the largest political gathering in Norway, held annually since 2012. The event’s mission is clear: strengthen the belief in political empowerment and democracy through open debate and involvement.
We are going there to contribute to that democratic empowerment, by way of hosting a hybrid Futures Workshop/Futures Literacy Laboratory together with Med Hjerte for Arendal. Med Hjerte for Arendal is an innovative cross-sector organisation that pools the forces of local government, non-governmental organisations and volunteers to provide a wide range of services and improve the quality of life for all the city’s inhabitants.
The topic of the Futures Workshop is formal and informal expertise. The question we pose is how people and organisations that work in the intersection between government agencies, NGOs, private enterprise and volunteer work can navigate the complexities of integrating the formal expertise required to understand complex phenomena like climate risk in urban planning with the informal expertise that inhabitants and others accrue in the course of their everyday lives.
Formal expertise often serves as both gatekeeper and guarantee of quality and seriousness in various strategy, policy and planning documents, but the informal knowledge possessed by all of us in virtue of our rich experience of what works and does not work in everyday life is vital to the formulation and implementation of plans for societal development that work in practice and not only on paper.
How, then, can we integrate the two?
The workshop will also feature a (world?) first in terms of method: we will be combining elements of Robert Jungk’s original Future Creating Workshop with the Futures Literacy Laboratory Framework developed by Riel Miller at UNESCO.
Attendance is free and open to anyone who is interested in discussing this topic with others. Read more about it on the official webpage of Arendalsuka and show your interest on FB (in Norwegian).
See you in Arendal!
10.05.2022 SPARK Social Innovation Educational Forum: Using the future to promote social innovation
Fremtenkt recently presented our work using the future to promote social innovation at University of Oslo’s SPARK Social Innovation Education Forum.
Mette Halskov Hansen, Vice-Rector for Climate and the Environment and Cross-Disciplinarity at UiO, penned an interesting blog post in anticipation to our visit, writing amongst other things that:
Innovation can and should be about much more than commercialization. The crises we face locally and globally today—climate change, loss of nature, war, and threats to democracy—challenge fundamental values and established ways of living and organizing society. Call it social innovation or something else, but there is no doubt that humanities and social science subjects and methods are important for the change that must take place, quickly. (translated from the Norwegian original by Fremtenkt)
Futures Literacy as the key to more engaged employees and innovative businesses
According to Gallup, a meagre 20 percent of employees are engaged in their work.
Fremtenkt has written an opinion piece in the latest edition of Forskningspolitikk (Research Policy) about how businesses can use the future to rediscover the workplace as a locus of positive societal change, creating a more creative and engaging work environment.
In collaboration with Arna and Åsane office of cultural affairs and the Planning and Building Agency, we have so far arranged a series of Futures Workshops where residents and representatives from the municipality have met on an equal footing to discuss the development of the district over the next 30 years.
Input and ideas from these workshops form an important part of the basis for the Strategic Planning Program for Åsane’s central parts. The result is an ambitious plan for how the center of Åsane will become a green walking town with open rivers and contiguous parks.
Thanks to everyone who has participated so far! We will continue the discussions throughout the spring and autumn.
The planning program has now been submitted for political consideration, and can be read in its entirety here (in Norwegian).
21.04.2022 Futures of Åsane 7: Mobility 2
When: Thursday 21 April at 19-21
Where: Multisal, Åsane culture house
What steps can we take to make our movements environmentally and socially sustainable? Can we jointly devise solutions that benefit everyone, regardless of income and everyday challenges?
Fremtenkt and Arna and Åsane office of cultural affairs invited representatives from Bergen municipality, mobility enthusiasts and all interested inhabitants to the event Futures of Åsane 7: Mobility in Åsane.
Where: Classroom 3117, 3rd floor, Åsane culture house
2022 is Frivillighetens år (the year of volunteering), celebrating Norway’s most important communal labour. Åsane has multiple, highly engage and active voluntary organizations. There are also ideas for new citizens’ initiatives that are just waiting for the right people to find each other and get going.
Fremtenkt and Arna and Åsane office of cultural affairs therefore invited a number of residents in Åsane to a workshop to make plans for how Åsane can become an even better—and greener—district.
The protocol from the workshop is available here, together with reports from all the workshops that have been arranged as part of LabSDF: fremtenkt.no/lab/rapporter (in Norwegian).
12.01.2022 Training the trainers: Futures Workshop for teachers at Fyllingsdalen VGS.
Fremtenkt recently facilitated a digital workshop for 35 teachers at Fyllingsdalen upper secondary school. The theme was “Our private consumption in a sustainability perspective” and the teachers worked within the framework of a Futures Workshop, updated with exercises from recent futures research.
In February, teachers at Fyllingsdalen VGS will use this method to arrange a Sustainability Week for 200 students at VG1. This week aims to offer interdisciplinary teaching in line with the new curricula’s requirements for interdisciplinary teaching in sustainability and citizenship and democracy.
Are you a teacher and would like to see something like this at your school? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
19.01-20.01.2021 Using the future in leadership and innovation
As part of the Futures Literacy Norway network, Fremtenkt participated as guests at the launch of the UNESCO Chair in Leadership and Anticipation at the University of Stavanger, held by Rune By (UiS) and co-chaired by Per Koch (NIFU). Fremtenkt also helped facilitate a Futures Literacy Laboratory on the futures of leadership and innovation, with participants from, among others, Equinor and Bouvet.
30.11-01.12.2021 Using the future in research leadership and policy development
Fremtenkt helped design and implement a seminar on Futures Literacy and a Futures Literacy Laboratory on using the future in research leadership and policy development at the Norwegian Research Council, hosted by NIFU/AFINO and including among others Riel Miller (UNESCO).
We recounted our experiences using the future and promoting Futures Literacy in the context of sustainable urban development in the Laboratory for sustainable and democratic futures (LabSDF) in Åsane, receiving plaudits from many of the attendees for making the sometimes abstract notion of Futures Literacy graspable and concrete.
06.11.2021 Research workshop: Inspiration and collaboration for futures of Åsane
Together with independent researchers and Bergen municipality, Fremtenkt hosted a day-long seminar and workshop on the various ways in which government, private actors and inhabitants can work together to shape the future of Åsane.
Fremtenkt’s work was described as groundbreaking, and the researchers mapped out three areas of particular concern to participating inhabitants:
Community building, exploratory actions to prefigure possible futures, plant trees and flowers to start the greening of Åsane now, and establishing a local political council with broad representation that can promote the interests of the inhabitants of Åsane in the Bergen city council.
30.09.2021 Futures of Åsane 4: Intercultural Meeting Places
Åsane is a diverse district. What can we learn from each other, and from other cities and countries, in the development of Åsane? We want to hear from you: What do you want for the future of Åsane?
Fremtenkt and Arna and Åsane office of cultural affairs has the pleasure of inviting you to the event Futures of Åsane 4: Intercultural Meeting Places.
Time: Thursday September 30th from 17:00-20:00. Place: Multisal, Åsane kulturhus. Participation is free of charge.
Great changes are afoot in Åsane. Bergen municipality is working on a Strategic planning program for the central part of Åsane. Planning for Bybanen light rail is underway, and so are new plans for more cycle and footpaths, parks and a renewal of the urban centre of Åsane. The new Åsane kulturhus is ready to be filled with concerts, courses and other events.
To create an inclusive and sustainable district with a diverse cultural life, we need input from a wide range of citizens with different experiences and desires. What can Åsane learn from its diverse inhabitants? Whether you have lived, travelled or worked abroad; recently moved to Åsane or lived here all your life: we want to hear from you.
Join us in an open and welcoming workshop to discuss the future of Åsane with other engaged inhabitants and representatives from Bergen municipality!
Everyone is welcome, and you can take part in the entire meeting or only a part of it. Participation is free of charge, and there will be food and drinks served during the workshop.
Working language is Norwegian and English, but there is also an option to have an interpreter present. If you would like an interpreter to be present, please indicate which language you want the interpreter to speak in the sign up form.
Bergen kommune and Fremtenkt invited participants to a digital Futures Workshop on the topic of mobility Tuesday 8 June.
This workshop was the third in the series of workshops on the Futures of Åsane. We asked: Can we make more room for parks, canals and people in the central part of Åsane, while also making it easier to pick your children up from kindergarten, shop for groceries after work, or attend a sports match?
Participants worked in groups answering the following questions:
Praise: What works in the way we move about Åsane today?
Critique 1: What does not work in the way we move about Åsane today?
Critique 2: What do you fear will happen in terms of mobility moving forward?
Utopia 1 + 2: If you get to decide, what are the futures of Åsane like: Where and by what means do we travel?
10.05.2021 Futures Workshop on the area around Solheimsvatnet
On 10 May 2021, Bergen kommune and Fremtenkt hosted an online Futures Workshop on the topic of Solheimsvatnet and the surrounding area.
Solheimsvatnet is going to be a central element in the northern part of the future Mindebyen. The area is to be developed for the benefit of the general public, offering opportunities for both activity and relaxation. At the same time, the natural elements that are present in the area today are to be safeguarded, and the biological diversity strengthened.
To ensure a good outcome in the development of the area, Bergen kommune wants to engage inhabitants in open dialog. Together with Fremtenkt, the municipal planning office therefore invited anyone interested to participate in an online Futures Workshop on the topic of Solheimsvatnet.
Workshop participants worked in groups to answer the following three questions:
Praise: What is good about the area around Solheimsvatnet as it is today? What must be safeguarded and strengthened?
Critique: What does not work in the area today? What do you fear most in the development of the area?
Utopia: What are your dreams for the area? What does Solheimsvatnet look like when all the work has been completed, if you get to decide?
Finally, we asked:
Implementation: What can we—individually, in groups, and in collaboration with Bergen kommune—do to bring present reality closer to what we have imagined?
In reply to this, the groups came up with a number of specific activities and measures that can be implemented in the coming months.
15.03.2021 Futures of Åsane 2
March 15 4pm-7pm, Fremtenkt hosted the second online Futures Workshop on the futures of Åsane, in collaboration with Plan- og bygningsetaten and Arna og Åsane kulturkontor.
The first workshop generated a number of ideas and suggestions (read more about this below), and we were looking forward to following up with a new workshop. We continued to work on the results of the first workshop, while also welcoming some new participants to help envision and build alternative futures for the centre of Åsane.
The agenda was as follows:
Continue working on (new and old) utopian sketches, connecting them to the local geography: the C-plot, Åsanehallen and rivers, lakes and green areas.
From utopia to implementation: How can we, together, get from where we are today to something like our utopias? What can each of us do on our own, and what can we do together?
"Test sites": How can we test our utopias, in practice, already in 2021? What projects can we start to show all the inhabitants of Åsane the possible futures of our city?
The workshop is now over, and we will be publishing some of the results in the near future. In the meantime, you can read more about it here.
Fremtenkt Contributes to UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit 2020
On Desember 8-9, Fremtenkt participated in the UNESCO Futures Literacy Summit as part of the Norwegian delegation, together with NIFU, The Research Council of Norway, and University of Stavanger.
Fremtenkt presented our Laboratory for sustainable and democratic futures as an example of Futures Literacy in the context of citizen-municipal collaboration and co-creation in the sustainable urban development of Åsane, a suburb of Bergen, on the West Coast of Norway.
In collaboration with Memoar and Last Chapter/Siste kapittel, Fremtenkt have made a SDG Christmas calendar: each of the four Sundays in Advent, we will be publishing a video at Sistekapittel.no that connects one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to oral histories collected by Memoar. Through these videos, we want to provide an insight into the recent history of sustainable development in Norway, seen from the perspective of the individual, as well as invite you to reflect on the meaning and importance of sustainability in everyday life.
Videos are in Norwegian
Online Futures Workshop on Ageing-Friendly Communities
In collaboration with Last Chapter/Siste kapittel, Fremtenkt arranged an online Futures Workshop on Ageing-Friendly Societies on November 25, 2020. Participants from Norway, Great Britain, Canada and Israel, with backgrounds in academia, healthcare, and health policy work, came together to critique everything that is wrong about the way we treat, imagine, experience, think or talk about ageing today; dream up utopian visions for the futures of ageing-friendly communities, and make plans for how they—singly and collectively—could work to bring present reality closer to the imagined futures.
A second workshop in the series is planned for February 16, 2021. If you are interested in participating, do not hesitate to get in touch at email@example.com.
Online Futures Workshop on Sustainable Urban Development in Åsane
On November 20, Fremtenkt organised the first "experiment" within the Laboratory for sustainable and democratic futures: an online Futures Workshop dealing with the development of the centre of Åsane, a suburb of Bergen on the West coast of Norway.
The workshop—inspired by the method originally developed by Robert Jungk and Norbert Müllert—brought together about 20 participants, including engaged inhabitants, representatives from the municipal planning office, and the police.
Over the course of three hours, participants first discussed and voted on their favourite aspects of Åsane as it is today, then the worst aspects of the urban centre of the suburb, and finally set about brainstorming and sketching out their "preferred futures" for Åsane in the form of visions for the urban centre they would like it to be—if they could decide.