Empowering Futures Conference Mini Report
- Posted by Mara Di Berardo
- On 26 June 2023
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- Empowering Futures, Helsinki Node, Italy Node, Mini Report
By Sirkka Heinonen, Helsinki Node Chair
“Empowering Futures – Long-term Governance, Democracy and Futures Research” was the 23rd international Futures Conference – Futures Conference 2023 – organized by the Finland Futures Research Centre and the Finland Futures Academy, University of Turku, Finland, hosting the Helsinki Node of The Millennium Project.
The Millennium Project featured a Special Session at the conference on June 15 chaired by Sirkka Heinonen: ‘Flourishing Urban Futures To Overcome Polycrises – Roadmap for Resilience 2050‘. At the beginning of the session, Jerome Glenn gave an inspiring (virtual) keynote titled ‘How and what to regulate to help cities prepare for crises and even polycrises in our age of digitalisation and fast developing AI?’, followed by a Q&A section.
Among the audience we had Brazilian Node Chair Rosa Alegria, who was one of the keynote speakers of the conference, Elizabeth Strickler, similarly one of the keynote speakers at the conference, and Markku Wilenius who was one of the originators of the Helsinki Node over twenty years ago. The Helsinki Node Co-Chairs Toni Ahlqvist, Sirkka Heinonen, Osmo Kuusi and Mikko Dufva from Sitra were active participants in the event. From Aalto University we also had Dr Saija Toivonen, Director of the whole RESCUE project, and Lassi Tähtinen Doctoral researcher, as moderators. Amos Taylor and Tolga Karayel also helped in planning and implementation. Then we had at our FFRC Helsinki Office three Millennium Project Interns – Risto Sivonen, Riku Viitamäki and Burgert Maree to thank for co-operation to make this happen. Also our students Kati Lehtiö, Elisa Oinonen and Viivi Koivuniemi were trained to help in moderating the session, and Freya Fey as organiser’s moderator.
After this, Sirkka Heinonen gave a Futures Provocation and instructions for working interactively in five small groups. Besides RESCUE researchers from FFRC and Aalto University, and our FFRC futures studies master’s students, three Millennium Project Interns – Risto Sivonen, Riku Viitamäki and Burgert Maree – assisted in all planning, preparation and implementation of the event. The results will be published in a RESCUE research report by the end of the summer.
The MP Session was organised in co-operation with the Helsinki Node of the Millennium Project, Finnish Society for Futures Studies, as well as the RESCUE Project at FFRC, coordinated by Aalto University, where the Millennium Project is a collaborating network.
Rosa Alegria was also interviewed for another research project at FFRC, i.e. T-Winning Spaces, and so was Erik Överland from WFSF. A few more interviews were also planned to be made soon. Jerome Glenn is in the Advisory Board of this project, and Mara di Berardo, Italy Node Co-Chair and MP Comms Director, is Special Expert Affiliate in which capacity she was able to attend the FFRC Conference virtually and give a speech on World Futures Day 2022 results during the online session of the conference. The whole project name is ‘Winning spatial solutions for future work, enabling the double twin transition of digital/green and virtual/physical transforming our societies by 2035′.
During the conference, Italy Node Co-Chair Simone di Zio with his delegation from Italy had discussions with the Helsinki Node representatives and FFRC researchers. Sirkka Heinonen hosted the final discussion at the FFRC Conference on 16th June, making references to Jerome Glenn’s keynote. The Millennium Project Intern Risto Sivonen from FFRC Helsinki Office represented Sirkka Heinonen and the Helsinki Node at the virtual FEN Conference (that took separately place right after the FFRC Conference).