The Founders' Meeting

Paris, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2018
The founding moment of U+ will take the shape of a two day international encounter, in Paris, on November 30 and December 1, 2018.

Who Will Take Part?

The Founder’s Meeting will gather around 60 individuals from all over the world. These individuals will be chosen because they
  • Develop and/or research practices that mobilize the resources of the imaginary to explore alternative futures;
  • Are active parts of group networks of like-minded people, and;
  • Are likely to express interest in contributing to the foundation and work of U+.

What Will We Try to Achieve?

  1. Allow all participants to really get to know each other, by organizing moments exclusively dedicated to mutual discovery and meaningful interactions (small group meetings, social moments…);
  2. Allow participants to discover and be inspired by each other’s work – and provide a moment during the event, open to the public, so they also find out more about the initiatives and projects of the participants (exhibition, leaflets, talks, panels…);
  3. Facilitate collaborations among participants (“unconference” formats, workshops, ect.);
  4. Collectively build the founding act and priorities of U+: this will be the focus of day 2.

What Will Be the Meeting’s Outputs?

  • The core outputs will be the Plurality University’s Mission Statement, goals, values, and action priorities. A dedicated website will be ready to publish this material, as well as other outputs.
  • Supporting outputs will be the collective map of people, organizations, and works; video recordings of all participants, lists of insights and projects, shared takeaways.
  • A partnership with Usbek & Rica magazine will produce journalistic articles, published in French and English under a Creative Commons license.

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The program

Before the Meeting: Build up Knowledge, Map the Territory

Online, participants are encouraged to introduce themselves and their work, to nominate other individuals or groups they think should take part, and to share relevant content. The interactions will contribute to a collective map of people, organizations, productions and ideas.

Nov. 30: Create a Community

/morning: Participants get acquainted in active mode. Each participant has been asked to bring with her an “artefact” that represents her work. They interact in small groups, regularly switching groups. Some language diversity is made possible by identifying participants fluent in multiple tongues. Record is kept of ideas, insights and challenges that emerge out of the interaction. /lunch: Buffet, small tables and other settings that facilitate conversations. /afternoon: Public, free exhibition/event. 8-10 participants present their work to other participants and the public. Short video interviews of all participants. During this afternoon, participants are also helped to organize ad hoc meetings around projects for which they seek cooperation. /evening: Social, fun, somewhat ritualized event, to create shared memories.

Dec.1: Found U+ Together

/morning - Shared challenges and goals: Participants share their personal and collective diagnoses, aspirations, expectations. Work is done in little groups and progressively capitalized. Consensus points are recorded, differences are discussed. The plenary ends up producing a short “Mission Statement” and a list of goals/values. /lunch: Buffet, small tables and other settings to continue conversations. /afternoon - Now what?: Subgroups work out possible functions or actions of U+. Other participants are encouraged to share projects that they’d like to offer as collective U+ activities. The final plenary ranks priorities and records commitments. Before leaving, participants are asked to share their takeaways, commitments and to-dos. [caption id="attachment_41" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Hallecivique The Paris-Belleville "Civic Hall", where the 2nd day will take place[/caption]

The Founders

 Aarathi Krishnan

 Aarathi Krishnan

Humanitarian Futures and Foresight

"We need to think about how different ideas/values of the future is linked to our cultural and ethnic values. How do we promote an approach that is not just Western driven, and to nuance this a lot more, how can we include more feminist, in particular feminist women of colour in futures."

Agnes Yun

Agnes Yun

Founder & CEO Organic Media Lab Inc.

Agnès Yun, fondatrice et PDG d'Organic Media Lab, un réseau de laboratoires expérimentant la transformation des médias et des affaires.

Ali Eslami

Ali Eslami

VR Artist and practitioner

He develops and designs VR Experiences to explore new pathway in this emerging medium and further than that, re-imagine and construct alternative futures through speculative design of virtual realities.

Anab Jain

Anab Jain

Designer, futurist, filmmaker and educator

As Co-founder and Director of Superflux, she hopes to realise our vision of the Studio as a new kind of design practice, responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century.

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang

Transdisciplinary artist and biologist

Andrew's projects have been exhibited from Oklahoma to Yokohama, including the 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015) and a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2016). He is also an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History, and a member of the art & ecology collective Deep Time Chicago.  

Andrew Zolli

Andrew Zolli

Technologist, social innovator and strategic advisor

Much of Andrew’s work focuses on issues of systemic and social resilience. Andrew currently oversees the ecological, humanitarian, and sustainable development portfolio of Planet, a breakthrough geospatial imaging organization. Planet has deployed the largest constellation of Earth-observing satellites in history.

Ash Koosha

Ash Koosha

Multi-instrumentalist composer/producer, futurist and technologist

Koosha has released a number of electronic albums and innovative projects since 2015, after a few years of working as sound designer and experimentalist. His skills in foley art and experiments with sound science led him to creating his 'nano-composing' methodology, using microtones and recorded sound in musical compositions.

Ayodele Arigbabu

Ayodele Arigbabu

Writer, architect and creative technologist

Ayodele Arigbabu is a writer, architect and creative technologist with over 15 years’ experience delivering projects that cut across architecture, design, film, digital media, publishing, event production and curation; and the development of digital and interactive arts and applications.

Bayo Akomolafe

Bayo Akomolafe

Professor of Psychology / Executive Director of The Emergence Network / Author

To learn the importance of insignificance" is the way he frames a desire to reacquaint himself with a world that is irretrievably entangled, preposterously alive and completely partial.

Brigitte van der Sande

Brigitte van der Sande

Art historian, independent curator, artistic director Other Futures

Art historian and artistic director Brigitte van der Sande has an interdisciplinary approach of international cultural topics, and seeks new connections between different worlds and audiences.

Chris Julien

Chris Julien

Research director at Waag

Chris Julien is responsible for the collective research agenda and methodology of Waag and maintains Waag’s international research network. In it, individuals as ethical actors are placed centre-stage throughout the entire chain of research, design and implementation of social innovation.

Dan Lockton

Dan Lockton

Chair of Design Studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, and founder of the Imaginaries Lab

He is interested in how we understand the world—institutions, the environment, cities, infrastructures, technologies and complex systems around us—how they, in turn, understand us, and how design can help us understand our own agency differently in imagining and creating futures.

Daniel Erasmus

Daniel Erasmus

Founder and Director of the Digital Thinking Network (DTN),

Daniel uses big data analysis and in-person interviews to help us understand the future. For more than 20 years, the DTN has facilitated more than a 100 leadership, innovation and scenario planning sessions on four continents, leading to groundbreaking strategic initiatives as well as breakthrough innovation.

Dougald Hine

Dougald Hine

Social thinker, writer and initiator

Dougald Hine is a British-born, Sweden-based social thinker, writer and initiator of a series of projects, including School of Everything, Spacemakers (a 'utopian regeneration agency'), the Dark Mountain Project and – most recently – HOME: A School for Culturemakers.

Elliott P. Montgomery

Elliott P. Montgomery

Futures-researcher and strategic designer

Elliott's work focuses on speculative alternatives at the confluence of social, technological and environmental impact. He is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Design at Parsons School of Design, and is co-founder of The Extrapolation Factory, a design-futures studio based in Brooklyn.

Ivor W. Hartmann

Ivor W. Hartmann

writer, editor, publisher, and visual artist

Ivor runs the StoryTime micro-press, publisher of the African Roar and AfroSF series of anthologies, and is on the advisory boards of Writers International Network Zimbabwe and The Village Square Journal. His own works have appeared in many publications.

Jacques Barcia

Jacques Barcia

Journalist, science fiction writer and futurist

Jacques is responsible for the Mind the Future program, a futures literacy and foresight program run at technology park Porto Digital. He’s helped more than 50 startups be more futures-ready and present proof using a foresight approach using design futures - a blend of foresight, design research and strategic narratives.

James Auger

James Auger

Designer and researcher

James recent research projects include a 3 year study on the Portuguese island of Madeira using the location as a living laboratory through a combination of fictional and factual multi-scale energy-related design solutions.

Jorge Camacho Rojas

Jorge Camacho Rojas

Head of Strategy and lecturer

Jorge has worked on the development of Transicion19s, a transition design toolkit developed specifically to work with diverse stakeholders in Mexico who are interested in driving transition towards sustainable futures in Mexico City.

Malka Older

Malka Older

writer, aid worker, and PhD candidate

Malka has more than a decade of field experience in humanitarian aid and development, her science fiction political thriller Infomocracywas named one of the best books of 2016 by Kirkus and her doctoral work explores the dynamics of post-disaster improvisation in governments.

Mary Anne Mohanraj

Mary Anne Mohanraj

English Professor

As Director of the Speculative Literature Foundation, I work with others to promote literary quality in speculative fiction. We encourage promising new writers, assist established writers, facilitate the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and develop a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction, which helps us all envision new ways of seeing the world. 

Maya Kóvskaya

Maya Kóvskaya

Ecological political theorist, curator and art critic

Maya's current research is focused on what she calls the “multispecies polity,” philosophy of language, and expanding studies of political membership beyond the human-centric. Maya is founder of the Anthropocenic Entanglements Research & Curatorial Platform, and the Guerilla Think Tank for Ecological Justice.

Michael Roch

Michael Roch

Sci-fi writer and screenwriter

"One of my iconic works and more relevant today, is the development of a Caribbean Science Fiction scene that takes into account the Afro-Futurist movement"

Miguel Llansó

Miguel Llansó

Filmmaker and professor

A big fan of experimental-punk-weird music and films, Miguel Llansó studied philosophy and cinema. His films are made from a dystopian sci-fi and Afrofuturism experience.

Mimi Mondal

Mimi Mondal

Speculative fiction writer and editor

"Equality and diversity in speculative fiction are two of my major goals. In a different world, is white still the dominant race of humans? Do poverty, homophobia, ableism and other discriminations exist in other worlds, among other species that are not even human? Do nations exist? Is war still the solution to global disagreements? How do we imagine worlds that are free of the biases that exist in the world we have?"

Orit Halpern

Orit Halpern

Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

"I think its emblematic in terms of thinking critically about what it means to do research at new scales and about creating institutional spaces and models that might support new forms of work, while insisting on ongoing engagement with critical questions in the humanities, and without homogenizing all practices."

Oulimata Gueye

Oulimata Gueye

Critic and curator

Oulimata Gueye co-hosted numerous international multi-disciplinary artistic events dedicated to contemporary art, urban and electronic cultures. One of her projects, Africa sf, is that the economic, technological, political, social and aesthetic upheaval the African continent has undergone is now fostering the development of imaginary worlds revolving around technology and sciences.

Petra Ardai

Petra Ardai

Theatre-maker, writer, dramaturge, teacher and performer

Petra Ardai is the artistic leader of the Amsterdam and Budapest based SPACE. SPACE has wide experience in documentary theatre and immersive collaborative storytelling in divers media and using words, music, smell, taste, movement and visuals… the sensory and cognitive are equally important in the storytelling.

Puruesh Chaudhary

Puruesh Chaudhary

Futures researcher and strategic narrative professional

 Her work mostly involves futures research, knowledge-collaborations and content intelligence within the framework of human security. She has worked with multilateral donors and aid agencies, news organizations and multinationals in advancing development efforts in Pakistan.

Rocio Berenguer

Rocio Berenguer

Transdisciplinary artist

In her professional career, Rocio joins dramaturgy, directing, acting, dancing, choreographing. She is the Artistic Director of the company, Pulso, where she deploys her universe in her creations and in the process of dramaturgy of the body and new media.

Salik Shah

Salik Shah

Science fiction writer and filmmaker

An ambassador of the Seasteading Institute to India, his writings explore alternate futures, fluid identities and open movement across shifting geographies and borders. He has a degree from Film and Television Institute of India, and has written a feature film, and produced videos and documentaries for channels including National Geographic.

Sangkyo Rho

Sangkyo Rho

Professor of Information Systems

Sangkyo Rho is the author of several books including Organic Business. His research interests include organic networks, organic media, big data, and blockchain.

Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou

Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou

Architect, anthropologist, founder of L’Africaine d’architecture & WoeLab

Architect and anthropologist, Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou is the creator of the collaborative research platform on African architecture and city issues 'L'Africaine d'architecture' and founder of WoeLab, a network of Togolese grassroots tech-hubs whose ambition is to "make everyone equal in the face of technology".

Shadreck Chikoti

Shadreck Chikoti

Writer

Shadreck is one of the leading cultural managers and writers who dares to defy stereo types of African literature and who is changing the perception of Malawian writing. He founded The Story Club Malawi; a rallying-ground for writers, critics and readers, a space for exchanging thoughts that support the growth of art in Malawi.

Shahid Mahmud

Shahid Mahmud

Founder, CEO and Chairman of Interactive Group and Co-Founder of Foresight Lab.

Dr. Mahmud focuses on the critical needs of the society using systems integration supplemented with optimized connectivity to support health, education, and public safety.

Sheba Chhachhi

Sheba Chhachhi

Artist, photographer and thinker

Sheba investigates questions of gender, eco-philosophy, violence and visual cultures, with emphasis on the recuperation of cultural memory. An activist/photographer in the women’s movement in the 1980s, Chhachhi moved on to create intimate, sensorial encounters through large multimedia installations.

Taiyo Fuji

Taiyo Fuji

SF writer

Taiyo Fujii is president of SFWJ - Science Fiction and Fantsy Writers of Japan. He wrote and published his first novel via Kindle by developing a specific software design.

Tomo Kihara

Tomo Kihara

Design researcher

Through combining creative coding and physical prototyping, Tomo designs social interactions that provoke and challenge the reality. His recent project Street Debaters aims to change the act of begging into a job to create public discourse through playful artifacts.

Vanessa Andreotti

Vanessa Andreotti

Educational studies Professor and researcher on Race, Inequalities and Global Change

My work focuses on the limits of a single modern/colonial imaginary of progress, development and human evolution and the adjacent possibilities of setting our horizons of hope beyond what we can imagine within modern institutions and ways of knowing and being.

Wytske Versteeg

Wytske Versteeg

Novelist and political scientist

Wytske has published five books so far (four novels and one non-fiction), which have won national prizes. Apart from her artistic work, she has published on topics ranging from environmental discourse and climate change, via trauma, domestic violence and the sublime, to health care issues and homelessness.

Yosuke Ushigome

Yosuke Ushigome

Lead Creative Technologist at Takram's London studio

My recent project with Swarovski, Home Shrine tries to illustrate an alternative approach in creating an interaction between us and digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home.