Amidst chaos, order (or some semblance of a close relative) emerges. What were discarded communal water bottles become a prop to discuss the worth and role of waste; meandering conversation about food deserts, storing the human consciousness in cloud-based servers, deadly fungi, and wealth inequality transforms into a performance of consciousness-shifting for empathy and pain management; and a series of politics-inflected boardgames challenge socio-cultural binarism. 

Speculative Worlds Summer Lab  convened over two days in June to create and perform these divergent branches of the speculative multiverse. In this participatory action lab, researchers and artists from across London collaboratively build channels and pathways to disrupt encumbrances and obstacles, demonstrating speculative alternatives with which to navigate the perpetual crises we find ourselves mired in.
“There were people from different backgrounds including geography, architecture, art, physics, performance, climate research, etc. Working in a multi-disciplinary group enabled us to learn from each other’s skills and experience.”

“ The two-day lab was an utter joy to take part in. Speculative Worlds brought together a range of thinkers, researchers, and artists from different backgrounds and areas of expertise. With each new participant came an opportunity to learn something new, to think otherwise, to collaborate, to become a member of a research collective/community, to become a receptor for further speculation.”
Creating tools for imagined navigations, this lab allows researchers the space to speculate and collaborate to develop research skills and use alternative methods to generate new questions, take risks, and experiment.

We concoct a new set of productivity and decision-making tools to mismanage the mismanagement with illuminating life skills, pernickety policies, side-stepping strategies and pedantic practices. Emerging from this lab, we use these tools to demonstrate how speculating and re-imagining take on significance and impact the way we move forward in the present – whether it is our design research practice, our academic research and pedagogical practice or our professional practice. 

“Speculative Worlds blew right past all my scepticisms and hesitations. The workshop and its organizers’ spectacular embrace of creativity and the absurd made the experience incredibly authentic, freeing, and safe. I learnt so much from the excellent and diverse group that the workshop attracted.”Speculative Worlds Summer Lab 2023, held at UCL East included practitioner perspectives from artists and researchers Richard Sobey and Richard Müller as well as keynote provocation by Dr Amy Butt from the University of Reading. Researchers from across London. Participants ranged from undergraduate to early career and independent researchers. The event included a communal dinner at Four Quarters East.

May 29 2024 - Walking Workshop: Exploring Walking Practice for Researchers
June 19 & 20 2024 -  Annual Summer Lab