Neorural Futures





A documented case history of a Speculative Design learning experience in Rome






→ How Speculative Design, Design Fiction, Near Future Design and Critical Design approaches help people and organisations to discuss possible and preferable futures in times of disruption and global crisis present and to come – such as climate change or pandemics?

What are possible, immaginable and prefarable future scenarios for rurality in then years from now?

→ What are the key elements to design and realize a meaningful, collaborative and engaging learning experience – involving people minds and bodies, and capable to create bridges between the event and the city?

The publication documents for students and professionals the approaches, methods, design and cultural strategies we used to conceive Neorural Futures, the summer academy of the SpeculativeEdu project.


«Now more than ever, thinking about the future is a fundamental thing to do.

It is of utmost importance that this “thinking about the future” is not something that someone does for us. Something that a lab, a government, or some company – who knows where, how and why – thinks  just to sell us something different, however good.

We all need to immagine futures, right in the middle of our society.

This is why initiatives such as SpeculativeEdu are so important. How do you teach designers to not only to imagine future scenarios, but also to engage other people, their fellow citizens and human beings, to think together and to activate themselves? How do you move from “possible” to “desirable”, “preferable”, “enjoyable”, “just” – and other beautiful adjectives that we might want to add? How do we do it as a society?

This is possibly the most important form of politics that we can do: social imagination
and desire.»
Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico

Artists and coordinators of Neorural Futures, HER: She Loves Data


Click here to dowload the full publication


→ 100 people enrolled from all around the world
→ 40
selected participants
→ 5 days
of intensive workshop
→ 5 speculative design concepts
An exhibit and an international conference open to the city
An epic conclusion

The event was held in Rome from 2nd to 6th September 2019 at RUFA, Rome University of Fine Art. Lear more about Neorural Futures.


SpeculativeEdu is a research and education project funded by the European Commission through its Erasmus+ Programme. The project has two main objectives:

→ investigate emergent practices and approaches of design fiction, near future, speculative and critical design;
→ create a book and an online toolkit, making this research available to teachers, students, professionals and communities.


«Through imagination and critical thinking and by using design as a medium, Speculative Design practice inspires thinking, raises awareness, examines, provokes action, opens discussions and has the potential to offer alternative directions and positive shifts that are urgently needed in today’s world.

The high number of participants who applied for the first workshop in Maribor and the summer school in Rome, shows great interest and potential for future oriented critical practices.

There is a clear space to rethink education programmes, especially in the context of academia where programmes are still primarily oriented towards the market role of design, often without a reflexive and critical approach to the practice.»

Ivica Mitrović

Professor and coordinator of the SpeculativeEdu project, Arts Academy Split


Click here to dowload the full publication