Southampton: 2117 - Speculative Futures Workshop

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Masonic Hall

Albion Place


SO14 2DD

United Kingdom

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Event description


This experimental workshop will include presentations about speculative architecture, sci-fi and the concept of future, followed by a discussion regarding these themes and how to approach the future of a city. Explored from the viewpoint of multiple disciplines and in the context of the area surrounding K6 Gallery, the workshop outcomes will contribute towards an exhibition in the K6 Gallery launching in early December 2017.

Participants include:

Dr Alan Wong

Research Fellow within Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton.

Alan‘s current research interests focus on improving the de-carbonisation of road transport and encouraging more sustainable modes of travel, including walking, cycling and public transport. He has also worked with MIT and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).

He holds an Engineering Doctorate in Transport Knowledge and Systems Engineering, business and technology qualifications, and has won awards for Science Communications and in Research Presentation. He is also active in delivering public engagement impact on behalf of the University, including exhibitions of Intelligent Transport Systems at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Winchester Science Centre (Intech), the Bestival music festival and the Royal Society’s Summer Exhibition. He coordinates a public engagement group for early-career and PhD researchers and is part of the University’s Roadshow and public engagement with research network.

Susanna Edwards

Edwards works in the realm of visual communication, as researcher, illustrator, and educator. Known best for her approach to the teaching and practice of design and illustration, spanning traditional craft and digital approaches to visual communication using 2D and 3D processes such as photography, typography, print making, moving image and laser cutting. Research and practice has a particular interest in working with archives and using Illustration and action research as a tool for communication and engagement and field techniques for collecting and organising data through storytelling. Edwards has worked for many high profile clients, judged international design awards, managed educational courses and departments and presented work at international conferences.

Currently Head of Cass Visual Commincation the Cass Faculty of Art Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University, Edwards has led her department through a period of significant positive change. Overseeing undergraduate and postgraduate provision she has been instrumental in building and leading a new innovatory department. As a researcher and illustrator she works on self–initiated, collaborative projects that take various forms from exhibitions, workshops, events, installations and artists publications. This area of work includes research and residencies at major Museums and Institutions such as The Science Museum, The Hunterian Museum and The Royal Society and working in collaboration with the author and filmmaker Iain Sinclair in the area of psychogeography; investigating London across historical, cultural, political, architectural and geographical contexts. Her work is often in collaboration individuals and organisations from a variety of professional backgrounds; from museums and galleries to cultural entrepreneurs, performers, architects, activists, historians, philosophers, artists, designers, writers and scientists.

Professor Patrick James

Professor of Energy and Buildings within Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton.

His research is based on understanding energy use in the built environment whether this is at home, at work or at a broader urban scale. He is a specialist in micro-generation technologies including solar thermal, photo-voltaics, micro-wind and micro-CHP (see He is the Principle Investigator of APERIO; Director of Programmes for postgraduate taught energy, overseeing the (i) MSc Energy and Sustainability, and (ii) MSc Sustainable Energy Technologies programmes. He is an Associate Editor of the IET Renewable Power Generation Journal and an energy-based research assessor for several national funding agencies.

Patrick is a co-author of the CCWeatherGen and CCWorldWeatherGen software tools and a co-author of a new CIBSE TM guide ‘TM53: 2013, Refurbishment of non-domestic buildings' published in September 2013.

Sara Roberts
Sara Roberts is a freelance exhibition curator based in Winchester. She has a particular interest in presenting art in non-gallery places, and is currently curator for the National Trust and Arts Council of Wales Artists’ Residencies at Penrhyn Castle, North Wales. She previously worked for PACA (Public Art Commissions Agency), The British Council, The Winchester Gallery at Winchester School of Art, Oriel Mostyn and The Imperial War Museum.
In 2016-17 she was Acting Programme Leader for MA Contemporary Curation at Winchester School of Art.

More TBC

Full itinerary

14.30 – 15.00 hrs:

Reception drinks and snacks, brief introductions with the participants, first approach to their areas and interests.

15.00 – 15.15 hrs:

Introduction to 2117: Southampton, explaining the objectives of the workshop and presenting what we will do afterwards with the material gathered here.

15.15 – 15.30 hrs.:

Presentation about speculative architecture, showing examples from popular culture, sci-fi literature and real-life approaches to imagining possible futures.

15.30 – 16.00 hrs:

Showing the area of action selected for this exercise, showing images and city plans, an introduction to important areas/buildings. Group discussion about current issues that need solving, creating areas of action (Environmental, Social, Political, Urban). Choose the most urgent problems that need to be solved by 2117.

16.00 – 16.30 hrs.:

Working in small groups leaded by highly qualified professionals to solve one (or more, depending on the size of the group) urgent problems. This includes sketching, drawing, creating images of any kind, writing, etc. During this time the participants will engage with a creative process of vertical thinking in order to propose ideas that might, or might not, be based on currently possible solutions. This time will be used to speculate and freely explore ideas using an imagination-based process of thinking.

16.30 – 17.00 hrs.:

Sharing the results with the rest of the group.

17.00 – 17.45 hrs.:

Final conclusions complemented by small talks by our special guests. The group will be able to share their experience during the workshop and engage in a deeper conversation regarding the feasibility of their solutions as well as the steps that could be taken in each of their areas.

Reading list

Young, Liam. (2017), What is speculative Architecture?, Strelka Magazine. Available at:

Raven, Paul. (2014), Make technological utopia easier with this one weird trick, Futurismic. Available at:

Rajagopal, Avinash. (2013), Five compelling works of architecture fiction, Metropolis Magazine. Available at:

Glancey, Jonathan. (2002), Architects reward the pop art dreamers, The Guardian. Available at:

Sterling, Bruce. (2003). The Growthing, Metropolis Magazine. Available at:

Hawaway, Donna. (1984). A Cyborg Manifesto. Available at:

Valentine, Ben. (2011). Solarpunk wants to save the world, Hopes and Fears. Available at:

Wark, McKenzie. (2015). Inventing the Future. Available at:

Metamorphosis Consortium (2017). General Analysis Report: Transformation of neighbourhoods in a child-friendly way to increase the quality of life for all citizens.

Essential viewing:

Why we need to imagine different futures by Anab Jain. Available at:

Date and Time


Masonic Hall

Albion Place


SO14 2DD

United Kingdom

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