Imagining Tomorrow 2018: Utrecht, Netherlands

January 7–20, 2018

Banner Study Trip Utrecht

NOTE: Only students in SAIC's First-Year Scholars Program may register for this class.

Imagining Tomorrow 2018 is a two-week international seminar in which students from the Netherlands, Germany and the USA will collaborate to address questions about future design thinking and work with clients from international public and private organizations to propose interdisciplinary solutions. This seminar will be hosted by Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (HKU University of the Arts Utrecht) located in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

With a population of more than 334,000, Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. Utrecht is located in the very heart of the Netherlands. The canals, historical buildings, old churches, monumental skyscrapers and the Dom Tower set the mood for the city. Utrecht has one of the highest bicycle densities in the Netherlands. Because of its many universities and degree programs the city is young, vibrant and known for it rich cultural programming.

"New practices, new solutions." With Imagining Tomorrow, we are taking up these new practices with the theme "social design by co-creation". Multidisciplinary teams will work together over this intensely condensed two-week period to focus on thinking about the future and role of a range of firms and organizations. Students use their creativity to expose social and commercial problems of clients in an original and visionary way. But, the results of Imagining Tomorrow will be accomplished together: students of various participating international schools, society and business.

Students will delve into questions of sustainability, well-being, technology, creative industries, science, mobility, transportation, urban space, education and art. These questions will be directed by the clients; the actual local organizations participating in this project. Students will look for answers and trace possible futures through developing their own vision in response. The way in which students visualize is not set by any rules. This vision can be expressed in many forms—performance, film, animation, installation, objects—as long as the team's vision is clearly articulated.

In two weeks, a total of 12 teams will research and visualize the future dream of their client. The teams will work 3 to 4 days within the organization of the client in order to facilitate co-creation and collaboration. The remaining days they can work at the studios at the HKU in Utrecht. Various field trips to different places outside of Utrecht, like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven will be organized for further research and exploration.

A day before the finale, the results of the teams will be presented to the client and their colleagues at their offices. The last day of Imagining Tomorrow, the finale, consists of an exhibition with the results of the 12 teams, presented to the clients, lecturers, students and public.

Participating schools:

HKU, Utrecht, Netherlands; SAIC, Chicago, USA; Karlshochschule International University, Karlsruhe, Germany; Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland

Credits: 3 credits Contemporary Practices, Research Studio II

Kirsten Leenaars, Contemporary Practices
Laura Davis, Contemporary Practices

Online registration begins: October 11, 2017

Deposit due at registration: $525

From last study trip's course evaluations:

  • It was a very lovely experience. I found it to be a good challenge to work outside of my area of comfort. The project also allowed us to interact with businesses and students, which I felt was enjoyable.
  • It was intense but I never felt overwhelmed.
  • Kirsten is a super knowledgeable and helpful resource.
  • Laura is very nurturing, encouraging, and fun.
  • Worked to make sure everyone's group worked well and hear how the students felt.
  • Helped me understand an alternative way of thinking and working that I have never been exposed to before—got valuable critique on what I can work on and get better at.