Youth agency and designing the future
The future can look like very uncertain. It may be difficult to imagine desirable futures, but this skill can be learned.
According to Greta Thunberg, the generation in power has stolen the future from their children. “Why study for the future when it may not even exist,” asks the school strike and climate movement launched by Thunberg.
We want to think there is a reason to study. Though we agree with Greta's concerns about climate change and that the lack of meaning is increasing, we want to promote youth agency in shaping their education and futures.
In this dialogue session we want to encourage young people to imagine differently, to reimagine various desirable futures and to support them in their actions. We wish to provide schools and teachers with pedagogy that gives space to think.
This is for teachers and educators to get inspired and to receive new perspectives to encourage youth agency and planetary design. We would be happy to see high school students also joining the session, as this is ultimately for them.
Dr Antti Rajala, University of Helsinki, Head of research group on Pedagogy of Concrete Utopia. The background of research project launched is to resist the feeling of not having alternatives - since futures can be created. Educational scholars have borrowed the concept of concrete utopia from social science studies that emphasize that imagining the future must be tied to the critical, pragmatic analyses of the present. The concept of utopia emphasizes the negotiation of goals. Utopia, then, does not refer to locked-in goals, but is intended to learn ways to strive for the better. Antti Rajala's research is particularly on agency, empathy and creation of future within the sphere of education and learning.
Dr Rael Futerman is co-founder and Chief Learning Officer at Cartedo, an educational technology organisation in South Africa focused on critical soft-skills development through challenge-based, experiential learning journeys. With a background in design, innovation and education he has held several academic positions at institutions around the world. Most recently as a founding Programme Manager at the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking at the University of Cape Town (d-school). He has developed a number of university and executive education programmes aimed at future-proofing tomorrow’s workforce and upskilling todays’. He recently concluded the COVID-19 Youth Innovation challenge in partnership with UNICEF. Currently he is in the process of launching another global challenge, this time focussed on equipping migrant youth/youth on the move with tools to imagine a purposeful future and build toward it - also in partnership with UNICEF.
Minna Koskelo, founder and futures designer at 11Helsinki . Minna is a pioneer of futures design. She is the founder and leader of the Futures Finland association which promotes and develops foresight in Finland, and additionally a co-founder of Futures Day. Her contribution has led to an EU-level trademark establishment called Futures Fit®. She helps organizations and people learn about and co-design desired futures by combining the fields of futures thinking and service design. Minna has over 15 years of experience. Additionally Minna is studying to become a professional teacher. One of main concerns for Minna is to increase futures awareness and strengthen agency in co-designing and co-creating desired futures.
The event is facilitated by Ilona Taimela, an educational consultant especially on planetary design and Phenomenon-based learning. She is an advocate of youth participation and building a sustainable future. She has worked previously for the City of Helsinki and supported teachers to implement phenomenon-based learning, student participation and carbon neutrality in education. The upbringing for active citizenship is at the heart of the Finnish curriculum. The holistic education at the centre of Phenomenon-based learning starts from the fact that learning is as long as it is broad: not only lifelong but also extends to all areas of human life. Ilona is also a researcher in the research group on Pedagogy for Concrete Utopia.
Time: 10:00 - 11:30
Event type: Dialogue
Target group: Basic Education, Upper secondary school, Vocational, Adult students, Teachers, Leaders, International attendees, Open event, Educational entrepreneurs.
Tool for online-event: teams
Contact person: Ilona Taimela
Phone number: +358503780847