Path to the Horizon

Explore a variety of approaches to futures research and using your chosen approach, work collaboratively to produce an almanac of the future

Module details

  • Offered to 4th & 5th Years in specific departments only**
  • Thursdays 16.00-18.00
  • 2 term module worth 6 ECTS
  • Degree Credit only

**See info at the top of the following webpage: 
4th & 5th Year Undergraduates (6 & 7.5 ECTS)

Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

What is the future? Is it something that can be predicted, planned for or even created? On this module you will address these questions and you will be asked to look for evidence of emerging technologies, shifts in social and cultural practices, and trends in local and global policy to imagine our future world or worlds.

Working in teams, you will have the opportunity to test qualitative futures methods and generate your own visions of the future. You will construct your own futures research plan on a topic of your choice, before going on to create a narrative to tell a story about your findings.

At the end of the module, we will bring all our work together and collaborate to produce a printed almanac of the future, with students generating their own copy and graphics and forming their own editorial team to get the manuscript to print.

This module will be delivered online making full use of our virtual classroom. Each session will be highly interactive including activities, discussion and close interaction with your peers and teachers. To understand more about how we teach online interactively, visit the Change Makers Online Learning page.

*The module specification above is subject to final committee approval and is therefore subject to change.*

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

groupworkOn successful completion of the module you will be better able to:

  • Identify and use a range of methods relevant to horizon scanning
  • Use an appropriate method to perform an analysis of a potential future phenomenon
  • Explore potential responses to that phenomenon and create a series of potential future visions
  • Create a narrative that describes a response to that phenomenon
  • Work collaboratively to produce a coherent printed record of the collected futures explored by the whole class

Indicative core content

team discussion

  • Exploration of futures research tools and methods such as horizon scanning, causal layered analysis, impact analysis, drivers mapping and visioning
  • Testing various methods to produce a series of creative  visions and scenarios
  • Developing a range of potential responses to such futures and planning for the creation of a sustainable future
  • Construction of your own creative narrative on a topic of your choice for the year 2050
  • Sharing individual future narratives in teams to create an expansive vision of a range of futures-based phenomena
  • Working collaboratively to produce a printed ‘almanac’ - including editing, peer review, layout and design

 

Assessment

  • Coursework: Online Portfolio - 1,000 words (40%)
  • Coursework: Written Futures Narrative - 2,000 words (40%)
  • Coursework: Contribution and role in production of the Futures Almanac - 1,000 words (20%)

Key information

  • You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 110 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes preparation for classes and assignments, wider reading and guided research relevant to the module.  
  • Sufficient time will be set aside for all assessments to be completed in-class.
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 6 course. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]

My Journey

Each year the class collaborates to make an Almanac of the Future from start to finish. The class of 2018-19 Almanac is available to view as a PDF: Almanac of the Future 2050‌.*

"I really enjoyed being able to think creatively and critically in a way so different from my normal course. "
"A really fun and useful course that allows students to use their brains in a completely different way. "
"The freedom within the module was very enjoyable and there was good guidance and exposure to a variety of techniques too.”"
"“Working as a whole class to produce a single piece of work was a unique experience and I am really proud of what we have created.”"

*Should you find any of the downloadable files on this page are not accessible, please contact Cleo Bowen by email at c.bowen@imperial.ac.uk for an accessible version.