Speculative Future

We love traveling the world and disseminating knowledge but there is no such pleasure as bringing best speculative design practitioners, enthusiasts and creatives, all together more than 120 Friends to our home country and strengthening design education in Slovenia.

Have you ever wondered what the future will look alike? How we can make changes today that will create a better future?

In collaboration with SpeculativeEdu and renowned European institutions in the field of Speculative Design, the Institute for transmedia design (ITD) featured SpeculativeEdu’s second event in a row, as planned within a two-year project program – the Future Friends Event in Maribor, Slovenia, taking place April 14 – 18, 2019.

The Future Friends event was a five-day event, a mix of educational events, an intensive workshop, a conference, and an open discussion, accompanied by networking events involving researchers, experts, and pioneers in the field of Speculative Design, and which was open to anyone keen on exchanging knowledge and experiences with both design professionals and the general public, hosting more than 120 people from around the world.


Speculative Futures Workshop:

What about our future friends? Who are they? And how can we communicate with them?

As an introduction to the Future Friends event, a three-day intensive workshop was held at the Maribor Center for Creativity, led by world-renowned lecturers in the field of Speculative Design, with whom 20 selected workshop participants – young experts, students, design researchers, architects, urban planners, anthropologists, graphic designers, performers, and futurists from India, Mexico, the UK, USA, Spain, Serbia, Croatia, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, and Slovenia were creating possible Future Friends scenarios: New Beginning with Ivica Mitrović and Oleg Šuran (University of Split); Future Perfect or Future Shock with Michael Smyth and Ingi Helgason (Edinburgh Napier University); and Alternative Friends with Jimmy Loizeau, Matt Ward, Dash Macdonald, and the Goldsmiths (University of London); as well as James Auger (Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute), with an emphasis on the “real world”; i.e. the needs of real people, society, politics, and the economy.

Together, we have looked for the answer to the question of who or what will be our friends in the future? Will they be objects, art, vegetables, a new system, or perhaps a feeling?

What is Speculative Design today?

The main event of the Future Friends event was the Future Friends Conference, taking place on April 17, 2019 in Vetrinjski Dvor, with renowned Speculative Design practitioners, educators, researchers, including SpeculativeEdu partners Ivica Mitrović, Michael Smith, Oriana Persico, Salvatore Iaconesi, James Auger, Matt Ward, Dash Macdonald, and Jimmy Loizeau, as well as guest lecturers Rosario Hurtado, Tina Gorjanc, and Enrique Encinas. The conference was moderated by Sara Božanić. The lectures and case studies were brilliant and the audience amazing and very engaged in the after-presentation discussions we had. In the evening the conference was followed by the Happy Future Friends Party in Gostilna Maribor enriched with Future Music by a world-renowned musician, Matej Končan, aka kleemar (Slovenia). Both events attracted more than 120 attendees bringing together creatives from Slovenia and Croatia, the UK, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Denmark, USA, Ukraine, Spain, Serbia, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, France, Finland, and the Czech Republic.

The open discussion, dubbed The State of Speculative Design, took place April 18, 2019, in the Applied Arts Salon in Maribor. The discussion focussed on Speculative Design in education and practice today with an emphasis on future paths. The open discussion was open to all who are interested in Speculative Design education and practice and resulted in a vivid dialogue between experts, practitioners, students, and lecturers. The reflections will be part of the forthcoming State of Speculative Design Study.

Read more about Future Friends.


The Future Friends Event is supported by Centre for Creativity, Slovenia, Academia, College of Short-Cycle Higher Education, Maribor, MIKK Murska Sobota, Youth Cultural Center.


The SpeculativeEdu project has been funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union