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Unit information: Creative Futures: Tools for Changing the World in 2020/21

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Unit name Creative Futures: Tools for Changing the World
Unit code UNIV10007
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Malé Lujan Escalante
Open unit status Open




School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts


A trailer is available for this unit here.

Arguably creativity is what makes us human. Whilst 'artificial intelligence' is challenging and outstripping human capabilities, non-human 'creative intelligence' seems to be constantly playing catch-up. Today, we're told repeatedly of the value of the 'creative economy'. Creativity is heralded as central to innovation, business and economic success. In the context of increasing global challenges of unprecedented complexity and uncertainty, creativity and creative frameworks and methods are becoming pivotal to gain access to notions of futures that are more sustainable, responsible and radically careful.

The core of the unit is to equip students with a variety of critical tools to develop understandings of the various roles that creativity plays in future thinking, innovation and social change. It assumes no prior knowledge or experience using creative methods and explores contemporary complex contexts:
· Responsible innovation,
· Social inequalities
· Sustainable Development

Creative Futures offers students the experience and opportunities to think about creative approaches within their own disciplinary spaces, and, thinking outside the box and about the box itself. The course is delivered by The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and understands the learning space as a creative lab, and each session as an experiment (or mini project).

The unit is part of the Bristol Futures initiative and the Innovation & Enterprise theme supporting students generating and acting on ideas to solve problems and create opportunities.

The unit aims are to:
· Develop an understanding of critical tools and models for creatively addressing futures and global challenges.
· Facilitate the development of a creative portfolio of future-oriented case-studies.
· Develop knowledge and skills of creative approaches, including presentation of ideas for different audiences in a variety of creative media.
· Develop skills in critical reflection work.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:
1. Understand and interpret a range of critical tools and models of future thinking and future-oriented frameworks.
2. Explore challenges that incorporate creativity and are used to support innovation and social change.
3. Articulate and present ideas persuasively to an audience through a variety of informal and formal interactions and media.
4. Reflect on their work and present their insights in a structured and persuasive way.

Teaching details

The course is delivered through challenge-based approach to learning and is designed to explore, build and challenge the students creative and critical knowledge and skills through mini projects (creative experiments) and independent reflective work.

Assessment Details

Individual Portfolio (100%) – ILOs 1, 2, 3 & 4 Submitted in three sections aligned with the themes covered in the unit Each submission point includes completion of a creative exercise [2&3] and a reflection on their learning [ILOS 1 & 4]

Reading and References

  • Fry, T. (2009). Designing Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice. Oxford Berg Publishing.
  • Gauntlett, D., 2018, (2nd ed) Making is Connecting: the social power of creativity, from craft and knitting to digital everything. Polity Press: Cambridge.
  • Kelley, T., & Littman, J. (2004). The Art of Innovation: Lessons in creativity from IDEO. UK: HarperCollinsBusiness
  • Levitas, R.(2013). Utopia as method: the imaginary reconstruction of society. NewYork: Pelgrave Macmillan.
  • Manzini, E. (2006). Enabling solutions Social Innovation, creative communities and strategic design. Politecnico di Milano, Dis-Indaco.
  • Paulus, P.B.,&Nijstad, B.A.(Eds.)(2003) Innovation through collaboration. Oxford University Press.
  • Roam, Dan (2008) The back of the napkin. Solving problems and Selling ideas through pictures. New York: Penguin Group.
  • Schön, D. (1991). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Ashgate