New international semester course: Speculating The Future

To create a new world, you need to first imagine it

What if the rapid scientific and technological innovations of recent decades would be used to massively improve life on earth for human and non-human beings alike? Or what if humans would one day move to another planet, or inside the ocean, to escape the consequences of their behavior on the environment? How will everyday life look like in twenty, thirty or a hundred years from now?

Speculative thinking about the future of humans and non-humans establishes a common ground between the art disciplines, the technological innovation sector, policy making and critical humanities. Specifically in the creative sector, speculative design is an outgrowth of radical and conceptual design that reflects critically upon the here and now, looking further into the future. It has become increasingly popular in experimental design projects and in interdisciplinary design-led research with the rise of the various discourses since theearly 21st century: environmental crisis, financial crisis, migration crisis and so on.

Speculating the Future  - exchange program
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In the international semester programme Speculating The Future interdisciplinary students come together and use design and art to imagine, explore, experiment and to give form to bold and daring ideas about a future yet to come. The international semester programme, Speculating The Future, is offered by the Department of Graphic | Spatial Design, AKV|St Joost.

Aim of the programme

In the semester course Speculating The Future you will learn how to develop ideas for a world yet to come. Regardless of the background of your study, you will be able to give form to your ideas through speculative design research and experimentation. You will become familiar with a range of examples of speculative visions across the arts, and you will be able to position, contextualize and present your own speculative project. You will be able to work creatively and methodically both as an individual and in a team.

Content of the course

Research: in which you study different design methodologies as well as the discourse surrounding your topic of interest in the context of speculative thinking about the future, with the goal of being able to do research in a methodical way and draw relevant conclusions for your work.

Conceptualization: in which you analyze speculative concepts and narratives on their content, structure and design, so that you can use them to develop your own.

Technological experimentation: in which you test the possibilities of different future technologies, like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, so that you can analyze the possibilities they offer you to give form and to communicate speculative concepts and scenarios.


The semester programme is 20 weeks and consists of 2 blocks. You can expect a 40-hour workload per week. The first block focuses on the exploration of ideas on individual basis, whereas in the second block a common ground is established from which group projects are derived. The programme covers several themes and methods. You will have on average 20 hours of workshops, lab sessions, lectures and field trips per week. Including assignments. You will work individually and in groups. Each group operates from its own studio setting within AKV|St.Joost.

Who is it for?

The Speculating the Future course, based on design-led research, is open to students of all visual and performing arts programmes with or without experience in design-led research. It is also open to students of non-art disciplines that can benefit from speculative design, future thinking, and from shifting human mentalities and practices, including (but not limited to) environmental studies, scientific, engineering and technological innovation disciplines and disability studies. You are not expected to master technical skills before starting the programme, but you should have the courage to participate in teamwork, to cooperate with students from diverse fields and backgrounds, and to experiment with new techniques..

Apply Now

If you have decided to join our exchange programme/minor you will need to apply at Avans University - AKV|St.Joost. 
There are various application procedures:  

After you have been nominated by your home institution, you will be requested to send us your portfolio with recent work, a motivation letter describing your fields of interest, pitfalls and talents and what you would like to explore in the programme. Also we need a proposal of Learning Agreement in which you specify how many ECTS credits you need to gain. Your portfolio and motivation will be reviewed to determine whether you will be offered admission. If you are accepted you will receive a letter of acceptation, after which you are invited to officially enrol yourself through Avans University of Applied Sciences.

Deadline for application
To apply for a place as an exchange student we ask you to enrol before May 15 (nomination before May 1). If you are a student currently enrolled at a another Dutch HBO/WO Institute, you can apply before July 1 via Kies-op-Maat

More exchange programmes

The School of Fine Art and Design AKV|St.Joost offers more one-term exchange courses (30 EC) for Dutch and international students from various study backgrounds. The programmes relate to current social themes, and involve interdisciplinary collaboration, entrepreneurship, theory, research and workshops. Next to the course Speculating the Furture we also offer: 

  • Arts & Humanity 
  • Arts & Interaction 
  • Research in Immersive Storytelling (in collaboration with Avans University)


Exchange programmes

Do you want to know more about academy, the courses, programme outlines and application procedure?  

Download Syllabus