INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS DESIGNING FOR EMERGENT FUTURES?

The Master in Design for Emergent Futures is an immersive learning program that focuses on Barcelona city as an experimental playground, in which design can be used to understand, develop, test and speculate interventions that respond to the wicked problems of our time.

 

The master evolves the practice of design beyond objects, aesthetics, form finding and pure speculation through an approach of ‘designing interventions’ and hands-on-learning. The approach enhances the technical capabilities of designers in digital fabrication and synthetic biology in order for them to physically explore their ideas. On the other hand, the approach elevates the critical thinking of designers and provides them with communication tools and philosophical understanding to build new narratives about the possible futures that can be triggered in the urban context of today. MDEF is one of the newest programs at IAAC. It collects the solid design and academic knowledge of Elisava School of Design and Engineering, professional and research experience of Fab Lab Barcelona and the pioneering distributed education model for digital fabrication of the global Fab Academy program.

Master In Design for Emergent Futures

MDEF is a nine-month experience for professionals and graduates who want to expand and calibrate their interests and acquire the skills to turn protests into prototypes, ideas into actions. The programme is structured in four critical steps: Exploration, Instrumentation, Reflection and Application. Through these four steps, the master provides designers, sociologists, economists and computer scientists the strategic vision and skills, to become leaders of change in many professional environments that deal with design, complexity, innovation, and disruption.

Students are encouraged to work at multiple scales (from bits to geography) in order to design and test interventions in the real world. The theoretical and practical content of this programme proposes an exploratory journey to comprehend and critique the role of disruptive technologies –Digital Fabrication, Blockchain, Synthetic Biology, Artificial Intelligence, among others– in the transformation of the established order. At the same time, during the MDEF students develop a hybrid profile that mixes various sets of skills (technical and human) that are applied in the implementation of interventions.

X Futures – Impact Incubation Program

The first-year students of the Master in Design for Emergent Futures have the possibility to continue developing their research agenda in a newly created acceleration program, X futures, organized in partnership with Fab Lab Barcelona, the Fab Lab Network, Space10, Seeed Studio, Kickstarter, among other companies and organizations supporting the research and innovation agenda to explore and design emergent futures. 

The X futures impact incubation program allow participants to continue their research and innovation agendas using a multiscalar, experimental, and realistic approach, and by turning the final projects developed in the first year of the master program into living platforms for academic research, business development, or direct impact in open source communities. 

The incubation program aims to incubate and accelerate projects, by helping them to scale, and developing distribution and sustainability strategies.

MDEF IN BRIEF
MASTER IN DESIGN FOR EMERGENT FUTURES
Edition  3rd edition
Degree Master in Design for Emergent Futures
Directors Tomás Díez, Oscar Tomico
Credits 75 ECTS
Duration 9 months from October 2020 to June 2021 – Immersive and Full Time
Language English
Tuition Fees Non-EU: 16.000 €
EU: 12.800 €
Admission Bachelor or higher degree in Industrial Design, Product Design, Architecture and Urban Design, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Computer Science, Engineering (Mechanical, Chemical, Product, Material), Sociology, Anthropology, Economy, and other related professions.
X FUTURES – IMPACT INCUBATION PROGRAM
Edition  2nd edition
Program X Futures – Impact Incubation Program
Directors Tomás Díez, Oscar Tomico
Duration 9 months from October 2020 to June 2021
Language English
Tuition Fees 9.600 €
Admission MDEF Alumni

ACADEMIC STRUCTURE

Master in Design for Emergent Futures

The Master in Design for Emergent Futures is organized in three terms (Oct-Dec | Jan-Mar | Apr-Jun), each including Design Studios, complementary Seminars and experts’ masterclasses. In addition, a Research Trip is included in the master. 

In this Master, we don’t teach students a methodology nor a set of golden rules to be applied in given assignments. Instead, we introduce the MDEF as a journey and exploration on how projects be manifestos to introduce new outputs. 

We support students in the development of their identity and vision, and encourage them to grow their unique set of skills, knowledge and attitude in order to navigate through the uncertainty inherent when designing possible futures. 

The Design Studios are the main part of the program as they focus on real world experimentation and socio-technical development. During the year, students will be developing technical, aesthetic and conceptual skills by working on real-life scenarios. 

Seminar sessions are designed to delve into specific domains of knowledge and are delivered by relevant experts, including both practitioners and scholars. Throughout the academic year, international experts in the field of design and emergent technologies will be contributing to the program as guest lecturers. 

The Master in Design for Emergent Futures is a journey through time and multiple dimensions, which when intersected, opens a new point of view, understanding and translating ideas into projects. 

These four dimensions are:

INSTRUMENTATION 

We provide a set of skills and tools that will help to translate ideas into prototypes, and prototypes into products, which can then be tested and iterated throughout the design process. 

EXPLORATION 

We expose the students to a set of technologies that have the capacity to disrupt our present understanding of society, industry and the economy. 

REFLECTION 

We support the students in the development of their identity and skill set, knowledge and attitude as designers of possible futures. 

APPLICATION 

We encourage students to create a culture of making where prototyping acts as a generator of knowledge, and interventions become message carriers of a future that is about to come. 

*The Master in Design for Emergent Futures is connected with the Exploring Emergent Futures platform at the Royal College of Art, London, which has been developed by James Tooze and Tomas Diez since 2015. 

MDEF Program structure

The programme is structured as it follows:

September – December: Introductory courses and philosophical/ theoretical background.

APPLICATION – Research studio.Analyzing the past. References, state of the art. Identifying areas of interest.

REFLECTION – Design identities and methods. A day in the life of hybrid designers from Barcelona. Building knowledge, skills and attitude as a designer

INSTRUMENTATION – Introduction to digital fabrication. Distributed manufacturing and Industry 4.0

EXPLORATION – Data and information in the digital age. Communications, computation, change theory

January – March: Design for Emergent Futures Studio 2: Making possible future speculations.

APPLICATION – Design Studio: Forming the present. Building the foundations. Applying knowledge into practice. Prototyping and experimenting. 

REFLECTION – Design approaches: Emergent Design trends, create your design identity and vision.

INSTRUMENTATION – Fab Academy (how to make almost anything): principles and practices, project management, computer-aided design, computer-controlled cutting, electronics production, 3D scanning and printing, electronics design, computer-controlled machining, embedded programming, mechanical design, output devices, machine design.

EXPLORATION – Emergent technologies: How Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Digital Fabrication, Robotics are changing everything?

April – June: Design for Emergent Futures Studio 3: Making possible future speculations.

APPLICATION – Design Studio: Defining the future. Establishing roadmaps. Forming partnerships. Testing ideas and prototypes in the real world. 

REFLECTION – Materialising possible speculations: Roles of prototyping, from demos to research products.

INSTRUMENTATION – Fab Academy (how to make almost anything): moulding and casting, input devices, composites, networking and communications, interface and application programming, applications and implications, invention, intellectual property, and income.

EXPLORATION – Future business models: Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, open source business models, cryptocurrencies and cryptomarkets.

X FUTURES (Optional)

X futures combines the academic, business and maker approaches in order to make them instrumental in designing emerging futures. Thanks to this combination, participants will be able to continue developing forward their hybrid profiles created during the first year of MDEF and already implemented in their projects. 

Researches’ agendas during the X futures program will have three different approaches and possible directions after the program’s completion. Projects’ outputs will range from: 

  1. a) the knowledge developed and its contribution to academia 
  2. b) to set up a business model plan and implement it, and 
  3. c) or create an open source community to enable direct impact. 

We offer a unique approach to combine these three dimensions to develop students projects and to support the best combination to increase their impact in the real world. 

X Futures program structure

The programme is structured as it follows:

Objectives: 

  1. Identifying needs 
  2. Definition of project’s horizons and milestones 
  3. Residency with partners (Shenzhen, Copenhagen..) 
  4. Market analysis and value proposition 
  5. Execution plan 
  6. Definition of partnerships and funding opportunities. 

Objectives: 

  1. Design from manufacturing 
  2. Design from context 
  3. Engineering sample/ first release

Objectives: 

  1. The student or group will learn how to write about the product. 
  2. The product is finalized to the market. 
  3. Small batch/project deployment. 
  4. Testing with users, communities, professionals, and other relevant agents. 

Execution:

Every week or every second week, we have a global meeting for global review, lesson by an expert, weekly exercise to deepen the knowledge and matchmaking with the collaborators. Researchers work together, with mentors and companies the rest of the time to fulfill weekly tasks and work on the prototype.

STUDENT PROFILE

MDEF is for designers, architects, urbanists, economists, sociologists, artists, and technologists who want to become leaders of radical transformation of the current state of affairs. It is for individuals who are looking to acquire a set of skills as well as the mindset to deal with the complexity of the wicked problems of our “liquid times”. 

 

PROFESSIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The Master in Design for Emergent Futures program is designed for leaders. It does not offer job positions under the current industrial context. MDEF graduates find employment opportunities such as Chief Complexity Officer, Chief Disruption Officer, and work in collaboration with innovation teams in small, medium and large companies. Graduates can continue their research agenda within more traditional academic institutions, in the format of academic masters or PhDs. Graduates will also be supported to become entrepreneurs and create job opportunities for themselves and others by turning their ideas into real world projects with selected students offered the opportunity to incubate their projects through the second year Impact Incubation Program, X-Futures

Previous graduates of MDEF have proceeded to work in the subjects in which they specialised in within the master. Specialist subjects ranged greatly – from understanding democratic governance and trust; questioning our food systems and how they will look in the future; training fungi to consume chemical composites amongst many other varied topics facilitated by the Master’s team.

Students are encouraged during the master to collaborate with industry, government and other professional sectors to develop more impactful projects. IAAC and Fab Lab Barcelona have collaborated with the following organisations: Nike, IKEA, Airbus, Festool, Ajuntament de Barcelona, UN-Habitat and others. ELISAVA has collaborated with companies like Agbar, Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, DUPONT, SUEZ, SEAT, Yamaha, among others.

STUDENT PROJECTS

FACULTY

Directors:

Tomas Diez, Director – Design Studio leader – Urban Design and Digital Fabrication

Dr. Oscar Tomico, Co-director – Design Studio leader – Design Engineering and Integrated Products

 

Tomas Diez

Tomas Diez is a Venezuela-born Urbanist who specialises in Digital Fabrication and its implications for the future of cities. He is the director of Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, the Fab Academy global coordinator and the European project manager of the Fab Foundation.

He holds a bachelor degree in Urban planning and Sociology from the University Simon Bolivar (Caracas – Venezuela), a Diploma in Social Work at the University of Havana (Cuba), a Master in Advanced Architecture by IAAC, and a Diploma on Digital Fabrication in a pilot programme on the class “How to Make Almost Anything”, offered by MIT centre for Bits and Atoms in 2008 as the year zero of the Fab Academy. He works as a close collaborator in the development of the Fab Lab Network together with MIT and the Fab Foundation.

He is a tutor in Design at the Royal College of Arts in London; Co-founder of the Smart Citizen project and StudioP52, both in Barcelona, and has been the co-chair of the FAB10 Barcelona, the 10th international Fab Lab conference and annual meeting hosted by IAAC in 2014. Tomas has been appointed by The Guardian and Nesta as one of the top 10 digital social innovators to watch in 2013 and has been awarded the Catalan ICT association as the entrepreneur of the year in 2014-15. His research interests relate to the use of digital fabrication tools to transform the reality, and how the use of new technologies can change the way people consume, produce and relate to each other in cities.

Oscar Tomico

Oscar Tomico holds an MSc degree in Industrial Engineering from Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Spain) and a PhD from the same institution, awarded in 2007 with Cum Laude. During his research into Innovation Processes in Product Design, he investigated subjective experience-gathering techniques based on constructivist psychology. After finishing his PhD he worked as a consultant for Telefonica R&D (Barcelona). Tomico joined Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in 2007 as Assistant Professor. He has been a guest researcher and lecturer at AUT Creative technologies (New Zealand), at TaiwanTech (Taiwan), Swedish School of Textiles (Sweden), Institute of Advanced Architecture (Spain), University of Tsukuba, Aalto (Finland) to name a few. During his sabbatical in 2015 he worked as a consultant for the functional textiles department at EURECAT (Spain). He recently (2017) became the head of the Industrial Design Bachelor’s degree program at ELISAVA University School of Design and Engineering of Barcelona.

Faculty:

Mariana Quintero: Media Arts, Media Studies, Digital Literacy & Embodied Cognition

Kate Armstrong: Strategic Design and Communication (Distributed Design at Fab Lab BCN)

Guillem Camprodon: Computer Science, Tools and Platforms (Sense Making at Fab Lab BCN)

Victor Barberán: Computer Science, Tools and Platforms (Sense Making at Fab Lab BCN)

Oscar Gonzalez: Computer Science, Tools and Platforms (Sense Making at Fab Lab BCN)

Anastasia Pistofidou: Materials and Embedded Technologies (Materials and Textiles at Fab Lab BCN)

Jonathan Minchin: Design and Sustainability (Ecological Interactions at Fab Lab BCN)

Dr. Nuria Conde Pueyo: Synthetic and Computational Biology (Universitat Pompeu Fabra at PRBB)

Lucas Peña: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning BCN)

Santi Fuentemilla: Digital Fabrication (Future Learning at Fab Lab BCN)

Xavier Domínguez: Digital Fabrication (Future Learning at Fab Lab BCN)

Eduardo Chamorro: Digital Fabrication (Future Learning at Fab Lab BCN)

Thomas Duggan: Materials and generative design (Thomas Duggan Studio

Dr. Mara Balestrini: New business models, user engagement, HCI (Ideas for Change

Jose Luis de Vicente: Digital Culture, Innovation and New Media Art (Sonar+D, Future Everything

Mercé Rua, Markel Cormenzana:Transition Design (Holon

Andrés Colmenares:Speculative Research, Internet Post-technological Future (IAM

Carlos B. Steinblock: Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies (BTC-Guardian

Jordi Riulas: Blockchain (CELL.market

Dr. Ariel Guersenzvaig Design Research and Ethics (Elisava)

Dr. Ron Wakkary, Dr. Kristina Andersen, Angella Mackey: Interaction Design, Industrial Design, Wearables, Fashion, Media Art and Design Research (Eindhoven University of Technology)

Special Faculty and Advisors:

Neil Gershenfeld: MIT – Center for Bits and Atoms

Indy Johar: Dark Matter Labs

Daniel Charny: From Now On, Kingston University 

James Tooze University of Brighton 

Liz Corbin: Metabolic

Primavera de Filippi CRNS – France 

Ernesto Oroza

Heather Corcoran Kickstarter 

Dr. Mette Bak Andersen: KEA – Material Design Lab

Saúl Baeza: DOES Work – Elisava

Dr. Laura Clèries : Elisava Research

Pol Trias: Domestic Data Streamers

Sara González de Ubieta: deubieta.com

STUDENT PROFILE

MDEF is for designers, architects, urbanists, economists, sociologists, artists, and technologists who want to become leaders of radical transformation of the current state of affairs. It is for individuals who are looking to acquire a set of skills as well as the mindset to deal with the complexity of the wicked problems of our “liquid times”. 

PROFESSIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The Master in Design for Emergent Futures program is designed for leaders. It does not offer job positions under the current industrial context. MDEF graduates find employment opportunities such as Chief Complexity Officer, Chief Disruption Officer, and work in collaboration with innovation teams in small, medium and large companies. Graduates can continue their research agenda within more traditional academic institutions, in the format of academic masters or PhDs. Graduates will also be supported to become entrepreneurs and create job opportunities for themselves and others by turning their ideas into real world projects with selected students offered the opportunity to incubate their projects through the second year Impact Incubation Program, X-Futures

Previous graduates of MDEF have proceeded to work in the subjects in which they specialised in within the master. Specialist subjects ranged greatly – from understanding democratic governance and trust; questioning our food systems and how they will look in the future; training fungi to consume chemical composites amongst many other varied topics facilitated by the Master’s team.

Students are encouraged during the master to collaborate with industry, government and other professional sectors to develop more impactful projects. IAAC and Fab Lab Barcelona have collaborated with the following organisations: Nike, IKEA, Airbus, Festool, Ajuntament de Barcelona, UN-Habitat and others. ELISAVA has collaborated with companies like Agbar, Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, DUPONT, SUEZ, SEAT, Yamaha, among others.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Our scholarship competition has now finished and we’re unable to accept any more scholarship applications for this year. If you would like to find out when the competition is reopening, please subscribe to our newsletter where we will make the announcement.

 

 

 

PROJECT PROPOSAL: “2050 – TALES FROM THE FUTURE”

At the Master in Design for Emergent Futures (MDEF) programme we want to make possible new realities by intersecting technology convergence with global challenges. In this sense, we are aiming to build narratives of the future from a different perspective that we are used to. Instead of creating fixed scenarios on how the future will look like, we want to know how we are going to make it there, and which will be the main challenges we will face.

 

We are not looking for a description of the 2019 Los Angeles depicted in the first Blade Runner movie, we want you to tell us about the path to get to possible futures in 2050, what we might find ahead, closer to Kavafis’ description of the trip to Ithaca.

 

 

REQUIRED MATERIAL

We want you to write a science fiction story (1000 words maximum) illustrated with one image about the future of anything (food, work, mobility, humanity, health, manufacturing, entertainment, tourism… anything) in the year 2050. Imagine you are already 30 years ahead of 2020, what are you doing? Which are society’s problems in 2050? How is everyday life? How we got there? When was the key turning point? And How? Why?

 

These are some of the questions that can help you to articulate your narrative, always with the perspective of how you imagine you can play a role in order to make the futures, you are presenting to us, possible.

 

Themes:

  • Circular economy in advanced manufacturing
  • Public engagement in matters of concern
  • Cognitive systems in artificial intelligence
  • Biology in synthetic systems
  • Value exchange in distributed systems

 

To apply the candidates should fill up the Scholarship Application Form at this link and upload their projects in there.

 

COMPETITION DEADLINES

Start and end dates to be released soon.

 

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT

The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia will release the name of the winners on its official website.

PARTNERS