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What is a Future Workshop?

Slående røde felt springer ut i et jordbrukslandskap som nesten ser ut som et kubist-maleri. Åkrene i denne delen av det østlige Kazakstan følger konturene i landskapet—lange og smale i fjelldalene, og store og rektangulære på slettene.

A method for awakening the imagination as an antidote to resignation.

The Future Workshop is a method, as the originator Robert Jungk put it, for awakening the imagination as an antidote to resignation.

The method allows people with diverse backgrounds, motivations, and levels of self-assurance to contribute their criticism of the status quo, and their hopes for the future, drawing on their own experiences and competencies.

The workshop follows simple, democratic rules, establishing a space in which the participants decide what happens. By anticipating, in miniature, a truly democratic society, the workshop also allows participants to rehearse the role of active citizens helping shape the future of the wider society—whether it be through their work, their participation in civil society, or a combination.

The three phases of the workshop—criticism, utopia, actualisation—unleash an unfiltered critique of what is wrong today, imaginative images of how good the future might be, and realistic plans for realising these visions.
The Future Workshop goes contains three phases:
What is wrong or does not work the way things are today?
How do you wish things were?
What can you, alone or together, do to bring the way things are closer to how you wish they were?
Which provide three, distinct results:
Unfiltered criticism
of the way things are.
Imaginative images
of how good they might be.
Realistic plans
for how you are to go about realising these visions. Starting Monday.
The Future Workshop provides practical training in active citizenship, and contributes to creating a more Futures Literate citizenry equipped to work together to achieve the transformation of our societies into ones that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

Futures Literacy
We use the future every day. We predict, we fear and we hope. Anticipation is a powerful force shaping what we see and do, but we do not think very often about why or how we use the future. Futures Literacy is a capability that offers insights into both the reasons and the methods humans deploy when they anticipate. Being 'futures literate' enables people, together, to appreciate the world more fully, to use the future to innovate the present.
Riel Miller, head of Futures Literacy, UNESCO
In addition...
we address pressing societal problems by adapting the method to suit different groups of participants:
Our workshops for the unemployed and those seeking new employment create opportunities for meaningfully contributing to society and helping hasten the transition to sustainable industry and business.
Our workshops for academics help lessen the gap between the ideal of the knowledge society and the reality that confronts many newly educated in the transition to working life.
Our workshops for students take youth engagement in climate change and environmental destruction seriously, coupling learning to action, and using literature as a gate to imagining the future.
Our workshops for business join business development to sustainable development, drawing on the collective knowledge, intelligence and imaginative powers of workers and employees.
... and for every workshop we help create a more fremtenkt society.
The Future Workshop method is described by Robert Jungk and Norbert R. Müllert in their 1981 handbook Zukunftswerkstätten.

Fremtenkt is currently working with an international group of futurists on the republication of the handbook for Future Workshops in English, as well as translating and publishing it for the first time in Norwegian, Russian and Kazakh.

The translations are to be published with a Creative Commons-license, and will be available on a pay what you want basis.

Robert Jungk and Norbert R. Müllert, 1981.