Tallinn 2080: transforming the city through utopian visioning
The aim of the project
In teams, you will help develop workshops that aim to educate and empower, facilitate these workshops yourselves, produce artwork and possibly share that on social media in order to spark a broader public discussion of what Tallinn could be in the future.
Given the time constraints, you will be assigned to a team when you enrol (based on your preferences given in your motivation letter). The first month will involve a series of participatory seminars as a full group to develop an action plan, where each student will take on specific tasks and agree on dates for milestones. October and November will be used to develop the materials for the workshops and confirm their structure. Workshops will be held in December, and utopian artwork will be submitted in early January, to allow time for reflections made about the effectiveness of the project.
Through this project, students are expected to think critically about the importance of visioning in city-making, as well as about the future of Tallinn. Students are asked to bring their own perspectives and do much of their own independent research that contributes to making a pilot project that has real-world outcomes. However, as a group project, it is vital that all students communicate with their team to ensure that everyone understands what is required to successfully complete the project.
More specifically through seminars and their own research, students will learn about innovations in collaborative, inclusive democratic initiatives, as well as about what some cities have done to address social and ecological challenges. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their own skills in collaboration as they have to work as a team towards a common goal, but with many different components. Thus, good, frequent communication is necessary.
In this exercise in action research, students produced a design for an ecopedagogical workshop that aims to give disadvantaged groups a greater platform to share their utopian visions of their city. One group focused on the workshop design itself, whilst two other groups provided material that was used in the workshop. This culminated in a demonstration of the four hour pilot workshop, where some students facilitated and others participated — joined a few friends who joined the day. As their supervisor, I greatly appreciated the input — many offering fantastic ideas that will be used later as I develop the workshop further as part of my PhD. I will adapt their design and run it myself next year, before inviting a new batch of LIFE students to build on the framework in Fall of 2023. Whilst there were organisational challenges, with unequal workloads that many found understandably frustrating, I feel the project was a success overall, with many students gaining a better understanding of ecological injustice, the many initiatives available to address them and a greater motivation take action.