One day in the future

In week 3 of the Future Views national conversation we asked you to imagine being a young person in 2026, and to describe a perfect day of meaningful creative activity. We then asked what one thing in this future is likely to have the biggest impact on young people’s creativity and access to culture. Your responses are really helpful in visioning a positive future that is rich with culture and creativity.

This is a vision of maker culture:

Technology wakes me, guides me, connects me and finally sends me to sleep. I know my parents had to get up to go to work, but there are few jobs in 2026: everyone’s freelance and most people do many things. The work we do tends to be creative: even our national manufacturing industries are small-scale and artisan now. And there’s a massive repair culture, because our isolation from the EU means goods imported are very expensive. In a typical day, I’ll handle messages from home in the morning, maybe pick up a contract for writing, photography or film work (which can be anywhere in the world. Trade tariffs don’t apply to blockchain currency), drop in at the coworking space I’m a member of, or – if it’s my shift – spend a few hours working in the coffeeshop in the old museum building I own with my friends. Or I might have a shift in the workshop in one of the old out-of-town shop warehouses. I’m involved with repairing and hacking, and we have special workshops for everything from old toasters, to bicycles, to homemade wifi networks. The coffeeshop has an exhibition space: there are gigs there in the evening. And next door to the workshop, an old supermarket is owned by a circus collective. Culture isn’t artificially separated any more, but woven into the fabric of everyday life.

The biggest impact factors in this scenario:

I’d like to say the increase in computing power set against the continuing drop in hardware price is important: but perhaps being less optimistic, the rising cost of living versus declining incomes caused by Leave voters.

Another maker scenario, but this one in a natural environment:

I go to the community woods. I work with my neighbours, townsfolk and people from the surrounding community. We spend the day managing the wood, so that it can supply us with fuel and sustenance. We cook and eat and play music together. We share and swap our skills throughout the day across ages. While skills are respected and admired, the older folk do not assume they have the answers to how these skills might be applied, and what they might be used for. The only authorities are those of nature and the spirit of the place. Edward Carpenter is an inspiration.

The biggest impact factor in this scenario:

The demise of formal education.

A similar scenario, simply expressed:

I am with friends and family, outside, eating, playing, and creating a community space together. We walk from our houses, or share transport, to come together in that shared community space where we learn from the skills and knowledge that we each bring, along with invited ‘experts’ in the fields of art, ecology, horticulture etc.

The biggest impact factor here is a hopeful one:

That children and young people are recognised as being inherently creative and capable from birth, young people that we can learn from as well as support to learn, through creative interaction with the world of which they/we are a part.

Seeking experiences and going back to being hands-on: 

I feel like I should describe this day as being different from usual. Perhaps I’ve been given the day off to volunteer for a cause or someone has bought me a creative ‘red letter day’ experience where I’ll learn some new skills. It will feel like a luxury and I’ll make the most of the time, which will make me value it more. I’ll be spending the day with a group of people, we’ve all signed up for the experience and while there will be some tasks and rules set these are just to give us ‘permission’ to do something different and boundaries to push. The activity I do will be branded as ‘heritage’ skills – learning how to do something analogue with my own hands rather than the easy quick way using digital tools. Some of the group won’t get it at first, but when we all share what we’ve created people will admit they feel quite proud.

Commodity culture is the biggest impact factor here:

An addiction to money – not realising that you can earn a living in the sector, perhaps even people trying to turn creative and cultural opportunities into a commodity rather than a right.

A mixed set of activities, knowing what’s right for you to feel well:

Get up. Do various sorts of movement / dance / martial arts training. Go to a meaningfully creative job or study. Have a break and play a musical instrument. Come home, light a fire. Do some sort of computer tech thing creatively that i’ve never hear of. Paint or make a spoon out of wood. Go to bed.

Self-awareness is the biggest impact factor:

Their relationship to themselves

Blurred boundaries and contagious creativity:

A young person living in 2026 may wake up somewhere and end the day somewhere else. I imagine a more fluid society where creative activity is focused in reorganising and interpreting what is already there. School and works will blend, meaning that work and life will become long term learning processes (and not that schools become factories). Meaningful creative activity means that the pleasure of the moment and the tangible result of this activity will produce effects and have an impact on the lives of others. Creativity will be contagious like drugs, and centralised power won’t like this: creativity is a form of intellectual freedom, it can burst anytime and trigger transformational processes that change the world.

Agency is the biggest impact factor:

The ability of choosing, empowering their curiosity and sense of discovery. On the other hand you need access to creative communities, space and inspirational information to flourish.

This scenario involves virtual access to the master: 

“Today I built a small table, in the style classical Japanese woodworkers. No glue, nails or screws. With the help of my magicleap glasses, I was guided by the famous Hiroshi Sakaguchi. Well it was an AI, but working with him was amazing!”

Inequality of access is the biggest impact factor:

Wealth asymmetry will increase. So in a such a world, there has to be means of providing the knowledge, tools and spaces to foster creativity. All of this requires funding. Despite my technological slant, I firmly believe the support of the arts must continue and increase. I fear that our governments and economics will deprive our children if we are not careful.

Repurposing defunct technology and conservation:

Wake up and read, eat breakfast with family, check in with friends. Volunteer at the network of local biodynamic heritage seed bank for an hour. Study ‘Dance in the public realm’ an international open source program that reimagines use of now defunct CCTV cameras as a platform for art and education through sharing and live feeds.

Again, agency is a big impact factor:

Ability and confidence to reimagine their own creative path

Lots of emotion in this imagined vision of the future, struggling to overcome egoism:

I start my day organising myself on my communications and creative devices. I do this mainly with my voice, although sensors turn on an off devices, equipment and screens as I flick my hand in the air. The 3D concept models of the product we have been working on are ready to share, so I sign into the Hive where we share our latest ideas building on from when we last met. Hive Suggest, suggests Axari to lead today. Well I suppose her knowledge of product integration makes her the obvious choice, although I did think my experience would have suggested me. Moving from individual and ego-leadership and ex-collaboration has taken time but gradually the emotional bonus of mutual success and ‘more than the sum’ outcomes has helped dissolve the initial fear of losing control and competitive individual achievement. Late afternoon we all meet up in a share space and can talk about the product. I have brought some examples of my hand-make prototypes to suggest for the packaging and presentation. These are appreciated and we finish the session by engaging in some lateral extensions before going out to eat and play. We are lucky that we live in one of the new ‘Progress’ areas of Manchester. Sometimes when I meet others who haven’t had the benefit of Progress and still work on their own, on outdated learning methods with teachers who cling to the old ways, I wonder how they will survive.

The biggest impact factor is proactive educational reform:

The potential for new forms of education environment. The end of ‘teaching’ and the development of learning together within a much less rigid learning environment. A new way of assessing skills and knowledge and an analysis of what we mean by these terms. A less dogmatic and narrow criteria for judging success and less emphasis on individual success and more an assessment of contribution but linked to personal attribute and character or personality.

Connection to past, present and other cultures:

Teleport or other means of experiencing another culture and speaking in another language. Use digital tools to enable and interact. Creative play online and collaboration on a project or idea through sharing platforms. Inspired by images and talking heads from the past and present. Access to a range of knowledge specialists and artists online.

Young people are the key for this scenario:

Accessibility and co-creation of this culture by and for young people. Harnessing and valuing their talents. Culture is interactive and experiential.

Still enjoying the real world and real things, but enhanced by tech:

Begin by drawing the sunset, right in the outskirts of London. Or possible Greenwich. Somewhere picturesque and hilly. Return to somewhere where I can use some super cool new technology (or current, but now more widely available technology) – e.g. 3D print my drawing into a model, scan in my landscape drawing to automatically generate a 360 / 3D image to be shared across the internet. Attend the theatre. Live, not digital. Not everything needs to be so futuristic. Read lots. Read real books. Then maybe a few digital ones.

But money is the main impact factor:

Money. My generation has up to £40,000 debt when they leave university. Salaries are low. Housing is impossible. I don’t have the money to do half as much as I’d like to – even at 23. I fear for the future creative generation.

A peer-inspired scenario, aided by social media:

Was inspired by something seen on social media, recommended by a friend, which was the trigger to try a new experience. The initial interest was due to the recommendation, the desire to share / talk about the thing that everyone else is sharing / talking about. It turned out to be a meaningful creative activity by adding up to more than that once involved. Something that triggered my imagination, got me making/ doing something in the real world and where the output is creative for its own sake and/ or inputted into something larger, something connected to a wider community.

The key impact factor here is that this option is accessible and visible. 

Finally, another wish for places of making:

I would love to have a day out where I can stumble into a free to use and free access workshop that is completely filled with the best technologies for me to play and tinker with.

The biggest impact factor here is to do with how we might plan places:

The way a city is envisioned and laid out. Urban planning in my opinion will have the biggest impact on anyone’s ability to access creativity. What can I access and discover in the city. That is the ability to explore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s