MOME University of Arts and Design is one of the leading universities in Budapest, Hungary, for product design and architecture. For some years, they offer workshops to all their students, both bachelor and master level. Dominantly, these workshops are focused on more traditional design skills, such as modelling, sketching, or connecting. Since a few years, they also offer Human Centred Design workshops, focused mainly on applying very specific tools of the process.
Roughly 3 years ago, we were invited to add a new workshop to this portfolio, work title “Designing (for) the Future”. In contrast to most of their workshops, our workshop is focused on building a systemic design mindset and boosting creative confidence, rather than mastering a specific skill or tool. During the course, students work on themes they themselves feel are important in today’s world, and that are close to their hearts. They ask themselves: what is the change I would love to see in the world around me, and how can I facilitate this to happen?
Each student chooses a theme and builds a ‘future world’ of their own subject. They use this vision of the future as a probe, enabling them to start a conversation with people around them. By doing so, they find out what matters, not only to them personally, but also to the people of Budapest. To aid them in their future struggles, they made a tool for the future. Especially given the unique skills the students of MOME typically have, results were remarkable.
To give an example; Abigél, one of the students, signalled that drastic equality should be on its way. Not ‘just’ for people, but also between humans and animals. And if we do start looking at animals in a more equal way, how will that influence our decisions? And our society? What we eat, but also how we keep animals? Would we be less inclined to pressure their rights? Abigél built a positive future world, in 2100, where animals and humans live side to side. “In the probing phase, my installation was placed in a well-known busy area in Budapest. It respresented an animal crime scene. The results were amazing. People who just stopped by for a moment, gave me such inspiring ideas.” Abigél tells us.
In the expo at the end of the workshop week, the students showcased their tool for the future. According to MOME, this way of working encourages graduates to make decisions; by talking to people early on in your design process, you quickly find out what resonates and what doesn’t.
“I find it remarkable that during such a week we have the honour of seeing these students, with a completely different perception of the world than we have, activate their voice for the future. They don’t just undergo what happens, they make an impact.” according to Jens.