Skip Garden (c) Global Generation

Utopian Talk Series

Better ideas for Utopia, now

21 & 22 Jan 2017
10.00 - 18.00
Free, limited capacity

Arrive promptly to ensure a place

River Rooms
New Wing

Join artists, thinkers and policy-makers and have your say as we come up with better ideas for Utopia, now.

In a rolling Utopian ‘Think Tank’, hosted by Utopia 2016 Artistic Advisor and co-founder of bread, print & roses, Ruth Potts, and Andrew Simms from co-operative think-tank, the New Weather Institute, the only rule is that you have to think. From a 21-hour working week to a National Park City, we’ll explore creative ways we can all take a step towards utopia, now.


If Artists Were in Charge: Utopian Dreams 
11.00 - 12.00
Artists help us to see the world differently. They challenge our perceptions by creating other ways of seeing the world, and where space is left for us all to contribute, that becomes a catalyst for change. We’re often told that ‘there is no alternative’, but what would happen if artists were in charge? Join Ruth Ewan, whose Juke Box of People Trying to Change the World filled the Utopia Treasury with sound for most of the year, Stephen Walter whose map of Nova Utopia helped him explore things he yearns for, and the things he wishes didn’t exist, and Director of the Empathy Museum, Clare Patey as they explore the possibilities

Jobs in Utopia: What Could Work Be?
12.30 - 13.30

In Utopia everyone works 6 hours a day, because that is enough to meet everyone’s needs, manual labour is valued as highly as intellectual activity and everyone spends time working the land. Join Renata Tyszczuk of Future Works at the Stories of Change project and Sheffield University, Aidan Harper of the New Economics Foundation and Molly Conisbee of bread, print & roses as they make proposals for how work could be.

Better Ideas for Living: Housing Utopia
14.00 - 15.00

In Utopia there is no private property, the doors of houses are shaped like leaves and swing open and closed in the wind so that people can come and go as they please. 500 years later, housing is deeply contested and hugely divisive. From poor doors to sheds in living rooms, there is clearly much to improve on. Join Jasmine Stone from campaign group Focus E15, artist Jonathan Hoskins, and Andy Edwards from Transition by Design and the House of the Commons, as they outline their utopian visions for the future of housing.

Many Ways Are Possible: The Economics of Utopia
15.30 - 16.30

In Utopia, each region produces more than they need in case a neighbouring area has a shortfall. To avoid accumulation, they make their chamber pots of gold so that the metal is worthless. With inequality rising, and questions asked about the way we choose to organise the economy, PRIME economics Ann Pettifor, the Guardian’s Aditya Chakrabortty and Artist Ruth Beale from the Alternative School of Economics share their proposals for a better economy.

Governing Utopia: Politics, Democracy and New Forms of Leadership
17.00 - 18.00

In Utopia, politicians are respected but not revered – people who seek public office aren’t considered fit to hold it, and since there is no money or property, there is no bribery. With trust failing in politicians, Take Back the City’s Zahra Dalilah, campaigner Danni Paffard and Green Assembly Member Sian Berry make creative proposals for the future of politics.


Food and Growing in Utopia: Shoots of Change
12.00 - 13.00

In Utopia, meals are eaten communally and all citizens spend two years living rurally and working the land. With urban food growing on the rise, climate change threatening crops, and with questions increasingly asked about how and what we might eat, join Skip Garden’s Gwen Mainwaring, fourier-expert and Edible Utopia’s Jane Levi as they set out their Utopian visions for the future of food.


Educating Utopia: Free for All?
13.30 - 14.30
In Utopia, each day begins with a free public lecture, manual labour is valued as highly as intellectual activity and in the evenings utopians entertain one another with music or conversation. Education around the world is in a process of deep transformation in response to twenty-first century challenges. Join Shake!’s Farzana Khan, curator Alex Thorp and advocate of democratic education Rachel Roberts as they outline their utopian visions for education. 

Playing in Utopia: Turning the World Upside Down
15.00 - 16.00

When we play, we make temporary worlds, based on rules we take apart when we’re done – but there’s always something left behind, chalk in a crack in a pavement, a changed sense of place or a shifted relationship. Join immersive documentary maker May Abdalla and game designer and curator of Now Play This! Holly Gramazio as they explore the value of turning the world upside down.

Re-Imagining the City: Creating Real Utopias, Now
16.30 - 17.30

75% of the world’s cities have higher levels of income inequality than two decades ago, and increasing urbanisation places pressure on water and other environmental resources. What can we do to reimagine our cities? Join Exploration Architecture’s Michael Pawlyn, who believes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society, Carolyn Steel whose idea of Sitopia puts food at the heart of the good life and Judy Ling Wong who is working to make London the world’s first National Park City as they explore ways we can make real utopias in the city, now.