The celebration of Near Future Teaching, and launch of the final report, happened on the evening of 26th March.

The event brought together a really diverse grouping of students, staff and friends from across and beyond the university. The room itself was full of enthusiastic and encouraging discussion, which our colleague James Lamb was kind enough to document through a sound recording.

The overall purpose of the night was to present the process and the outcome from the last two years, so as well as eating, drinking and chatting, we had a series of short talks outlining different parts of our work.

Image by Anne-Marie Scott

Sian Bayne, the project lead described the background to the project and its overarching aim not to predict or respond to versions of the future determined by others, but rather to design our own future as a university, based on our own shared values.

Michael Gallagher, project research associate, spoke briefly on how he reconciled his work in developing nations where education is often a low-resource, low-technology, yet highly intricate affair with the models being advanced in the project. He emphasised the value of diversity in widening participation efforts, and how that value is found throughout the project.

Diva Mukherji, the Vice-President for Education for the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) spoke next on the values underpinning the project, synthesised from data gathered and generated over the period of the project.

Diva from EUSA
Image from Chris Speed

Jennifer Williams, the Near Future Teaching core team member, project manager, and renowned poet, recited a work written during one of our project events which creative writing as a way of articulating the futures of the University. “What you will teach is, what you believe…”.

Jennifer Williams from NFT
Photo from Chris Speed

Santini Basra our partner and colleague from Andthen, the design-research and futures-thinking agency that has been working with us spoke next. He described the methods from the project, discussing how contemporary futures thinking can shake institutions into rethinking and exerting agency over their futures.

Image from Chris Speed

Finally, Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh then concluded the evening by officially launching the report, encouraging its uptake throughout the University, and emphasising that the values and methods emerging from the project could inform teaching at the University for generations to come. The remaining part of the evening was spent chatting around the exhibition about the project which designed by Andthen.

Peter Mathieson