This was a research project on how children can use their imaginations to design a better future. The final output was a multi-media creative space for children to build stop motion animation sets and films of their speculative futures.
Hoverboards were a recurring theme, and while there were lots of fantastic ideas around unicorns and zombies, there were many more futures covering real themes like overpopulation, climate change, and new ways of living.
The queue waiting for a session to start. The dome was a brilliant structure to get families thinking about futuristic spaces. Being able to hear but not see the activity inside really added to the magic of the experience.
Here’s a sketch of the experience as it was first imagined showing all the different roles one could take:
And the final exhibit as it was realized at the 2015 London Design Festival:
Once inside, the future building and the movie making coud begin. Asking the children to create title cards really helped structure the content:
There were lots and lots of Future this-that-and-the-other film titles. Future flying, future homes, future families, and on and on…
One set using recycled materials to build a “Travel Capsule”– where there are sleep deprived parents (and facilitators!), there will always be coffee to-go carriers.
Children were prompted to “Imagine the future of _____” covering different scales from the human, to the home, to our cities, to our planet. Some children reveled in making things around us a little bit better while others preferred starting from scratch designing new civilizations underwater, in the air, and in outerspace.
This was a set from one of our younger families. Lesson learned: if you plan an event for 5+, expect lots and lots of toddlers! Wooden building blocks and basic coloring supplies made the activity accessible for all ages.
The making process: two families collaborating on one futuristic city.