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UAL Research Online

Visions of the Future: Critical practices of design fabulation

Mazé, Ramia (2017) Visions of the Future: Critical practices of design fabulation. In: Gender Studies Conference, 23-25 Nov 2017, Jyväskylä, Finland.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Mazé, Ramia

The field of futures studies have tended to imagine the future as primarily technological and material. The future is often portrayed as a discrete and definite location that might be arrived at through linear transition pathways along which the development of particular technologies is the privileged baseline for plotting human, cultural and societal ‘progress’ (if social factors are considered at all, ie. Wangel, 2011). Design has become a powerful discipline charged with visualizing such futures in accessible, popular and persuasive forms. Visions of the future, along with their norms and priorities, shape both policy planning and our everyday cultural imaginaries. However, such visions are far from neutral.

In my work, and with colleagues (Mazé and Wangel, 2017), we develop critical practices exploring visions of the future and how visions, as fabulations and as design artifacts, take part in (re)producing or countering current social norms, practices and structures. Further, through critical practices of design research, we explore, craft and debate alternative visions of the future. For example, in the ‘Switch! Energy Futures’ project (Mazé, Messeter, Thwaites, Önal, 2013), we elaborated ‘superfictive’ scenarios of alternative energy futures in order to draw out differences among and consequences of socio-economic and sustainability paradigms within contemporary policy (cf. Mazé, 2016). Our intention in this project was, thus, about stimulating debate and change in the present, which was also explicitly included in the scope and design of the project as a participatory performance with various stakeholders.

Futures can be understood as an everyday practice, made by professionals (such as designers), who are circumscribed by systems and structures, reproducing the ideals, knowledges and material realities of individuals – but who must also take responsibility for their assumptions, agency and power. Here, I discuss my/our work within the critical turn in futures and design.

Official Website: https://www.jyu.fi/en/congress/sptpaivat2017/english/
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: November 2017
Event Location: Jyväskylä, Finland
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2020 16:37
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2023 14:19
Item ID: 16162
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/16162

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