[WHEN] September 6th 2019
[WHERE] Rome @RUFA Space (Via degli Ausoni 7)
[WHAT] Exhibit, International Conference, Round Table – Free Entry Event

100 enrolled people from all around the world (Europe, USA, China, Palestine, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Turkey, India, Israel, South Africa), 40 selected participants, 5 intensive days of workshop, an exhibit and an international conference open to the public to discover five possible futures of rurality at the center of global climate change, migration, technological innovations: from 2nd to 6th September, the city of Rome hosts the summer school of the international project Speculative Edu.

Speculative Edu is a research, educational project funded by the European Commission through its Programmme Erasmus+. Coordinated by the Arts Academy Split (Croatia) in partnership with the Goldsmith College (UK), Madeira Interactive Technology Institute (Portugal), Edinburgh Napier University (Scotland), HER – Human Ecosystems Relazioni (Italy), Institute for Transmedia Design (Slovenia), the project has two main objectives: investigates emergent practices and approaches of design fiction, near future, speculative and critical design; realize a book and an online toolkit to make the research available for 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. High number of participants applied for the first workshop in Maribor and the summer school in Rome, intensive coverage of our activities and high number of personal contacts related to the projects, shows great interest and potential for future oriented critical practices. There is a clear space to rethink educational programmes, especially the context of academia where educational programmes are still primarily oriented towards the market role of design, often without a reflexive and critical approach to the practice.

Ivica Mitrović, professor at Arts Academy Split, leading organization of the Speculative Edu Consortium.

At the last floor of RUFA Space, in the heart of San Lorenzo neighborhood, the group of participants, supervised by an interdisciplinary team of tutors and coordinators, will investigate how rurality is changing in relation to global phenomena (such as climate change, migrations, technological innovation), to create future scenarios by using and experimenting different approaches emerged from the research.

In societies submitted to continuous and radical transformations, to know how to design possible – but also desirable futures – is becoming fundamental: people, professionals, students need more and more tools and instruments able to free and stimulate processes of social imagination to confront their present. Which is exactly what speculative and critical design are made for. We are proud and happy that Italy and the city of Rome will host the Summer School of the project. The connection with rurality is one of the key-elements of our living on the planet, and this topic gives ua the opportunity to explore, from a privileged perspective, how we interrelate with food, resources, environment, cultivations and cultures, between past and transformation. Working with partners like Rural Hack, that in Italy are doing an extraordinary job, will allow us to dig deeper into this complex issues.

Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico, founders of the network AOS and of the research center HER, Italian partner of the consortium Speculative Edu.

The concepts elaborated in the five days workshop will be transformed by participants in an open exhibition, that will conclude the summer school allowing public to immerse in a near future, touching and feeling the effects of the transformation. The appointment with NeoRural Futures is at the RUFA Space on Friday the 6th of September from 5.30pm, to enjoy the opening and the exhibit. For people interested in learning more about critical and speculative design, and about the process of the workshop, the Speculative Edu conference at 6pm is the opportunity to discuss with researchers, artists, designers from all over Europe, and to meet the group.

NeoRural Futures and the Speculative Edu project align perfectly with the international vocation that RUFA has always pursued and that in recent years has undergone a strong acceleration, with the launch of the courses in English and with the extension of the international study programmes. It is essential to experiment and learn new approaches to design and the decision to transform the results of the workshop into an exhibition is an important message: the languages of art can create experiences accessible to wide and transversal audiences, and it has become more and more strategic for people and organizations. We are proud to host the consortium and the forty participants, with the clear intention of building international networks that can give life to future collaborations.

Fabio Mongelli, director of RUFA – Rome University of Fine Arts.

The city positively reacted to the project. Together with RUFA, the host institution and academic partner, four different cultural dweller in town will host “The future is already here – it’s just not even imagined”, a series of conversations about the future to extend the reflection of . On Tuesday 3th the group will meet MERCATO CENTRALE, on Wednesday 4th the two design studies NONE Collective and Ultravioletto, on Thursday 5th Fondazione RomaEuropa Festival with a focus on its DIGITALIVE programme. Conversations will start from the strategies adopted by hosting partners, involving the summer school’s participants and the team project.

A last gift comes from Campania: Vini Venditti, a family run business based in Benevento in the Samnite territory, will offer their wines to toast to the exhibit.

Special thanks: Cristiana Pagnottelli and everyone at RUFA, Simona Sacco, Pina Caliento, all the partners, tutors and participants who made the event possible.

Info & Contacts


Speculative Edu Consortium Partners

Local Partners of the Multiplier Event NeoRural Futures
This project has been funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.