Future Experiences: Sustainable Development and the Global South

Ross, K., Perry, M. , Keith, N. , Ajayi, S., Baird, B., Barrett, B. , Basra, S., Bell, I., Boyce, A. , Brinkmann, K., Brown, R., Burnside, N. , Chechia, V., Chisholm, E., Conroy, J. , Currie, A., Duclos, V., Ehret, C., Fallow, L., Ferdous, R. , Ferguson, C., Harper, A., Hush, G., Judge, J., Kadoma, A., Karakasis, P., Kawecka, M., Keenan, C., Kelly, J., Khalilian, K., Kupiainen, R., LeGrand, P., Macdonald, H., Mcarthur, E., McCaffrey, R., Mcghie, K., Mckenzie, R., O'Neill, D., O'Rourke, J., Paul, S., Piatek, N., Prendergast, E., Proudfoot, B., Pullanikkatil, D., Robertson, E., Robinson, J. , Roth, C., Sharp, J., Sleight, R., Stevens-Rosa, P., Stewart, S., Strazdaite, I., Stricevic, M., Vidal-Lourenco, J., Vincent, A., Wills, N., Yang, S. and Zambonini, H. (2020) Future Experiences: Sustainable Development and the Global South. [Data Collection]

Collection description

The Sustainable Development and the Global South project was jointly conceived by the Innovation School at Glasgow School of Art in partnership with the Sustainable Futures in Africa Network (SFA), and the University of Glasgow.

Graduating final year BDes Product Design students from the Innovation School were presented with a challenge-based project to produce a vision of the future based on current trends that relate to Sustainable Development work and the Global South. This project involved working closely with researchers, academics and professionals specialising in human geography, education, health, environment, engineering, cultural practice and community engagement who are part of the Sustainable Futures in Africa Network which includes a Scottish hub, led from the University of Glasgow. Included in the network was a representative from an NGO that builds schools in Malawi, an entrepreneur who runs an ethical clothing company that partners with producers in the Global South, a senior governance officer from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), a research network administrator, and international graduate students from Africa based at Scottish institutions. In addition to the SFA, external experts from design studio AndThen and GOODD design consultancy were engaged.

The objective of this project was to investigate, in both analytical and speculative ways, future forms and functions of Sustainable Development work in relation to the Global South in ten years from now, to develop future scenarios and design the artefacts, services and the experiences associated with these future visions. On completion of the project and learning experience it was intended that the students would be able to recognise and articulate the impact and sustainability of their design propositions, consider the life-cycle of their proposals and the values these might create for the intended users, communities and contexts.

The project was completed in January 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic was just beginning its spread around the world. This unprecedented catastrophe reinforced the importance of supporting those most in need – the citizens of developing regions in the Global South. In April 2020, the heads of all the UN’s major agencies issued an open letter warning of the risks the virus posed to the world’s most vulnerable countries. It called on wealthier nations to increase funding and help to tackle issues such as the cessation of aid as a result of cancelled flights and disrupted supply routes. These and many other concerns highlighted during the crisis are among the topics explored in this project, which feels even more relevant and urgent than when it was initiated in the summer of 2019.
One of the most significant societal shifts currently taking place within the field of sustainable development work is its transformation from being understood as a process of growth or, at its most benign, poverty alleviation, to one of community empowerment and civic participation. The public’s role is developing beyond once-passive community members and recipients of aid, into stakeholders valued for their local knowledge, lived experiences, participation in development projects, and contribution towards policy-making and decision-making. This new dynamic is changing the traditional North-South relationship and holds the potential to challenge the geopolitical hegemony of International Development. The impetus for this shift is a decolonial, collaborative approach to development, research and practice; increased local empowerment, and sustainable solutions to problems that are co-created in context with those affected by and affecting the issue in question.

This project asked students to consider what happens in this global landscape ten years from now where Sustainable Development has evolved to the extent that new forms of work and communities of practice transform how people engage, learn and interact with each other, with stakeholders and with the global community around them. The brief gave students the opportunity to explore the underlying complexities regarding sustainable futures, the post-colonial dynamic between ‘norths’ and ‘souths’, post-capitalism and human agency, to envision a future world context, develop it as an experiential exhibit, and produce the designed products, services and experiences for the people who might live and work within it.

The project was divided into two sections: The first was a collaborative stage where groups of students were assigned a specific domain to collectively research one aspect of the project challenge, these domains included; Health, Energy, Mobility, Economies, Education, Societal Structures and Environment. Each of these domains were examined through the lenses of Social, Technological, Economic, Ethical, Educational, Values, Political, Legal and Ecological (STEEEVPLE) and were tailored in use, as appropriate per domain. The groups focused on researching and exploring their specific domain and gathering as much information and understanding while working with the external experts to further their knowledge. This group stage culminated in a series of Future World exhibits which tangibly manifest the cohort’s collective knowledge and collaborative understanding of what the future could look like in 10 years from now, after exploring the possible consequences of current actions.

The second stage saw students explore their individual response to the Future World that had been created in the first stage. Each student developed their own response to the research by iteratively creating a design outcome that was appropriate to the subject matter. This culminated in each student producing a designed product, service or system and a visual communication of the future experience which they had created.

A visual summary of the journey and stages (Project Journey Map) is included within the repository and outlines the collaborative process of designing and the innovative nature of the project’s pedagogical model.

The project aims to reveal and address the emerging possibilities collaboratively created by Sustainable Development professionals and designers interacting and learning from each other, to present preferable futures which reveal socio-ecological innovations in development work with the Global South in the near future.

The deposited materials are arranged as follows:
Readme files - two readme files relate to stage one and stage two of the project as outlined above.
Project Journey Map - gives a visual overview of the pedagogical structure and timeline of the project.
Data folders - the data folders for stage one of the project are named by the domains through which each group explored possible futures. The data folders for stage two of the project are named for the individual students who conducted the work.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Global South, Health, Mobility, Economies, Environment, Societal Stuctures, Energy, Education, Social, Technological, Economic, Ethical, Educational, Values, Political, Legal, Ecological, Ethnography, Research, Collaborative, Future, Experience Design, Future Forecasting, Human Centred Design, Co-creation, Co-design, Futures Thinking, Design Innovation, Design Education, Collaborative Pedagogy, Research Impact, Future of Work, Collaborative Creativity
College / School: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2020 22:39
URI: http://researchdata.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1019

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Ross, K., Perry, M. , Keith, N. , Ajayi, S., Baird, B., Barrett, B. , Basra, S., Bell, I., Boyce, A. , Brinkmann, K., Brown, R., Burnside, N. , Chechia, V., Chisholm, E., Conroy, J. , Currie, A., Duclos, V., Ehret, C., Fallow, L., Ferdous, R. , Ferguson, C., Harper, A., Hush, G., Judge, J., Kadoma, A., Karakasis, P., Kawecka, M., Keenan, C., Kelly, J., Khalilian, K., Kupiainen, R., LeGrand, P., Macdonald, H., Mcarthur, E., McCaffrey, R., Mcghie, K., Mckenzie, R., O'Neill, D., O'Rourke, J., Paul, S., Piatek, N., Prendergast, E., Proudfoot, B., Pullanikkatil, D., Robertson, E., Robinson, J. , Roth, C., Sharp, J., Sleight, R., Stevens-Rosa, P., Stewart, S., Strazdaite, I., Stricevic, M., Vidal-Lourenco, J., Vincent, A., Wills, N., Yang, S. and Zambonini, H. (2020); Future Experiences: Sustainable Development and the Global South

University of Glasgow

DOI: 10.5525/gla.researchdata.1019

Retrieved: 2020-08-09

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