Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design is thrilled to announce that Associate Professor Stuart Candy and alumna Ceda Verbakel (MA '19) just recieved the Speculative Design Award from the Core77 Design Awards 2022. Their project, "Imagination is a Commons," examined how to use experiential futures to bring a conversation about long-range alternative pathways for global development to life for the U.N. Development Programme, who was the client for this project.
The Speculative Design Award covers projects, whether physically or digitally produced, designed for the purpose of cultural commentary, intervention, or exploration, or created as speculative design for a client or educational institution.
From Candy & Verbakel via Core77:
In 2021 the United Nations Development Programme launched its annual innovation event, under the banner "Development and Its Futures", with a far-reaching conversation about how the global landscape of development could look decades from now. This is huge, significant, and inherently hard to imagine territory. It touches on the fate and fitness of some of our most entrenched and far-reaching institutions: the corporation as a means of organizing economic activity, the role of future generations and other species in making decisions, and even assumptions on which the U.N. itself is built, such as the nation-state as a basis for governing the planet. Our remit from UNDP, to bring vitality and specificity to this sprawling and potentially quite abstract topic through design and futures, was further complicated by the fact that, due to the pandemic, the whole event was to take place online. We created and carried out an experiential futures process that involved interviewing the opening panel members one on one in advance, designing a special artifact from the future for each, inspired by the conversation with them, and then shipping it so that it would physically arrive at their home address the week before the event. No one knew what anyone else had received until the panel started, so they introduced themselves and their ideas about the landscape of development futures to each other, as well as to an audience of hundreds in the U.N. system all over the world, through the portal of this bespoke fragment of a preferred future: a gift simultaneously to them personally, and to the commons of imagination.