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Challenging values, empowering visions

We are increasingly tasked with offering reflection not only on where we have been, but on where we may be going, and there are considerable challenges along the road. In these times of radical uncertainty such as the climate crisis, the rise of automation and progress in genetics, what role and responsibility do museums and science centres have in addressing controversial and challenging questions about the future?

This session will address questions relating to audience attitudes, hopes and fears, presenting empowering visions, and avoiding both fear-mongering and overhyping? After our inspiring presentations we will spend time in small-group discussions facilitated by the speakers. Results will be captured and shared with our broader community.

Session speakers

Director, MOD.
MOD. at the University of South Australia
How to take into account the fact that the future might not be bright? Teenage dystopias sell. They’re good for drama but not for well-being. And yet tension, as in good drama, can also create a more satisfying visitor experience and better learning outcomes. As a museum aimed at young audiences, we’ve designed exhibits exploring futures around conflict, climate change and and sex with the aim of ensuring MOD. visitors leave with a sense of hope.
Research Associate
One of the topics of Futurium’s permanent exhibition is the future of cities. The exhibition’s three “thought spaces” (Nature, People and Technology) each open up a different lens through which to interrogate the topic – conceptually as well as design-wise. Through juxtaposing these different approaches, we have aimed to create a holistic, multi-dimensional understanding of the different aspects that will drive the development of cities in the future.
Imre Bard
Curatorial Advisor
How do young people relate to the future and the radical transformations that are expected to unfold over their lifetime? This talk will present the results of front-end evaluation studies conducted among 16-23 year olds about their views, expectations and concerns about the future of mobility. We used a variety of methods including focus groups, surveys, and co-design workshops to understand how our new permanent exhibition may offer a responsible and empowering perspective on sustainable mobility.
Executive Director
Museum of the Future
United Arab Emirates
At the soon to open Museum of the Future in Dubai, we will be presenting visions of the future that are both optimistic, and grounded in science. Our immersive exhibition experiences start from the reality of catastrophic climate change as a defining feature of future life on earth. Yet, we project a creative, adaptive, and innovative response by the people of the planet. Through engaging people in this optimistic, yet realistic vision, we aim to empower visitors to act in the present.
Head Exhibition and Collection
Science or Fiction? Empowering visitors to create their own visions of the future. The “Zukunftsmuseum” displays technologies of the future and demonstrates their functionality. At the same time it confronts visitors with the hopes, dreams and fears as well as the utopias and dystopias illustrated in literature, art and film. From this unique area of conflict, provocative questions arise, challenging our visitors to create their own vision of the future. The talk will be shared with Melanie Saverimuthu.
Creative Director
United Kingdom
At FutureEverything we use action research, art and design thinking to create opportunities for citizens to interrogate reality and imagine better futures. Our aim is to encourage cross-sector dialogue and collaboration, resulting in projects which have deeper engagement and longer term impact. Recently, we have been working with local authorities, artists, academics and the tech sector to create experimental and collaborative spaces between art and society to enable sharing and learning.
Melanie Saverimuthu
Melanie will jointly present the work of the Zukunftsmuseum with Dr Andreas Gundelwein, and she will host the discussion at one of the tables.
Yumi Miyahara
Miraikan places its focus on people and the potential of nature to inspire new visions, as well as innovations that come from these visions. ”Miraikan Visionaries Camp" is a new, workshop-based co-creation exhibition opened in 2019. It is an educational program that shapes the vision of young people through dialogue and exchange with researchers and creators from different backgrounds.