Presents of the Future – concluding

Over a period of more than six months we spent quite some time in Malta and Gozo, enjoying interesting and inspiring times with the Maltese population. We were there in order to focus on speculative thinking about possible, plausible, probable and preferred futures – circulating on imaginations about Europe and the European Union with a special concentration on Malta.

Invited by the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the support of Arts Council Malta and the Valletta 2018 Foundation, the project “Presents of the Future”  aimed to make it obvious, that all of us have a voice and have agency in shaping the world ahead. All of us are experts in forging these futures.

We have worked together with several partners (see below for details on them) in a series of workshops. These encouraged an interested crowd to dare to think out loud about possible futures, to discuss them, to share ideas, hopes and concerns with others and to find ways where and how we can start influencing them in the present.

The Futuring Overture workshop series focussed on broad questions, such as “How do openness and curiosity help our surrounding?” or “In what Europe should children grow up?” in order to promote speculative thinking. These questions not only opened up space for inspiring discussions amongst the participants but also helped to incspire a series of following workshops focussing on certain themes which seemed to be of interest for the Maltese population.

Together with Scott Smith, Susan Cox-Smith and Natalia Kane from Changeist, Elliott P. Montgomery and Chris Woebken from Extrapolation Factory as well as Maja Kuzmanovic and Nik Gaffney from FoAM, three “Futuring Exercises” were held. Participants have been invited to explore a Post-Citizenship Future with Changeist, to imagine and promote new prototype programmes to the EU with Extrapolation Factory and to design alternative scenarios for food futures in Malta with FoAM.

Results and follow-up developments out of these possible future scenarios and storyworlds, sketched and designed during the workshops, are accumulated in the Archived Futures Harvest exhibition. This exhibition will be up and running until the end of June at Studio Solipsis in Rabat, MT.  In addition to the “archived futures” the audience had the unique chance to literally taste four possible future-scenarios of food at the opening, and there will be a series of satellite events around the islands in the following weeks.

It will rather likely take a while until we have entirely processed what we have experienced and encountered. The great thing is, that we will have a chance to incorporate all findings – given by a great crowd of participants – in a connected project  planned for next year during Valletta 2018, the cultural capital of the European Union.

What remains most important now is to to thank all those making Presents of the Future happen:

Airan Berg, the director of the Cultural Programme of the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Albert Marshal, Toni Attard, Vanessa Attard, Raymond Calleja and others at Arts Council Malta. Margareta Pule, Karsten Xuereb, JD Farrugia, Kristabell Catania, Albert Dimech, Annaliza Borg, Sarah Borg, Giuliana Barbaro Sant, Pawlu Mizzi, the regional coordinators Marcon Caruana, Emanuel Vella, Tania Belfiore, Victoria Martha Pace, Joan Mangion and Marcia Grima and all Tal-Kultura volunteers at the Valletta 2018 Foundation. Sean Schembri, Charles Mizzi, Jessica Micallef, Nigel Micallef and Lucienne Tabone at the Presidency unit. All Citizen Journalists feeding the Beehive. Gaby Giacchino who kept everything moving. Anna Formosa for language help. Tyrone Grima, Dominic Tringali, David Tanti and the staff at MCAST. Elaine Manicara, Frank the Technician, Doyle Abela, Clayton Cutajar and the staff at Esplora. Giola Cassar and Glen Calleja at Studio Sollipsis, who, together with George Mario Attard and Johannes Buch developed new pieces for the exhibition Archived Futures Harvest.  The facilitators at all the workshops (Changeist, Extrapolation Factory and FoAM).

And most importantly, thanks to all participants at the workshops. Without you, nothing would happen and it would all have been worthless.

Last but not least – here several sources of documenation available we ould like to point out. You can find a collection of all events in albums on Flickr, or watch several video-documentations done by Elisa Ungar on Vimeo, look up more posts here in our Loose Diary or find FoAM’s great documentation on “Tasting Tomorrow” on their Libarynth, as well as some of the results emerging during the Extrapolation Factory – Futuring Exercise.


 Presents of the Future is part of the cultural program of the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the support of Arts Council Malta, and the Valletta 2018 Foundation.

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