A triennial meeting of practitioners and scholars to nurture new research, practice, and education collaborations focused on scenario planning.
Since 2005, The Oxford Futures Forum (OFF) has sought to confront scholarship from different fields with scenario practice to advance scholarly understanding of why and how scenarios work. In doing so, it fosters the development of new joint projects, publications, exhibitions, events and other activities.
'The OFF was designed to enable generative dialogue, productive collaboration and deep reflection on the connections between scenario thinking and practice and design – particularly the scholarly study of design' says Rafael Ramirez, Director of the Oxford Scenarios Programme and Professor of Practice at Saïd Business School. 'The fact that many designers must first design before they can describe, while scenario planners must first describe before they can design ensures a creative tension that runs throughout the forums. Participants all contribute exciting ideas and intriguing – if sometimes disturbing – images that will resonate with us all for years to come and, I hope, be the start of creating new knowledge in these different yet complementary fields.'
2017 theme: The Oxford Scenario Planning Approach and the climate imaginaries of the arts and humanities
In OFF 2017, we gathered together a set of invited scholars and practitioners working at the forefront of scenario planning with those working with climate imaginaries to develop captivating and accessible narratives and strategies, in a variety of formats and media that can open up previously fixed ways of thinking about the future, catalyse novel interactions and spur initiatives.
- Up to 70 participants, by invitation only
- Two-day event
- Open Space format
Like the last four Oxford Futures Forums, the 2017 Forum was designed in an Open Space format, to enable generative dialogue. The format is interactive and participative, with the substance created and evolved by the participants themselves; it is not the standard conference design of sequential ‘stand and deliver’ speeches.
- Yasser Bhatti, Imperial College London
- Lucy Kimbell, University of the Arts London
- Rafael Ramírez, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
- Cynthia Selin, Arizona State University
- Monika Zurek, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
- Forge and support an international community of future-minded practices aimed at stimulating actionable, impactful knowledge
- Identify and investigate academic and practitioner interests at the forefront of scenario planning and climate futures, and relate them to each other
- Uncover and push the boundaries of scenario planning practices and theory, to clarify and extend their effectiveness through critical review and links with other fields
- Enable networking, new collaborations and publishing
- Leverage the neutral, highly respected and international convening power of Oxford University
The convenors aimed to produce effective and quality outcomes, similar to those which resulted from the previous four Forums. These may be in the form of research questions, joint publications, research proposals and workshops, and further networking and community building.
Abstracts and report
In the 2014 OFF, the authors, as co-conveners the event, proposed exploring the new theoretical terrain opened up through focusing on design, a field that is becoming more theorized and also emerges from practice. In addition to open space dialogue, the curated exhibition, Future Things, enabled greater generative dialogue by providing examples of visual and sensory means for conceptualization and interaction that represent futures in novel ways.
For more details on the Oxford Scenarios Programme, visit the programme page.