Almost all challenges societies around the globe face today are complex, interconnected and placed in a rapidly changing environment. The rhetoric about what is to come is swinging between utopia and dystopia, between nostalgia and techno-utopias. The only fact about the future is that it is inevitable.
The grandfathers of futurism, the Italian Futurists, showed that the future is not only a domain of time but also of ideology. Subsequently the fathers of futures studies developed principles on how to study the future. Hence, according to futures studies scholar Jim Dator: "The future cannot be 'predicted' but alternative futures can be 'forecasted' and preferred futures 'envisioned' and 'invented'- continuously." (Dator, 1996)
Yet, the world as it is has its own impact on the future and according to another futures studies scholar Ziauddin Sardar the relevance of futures studies resides within the present. According to Sadar the value of change in people's perceptions and motivations, channeled into an evolution of present values and immediate action, can only be judged within its present or immediate future.
Looking at concepts promoting economic, political, technological and cultural innovations the lecture series gathers thoughts and approaches pertinent for the discipline of architecture, aiming for a greater world after tomorrow.
Professor Alison J. Clarke is a design historian and a trained social anthropologist. She joined the University of Applied Arts Vienna as a full-professor having previously held a senior faculty post at the Royal College of Art, London. She is Director of the Victor J. Papanek Foundation heading the biennial symposia in contemporary design theory. The Papanek Symposium 2019 takes place at Porto Design Biennale in collaboration with Modes of Criticism under the titled ‘Real Worlds: Design, Politics, Future’. Professor Clarke has supervised design and material culture at undergraduate and postgraduate level for over twenty years, previous students having taken up major roles in curatorship, academia and design.