching and learning to provide an education for young designers for designing for complex tomorrows. This is a matter of Design taking on a far more proactive role in working to anticipate these tomorrows through acts of situated making that understands use and users and Design as working prospectively to look ahead of the immediate or short term (Celi & Morrison, 2018).

FUEL4Design supports the discipline of Design and its MA/PhD students and teachers in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to productively anticipate critical futures learning needs and change processes through sustained future making.

Students having a discussion in class
Photographed by James Bryant

Project team

Project aims

The main objectives of the project are to develop, test and implement new approaches and resources to provide learners and educators with innovative and adaptable tools to imagine, perform and enact a plurality of futures by design. This is to equip design learners and educators to deal with real-world issues on techno- digital futures, climate crisis, and political instability. The project will connect experimentation and design theory via invention, imagination, speculation, and through design making activities such as via prototyping, scenario building, and foresight.

Project activities

The project will develop the following Intellectual Outputs:

  • ‘Design Futures Lexicon’ to build a bottom-up and shared vocabulary  for working with design futures.
  • Set of ‘Futures Philosophical Pills’ that allow educators to better diagnose ideas, and practices of the future to inform future design education.
  • Student-centred, hands-on training approaches called ‘Design Futures Scouting’ to support development and empower teachers to teach future related design.
  • Design Futures Toolkit of innovative practices and pedagogies to nurture and connect design curricula with design future driven activities.
  • ‘Futures Literacy Methods’ will provide a training course of modular units in multidisciplinary futurist design learning.
  • The ‘Design Futures Manual’ will draw together content and experience and provides routes to work with other HEIs, policymakers and EC level futures literacies strategies and programmes.

The project team will deliver 2 short term design teacher training events and two intensive study programmes with Master’s and PhD students to test and circulate the project inputs and their outputs, along with two transnational ‘multiplier event’s for futurists and design educators and professionals.

A key impact will be connecting Design Education, Futures Studies, professions, organisations and future-oriented HEIs. The project will link to Erasmus and Design Education networks to multiply impact, from local to top European levels and to professional bodies and public dissemination avenues to maximise reach and uptake. Finally, it aim position findings into key education policy and strategy actions and UN sustainability goals and related social innovation programmes.

Project Partners

EU logo with a caption that reads 'Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

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