Future / Erasure - Research Center for Material Culture
30 January 2018

Future / Erasure

CoHERE | 30 Jan 2018 | RCMC

A futurescaping workshop on European heritage in the year 2038, led by the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and the University of Newcastle, as part of project CoHERE.

On behalf of project CoHERE and the Research Center for Material Culture a small group of museum professionals is invited to take part in a workshop Future/Erasure - a futurescaping workshop on European heritage in 2038 that will take place at Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden, The Netherlands on January 30th, 2018.

This small group of museum professionals from different cultural institutions across Europe are led by researchers from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and Newcastle University.


CoHERE is an EU-funded research project that seeks to identify, understand and valorise European heritages, engaging with their socio-political and cultural significance and their potential for developing communitarian identities. One of the strands of this multi-partner project engages with design-oriented and creative methods to identify the (digital) futures of heritage practices and values in Europe. In this context, Future/Erasure adopts a futurescaping and scenario-based strategy to involve museum professionals in provocative and boundary-pushing debate around both issues of technological innovation and questions of values, meanings and relevance. The workshop will provide the opportunity to engage with design-led futurescaping methods, network with colleagues from other European institutions, and discuss concerns and opportunities that arise from socio-cultural and technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, in the context of museum practice.

Future / Erasure

During the workshop the 6-8 museum professionals will share their expertise to respond to a set of imaginative tasks inspired by a fictional scenario. Through the workshop’s immersive experiences, we will reflect and discuss the changing and potentially arbitrary nature of values and criteria lying behind the development of European museum collections.

Futurescaping, alongside similar approaches such as design fiction and speculative design, is rapidly gaining currency in the museum and heritage sector to facilitate innovation, and as a tool for thinking through complex issues and provoking experimentation. In this case, our aim is to gain insight into future possibilities and challenges for the very idea of European heritage(s): If we have no universal canon to distinguish what is worth remembering and preserving from what is not, how do we decide what counts as heritage and what should be kept? If Europe finds its communitarian identity only in a set of regulations, policies and treaties, how is it going to be reflected in our museum collections?

With these questions in mind, we will conduct the futurescaping experience with the goal of opening perspectives, making room for critical reflections and discussion, and sharing novel tools or processes - all of which will be packaged and ready to take home at the end of the day.


CoHERE    European Union