Bristol Benjamin Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor Stuart Candy, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico

Stuart CandyFrom Experiential Futures to Social Foresight‌‌

15 May - 15 June 2024


Stuart Candy is a futures practitioner, educator, and artist dedicated to the development of social foresight; humanity’s collective capacity for thinking and feeling into times to come.

Stuart is known as a leading figure in the rise of experiential futures over the past two decades, helping to seed, spread, and grow practices now variously labelled speculative design, design fiction, design futures, and discursive design. Among his contributions are the first doctoral dissertation on foresight and design’s intersections, The Futures of Everyday Life; formative work with approaches including guerrilla art, alternate reality games, live action roleplaying, and immersive theatre; the edited collection Design and Futures; and award-winning tools for imagination and worldbuilding like The Thing From The Future and The Futures Bazaar.

His consulting, speaking and advisory experience spans governments and organisations from Apple, Arup, Niantic, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to the Smithsonian, the BBC, the New York Times, and the United Nations.

Originally from Australia, he holds degrees in law and the history and philosophy of science from the University of Melbourne, and a MA and Ph.D. in political science and futures studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he studied with Professor Jim Dator.

Stuart is now based between Los Angeles, where he is Director of Situation Lab and an Advisor at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Mexico City, where he is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Critical Futures in the School of Architecture, Art and Design at Tecnológico de Monterrey. He is also Chair of the Center for PostNatural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a museum dedicated to documenting human influences on evolutionary processes.

Stuart’s previous academic appointments include California College of the Arts, Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Southern California, and the inaugural professorship in Social Foresight at Parsons School of Design in New York. He has been an Artist in Residence at Gray Area (San Francisco), the Museum of Tomorrow (Rio de Janeiro), and Immersive Denver (Colorado), and a Fellow of the East-West Center (Hawaii), INK (India), World Futures Studies Federation, World Economic Forum, and The Long Now Foundation.

Project Summary

Experiential futures (XF) practices use design, media and the arts to ground ideas about futures in everyday life. So instead of just describing or modelling possible, probable, and preferable futures, using the intellectual and scholarly approaches traditionally best represented in academia, we can also try to experience and investigate times to come using other ways of knowing; embodied, narrative, participatory, emotional, and so on.

Hosted by Prof Helen Manchester, Prof Keri Facer, and Dr Paul Clarke, this visit is designed as a hybrid of professorship and artist residency. Working with Bristol’s ESRC Centre for Sociodigital Futures (CenSoF) and the Pervasive Media Studio, Prof Candy will offer a series of opportunities to put experiential futures practices into dialogue with the concerns, interests, and skill sets of stakeholders from across the University and beyond.

A key piece of the proposed programme is a live, face to face intensive (working title: Immersive Futures Jam / IFjam), a making process and public activation that revolves around imagining, physically staging, and having conversations about how life in Bristol could look decades or generations from now.

An arts-enabled, place-based process of creative inquiry that Professor Candy has created and interated over the years with participant groups in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Singapore, this represents its debut in the UK.

Other planned engagements include:

Public Seminar

Co-hosted by CenSoF and Pervasive Media Studio, in this seminar for the general public and interested parties from across University of Bristol, Professor Candy will share lessons from experiential futures / speculative design and research practice over the past two decades.

Masterclass / Workshop

This session will provide an advanced dive into Experiential Futures theory and practice for CenSoF members and partners.

Advisory Sessions

Professor Candy will be available for artists, students, futures / foresight researchers and those working on related projects from across the University to arrange one-on-one or small group conversations.

Details of Professor Candy's lectures and seminars will be listed on our Events page in due course. You can also contact Professor Candy's hosts for further information.