Exploring participatory futures – Workshop with Abril Chimal and John A. Sweeney

Feb 2, 2022 · Berlin, Germany

Speculative Futures Berlin is initiated by Ellery Studio www.ellerystudio.com

How can we design more inclusive, imaginative and impactful participatory futures?

In this online workshop you will get to know an open-source game built to inspire and provoke. Learn to play the "Our Futures" game to take on 21st-century challenges and develop out-of-the-box ideas for developing participatory futures. The game "Our Futures" was designed to help us collectively explore answers to the above question and pose those we have not considered. To help us expand our horizons of how we conceive participatory futures and design more inclusive and impactful participatory futures for us all. This workshop provides an overview of research on participatory futures, including global cases, and, most importantly, offers a hands-on opportunity for participants to play, localize, and mutate our futures.

What is Participatory Futures?

As a practice and concept, participatory futures refers to a range of approaches for involving citizens in exploring and/or shaping the future.

Why do we need participatory futures?
– To engage larger numbers of people in long-term thinking to strengthen democratic approaches to various futures.
– To create convergence on decisions that account for the future (generations, species) which can help to rebuild trust in institutions.
– To foster new ways of thinking (art, embodied, and experiential processes) and tap into the collective intelligence.
– To support future-informed citizens that can drive actions and behaviours in the present and address 21st-century challenges.

Who should attend?

– Anyone who wants to enhance their capability as a practitioner and/or researcher.
– Everyone who wants to help leverage citizen involvement, collective intelligence, and critical creativity to enhance decision-making and strategy development processes.
– No background in futures/foresight or participation required.

More details about the speakers below.


Access to the zoom conference:

Digital doors open at 18:25 CET.
Begin is at 18:30.

As part of providing a safe experience you need to RSVP with a valid MeetUp account. On the day of the event we will send an email with the zoom link. Please join the event with a valid zoom account and your full name. In case we need to launch a new event due to zoom bombing or other technical issues it would be really helpful if you could provide your email address to avoid the new link being sent to your spam box.

The workshop will be held in English. By joining the event, participants give their consent that we may use the recording for potential social media purposes. The workshop is limited to 100 participants.


Abril Chimal has a graphic design background and a specialization in Design of Tomorrow at CENTRO in Mexico City. At present, she is the Chief Pollinator for the Participatory Futures Global Swarm. Abril has been a speaker, facilitator, collaborator, and mentor with UNDP Panama, UNDP Egypt, UNDP RBAS, and UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is also professor of Futures Thinking in Creative Economies at CENTRO in Mexico City and also serves as the Technical Editor for the Journal of Futures Studies.

Dr. John A. Sweeney is an award-winning futurist, designer, and author. He consults widely and has delivered keynote presentations, seminars, and training courses in over 45 countries on five continents. John has led, organized, and facilitated strategic planning and foresight projects for a range of clients, including numerous UN agencies. At present, John serves as a Senior Research Fellow at Westminster International University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He also currently serves as co-Editor of World Futures Review with Dr. Nur Anisah Abdullah.

The Participatory Futures Global Swarm is a network of researchers, practitioners, and pracademics representing a diverse array of geographies and a range of professional experiences. They first swarmed together in 2019 for a project with NESTA to research participatory futures, which led to the publication of this report: Our Futures: By the people, for the people: https://www.nesta.org.uk/report/our-futures-people-people. They are publishing a book together on participatory futures and want to nurture a global community to drive more work in this critical area.

Visit the website for more information:

Event organizers
  • Speculative Futures: Berlin

    This is a group for those interested in speculative design, critical design, discursive design, strategic foresight, futurism, science fiction and visionary approaches that use design and visual culture to imagine potential future. We will examine the ephemeral and the tangible; showcasing creative projects, far out research, and tangible strategies for affecting change. We'll be hosting speakers—practitioners, teachers, students, and other professionals who will talk about their work and methods.

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