On Saturday, July 15th, we had a Futures of Europe ‘first’, as one of our initiators, Moritz Borchardt, was able to integrate our established one-day format into the program of an international youth exchange.
The project “Show me a Future – Pop-Culture, European Values and the Future we want to Create” was originally submitted as part of his application for FutureLab Europe, so it was only fitting that the Futures of Europe format could now be used to kick-start the youth exchange.
Co-funded by the European Commission and the Thuringian Ministry of Youth, Education and Sports, and implemented for Culture Goes Europe, the exchange brought together 25 young adults from France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain for one week in Mühlhausen, Germany.
Taking place on the second day of the project, the participants first discussed the most pressing issues in Europe today, only then to be split up into three equally sized groups. In those sub-groups, they were then led by facilitators in developing their ideas for the best possible futures they had always wanted to live in.
Invigorated by coffee and snacks, the groups then tackled the task of creating headlines from those idealized futures and – using a variety of methods – a total of five different narratives was created, focussing on topics such as peace and security, public health, social equality, planetary exploration and the quality of life at large.
We are very happy that we could include Futures of Europe into this event and showcase its use both as stand-alone activity as shown in Cologne and Copenhagen and in concert with similarly-aimed longer-form formats.
The second installment of our Futures of Europe workshop is a wrap – with a wonderful, open minded, and fun session in Copenhagen, Denmark.
We spent the day with at the Litteraturhuset ved Vandkunsten, a beautiful, cozy place in the heart of the city where we were joined by locals, friends, and students to once again discuss the question “What Europe would we want to live in?”. After a short welcome and introduction, we kicked things off with sharing what Europe means to us. The results were big headlines such as:
Media, populism, and information
Cultural Diversity, from solidarity to Us vs. Them
Political Institutions, transparency, and trust
Economic integration and business opportunities
Free travel and movement
Forgetting and remembering a shared history
Security, conflicts, and terror
Environment and Climate Change
Collaborative projects and European undertakings, from Eurovision to the European Space Agency
How might we…?
We then picked some of them to explore further and – after more discussions – decided to frame three central questions to follow up with throughout the day:
How can Europe play a role in preserving the environment?
How could we use economic integration to increase solidarity in Europe?
How might we remember and learn from the terrible capacities of humankind?
And as challenging as they were, we eventually dared to propose hopeful, utopian, fantastic, and desirable projects and solutions that we imagine may be answers to those questions. Just like in our first workshop, we finished our workshop with crafting „Good news from the Future“ – with three fictional newspapers from different scenarios, that report on the then-implemented projects, and initiatives. We will share a more detailed look on these narratives soon and describe how they explored the questions of diversity, sustainability, and collective remembrance.
Copenhagen marked another great step on our path to explore desirables futures for Europe and beyond. We are still collecting, editing all the other ideas and perspectives that we get sent in written form by people from all over the world (more on that soon), before we head to Brussels once again in September, to present the results and potential follow-ups of this initiative to the good folks at FutureLab Europe, who made this project possible.