Possible Futures of Migration – a second review – a bit closer to being documental.

It’s pretty much just a week ago that Time’s Up had the pleasure and the honour to host the “Possible futures of Migration” scenario session at Kunstraum Goethestrasse.

Over the last few days we tried to write up a summaries, reconsidered the techniques in use, reviewed the single process-steps, regarded improvements as well as  running through and shaping possible follow ups. We re-listened the feedback of the participants, included it in our thoughts, looked up the scenarios described and have enjoyed reading the newspapers from the possible futures being produced during the session.

Our very personal debrief of the day is rather critical. We, as the ones facilitating, came up with a rather long list of improvements needed to be implemented in a next session!

There is only one aspect which can’t be improved at all: the participants in the session!! And that’s not just said, knowing these lines might be read by the one or other of them! No, they have been the best “trusting the process” group we have been experiencing ever since we are involved in such techniques. Thank you!

Anyway: back to our (internal) points of criticism: At the very top of this list ranks the fact, that one day is simply too short (at least for the the process we used). There needs to be an additional, very crucial step – the one offering space and time to take the scenarios sketched to a level which lets them reverberate back to the present.

The descriptive versions of possible future are interesting. Newspapers as if written in these futures are wonderfully visualizing and helping to understand some of the intricacies of the scenarios. Still, a next step needs to be taken and the time given, to find out which aspects of which scenarios are favoured and desired. And further; how these visions can be achieved. What needs to be changed here and now and  what can happen between now and the particular then, to allow these aspirational futures to become our, or at least our descendants, experienced world. Alternatively, we look at signposts that undesirable scenarios are coming to light and develop strategies to act to avoid them. Backcasting or Retrocasting are terms used to describe this process. Originally it was planned  to be integrated during the session, but it quickly became clear in our process development that this would not all fit into one day.

Nevertheless, descriptions for the four diverging scenarios of Linz in 2035, using accessibility of education (from exclusive to utterly open) and the future evolution of Europe (either fall into ruin or coalesce into a single state) as critical uncertainties, can be looked into as follows (English summaries, German details):

USE – United States of Europe
Education Cage
Ganglands
Linzer Bildungsleuchtturm

A sketchy overview on the procedure used and more points of self-criticism can be found here (English summary, German details). Some images can be looked at on flickr and some audio-recordings will maybe put online before long.

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