At the beginning of October, a new generation of Master in Design for Emergent Futures (MDEF) students started their journey at IAAC. In their first week, the students went through the so-called MDEF Bootcamp, a landing and setup workshop that introduces the students to the main ambitions of the master’s program.

The bootcamp format allows students to familiarise themselves with the physical spaces where the program will operate and experiment (Studio, Lab, and neighborhood), as well as provide the initial tools to document and share their progress during their studies at IAAC.


IAAC sits at the heart of the innovative Poblenou neighborhood so part of the bootcamp is the Poblenou Tour, which introduces the students to the neighborhood they will be spending the next 9 months. It’s a visit that MDEF organises every year to show them some of the “hidden” spots in Poblenou, related to the concepts addressed in the program.

The tour was led by Milena Calvo Juarez, who is the referent person for the MDEF students to get in touch and work with communities in the neighborhood for their interventions. Milena has actively participated in several interdisciplinary projects in the circular economy, resilient cities, co-creation and sustainable food. She currently coordinates the local pilot of the CENTRINNO project, whose aim is to test and implement collaborative activities with citizens and local organizations in Poblenou to valorise industrial heritage and develop a replicable model for sustainable urban transformation.

The tour started at Poblenou Urban District, a private non-profit association founded in 2012. Their main goal is to foster the creative and cultural community of Poblenou and establish the district as the creative and cultural hub of Barcelona. As a partner, IAAC/Fab Lab Barcelona has a long relationship with the association from which many collaborations have arisen, such as the Urban Talks and our yearly participation in the Poblenou Open Night.


The following stop was Biciclot, a work cooperative promoting the bicycle as an ecological, economical, healthy means of transport and for sustainable mobility. Biciclot works in partnership with social entities, schools, institutes, educational centers, public administrations and individuals, offering them courses in mechanics and reuse, courses to learn to ride a bike and cycle safely.

After that, MDEF students took a break at Superilla Poblenou for a well-deserved lunch. The Superilla also known as Superblock is an urban unit formed of several blocks in which the streets are transformed to recover public space for pedestrians, where priority is given to sustainable mobility and shared, green and safe space, making it a perfect spot to rest and recharge.

The tour continued with a stroll through the neighborhood until reaching the next destination Hangar, a center for art production and research that offers support to artists. Their goal is to provide them with an ideal context and a wide variety of services to produce their projects according to their specific requirements. Furthermore, Hangar provides space, guidance and help in the promotion of said projects. Their services are open to artists, critics, theorists, mediators, cultural managers and curators, both established or in the beginning stages of their careers.


The next and final stop was Colectivo Bajel, a collective workshop and community center for artists and artisans born in 2020. Among the residents are local and international painters, designers, sculptors, graphic designers and motorbike mechanics, to name a few. Each of them gets a personal workspace to produce their projects.


The annual Poblenou tour is a great way for the Master in Design for Emergent Futures students to get inspired by some of the successful projects present in the neighborhood. On top of that, they also get the opportunity to create meaningful connections they can resort to in the course of the program for collaborations and interventions. Throughout the upcoming months, the students will be connected to more of the leaders in the local community, specifically in the ‘maker district’ of Barcelona: the [email protected] District of Poblenou.

Are you curious to know more about their activities? 

Discover here the Master in Design for Emergent Futures (MDEF).