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March Newsletter:


Philip Yuan and I have been discussing the idea of a global classroom. We both believe passionately in free education. Perhaps we can’t make our own universities free, but we can live-stream our content and make it freely available for others. Our plan is to start by setting up a doctoral platform that could be shared around the globe. Everyone would be able to take part and contribute, but no money would change hands. We would each be operating from our own institutional base, within the constraints of that base. But we could share ideas. Initial discussions have involved leading educational figures from around the globe, for example, Achim Menges in ICD Stuttgart, Areti Markpoulou in IaaC, Mette Thomsen in CITA, Alessio Erioli in Bologna, Bob Shiel at the Bartlett, Matias del Campo in Michigan, Philip Beesley in Waterloo, Mark and Jane Burry in Swinburne, and Claudia Pasquero in Innsbruck. They are all interested in taking part. We haven’t finalized anything yet, but discussions are underway.

As a prototype for this idea, we have also been testing out a doctoral course, Towards a Theory of AI, on the new 2-year non-residential Doctor of Design program at FIU. The model is based on, but it is subtly different. We have a number of ‘provocations’ - initially from myself, but increasingly from invited guests, such as Refik Anadol, Anil Seth, Memo Akten, Matias del Campo, Immanuel Koh, Wolf Prix and Daniel Bolojan. A panel discussion then follows involving other guests and doctoral candidates including Kostas Terzidis, Patrik Schumacher, Behnaz Farahi, Wanyu He, and members of the DigitalFUTURES team.

What is so interesting about this experiment is that it is generating intense conversations. And they are radically different to any previous conversations, in which I have been involved. It’s as though there is a Global Brain in operation, composed not of neurons, but of some of the greatest minds on the planet. Collective, creative thinking. A kind of swarm intelligence. Of course, it has always been possible to exchange ideas. But previously these exchanges have been limited by the constraints of geography and economics. It would not have been possible to bring so many great minds together for free, with the same immediacy, were it not for today's technology. And the sheer intensity of the discussions has been truly extraordinary.

All sessions are live streamed and archived on playlists on YouTube and Bilibili. Highlighted talks have included: AI and Neuroscience, AI and Architectural Design, and AI and the Architectural office of the Future.

DDes sessions are on Sundays at 9.00 am EST, 3.00 pm CET, 10.00 pm China (times may be affected by daylight savings). The next session on 7 March will be on ‘Performative AI'.

This is history in the making. We don’t know quite where it will lead. But we are determined to explore all the possibilities and accordances of a global platform and make it work for the benefit of everyone. All we can say for now is, ‘Watch this space!’

~Neil Leach

All Upcoming Events: Streaming on Youtube and BiliBili.

DigitalFUTURES Talk: DeepGreen: Bio-Design in the Age of AI

6 March at 9:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China

DeepGreen explores the future of Bio-Design in the age of AI. This panel brings together leading researchers whose work integrates biology and computation and design. What are the possibilities for ecological agency? How does technology inform biological designs?  

Presentations by: : Claudia Pasquero, Terezia Greskova, Maria Kuptsova, & Eirini Tsomouko

Moderated by: Xiao Wang



DigitalFUTURES Local Voices : Female Designers from the Arab World

13 March at 9:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China

Over the last two decades, especially after the revolutionary changes brought by the Arab Spring, Arab feminists have challenged prior conditions, signaling a wave of major societal and political change, and leading socio-cultural transformation. A positive consequence is that more female computational designers and architects are emerging in the region. The session recognizes some of those female intellectual computational designers and researchers from the Arabian world who are changing the ecology of the built environment. 

Presentations by: Rajaa Issa, Maryam Aljomairi, and Aya Riad & Joumana Abdulkhalik

Moderated by: Shermeen Yousif


DigitalFUTURES Talks: The Death of Culture

20 March at 10:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China

What is culture? Can everything be culture? Elusive, mixed and unique, culture promotes new projects. Architecture as a cultural process is an invitation to all project disciplines to connect in a network in which they exceed their limits, overflow them, imagine them and let them run free. We bring together experts working in the field of Theory, Architecture and Design to discuss The Death of Culture.

Presentations by: Daniel Cardoso Llach, Sylvia Lavin, Neil Leach, Ciro Najle, & Enrique Walker

Moderated by: Marina Rodríguez das Neves


DigitalFUTURES Talk: In Deep Water

27 March at 10:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China 

After decades of informal presence, the term Anthropocene has become the actual designation of the current geological era and one of the most profoundly affected spheres is the realm of water, from melting ice caps to deep-sea mining, from sea level rise to decreasing subsidence and increasing flood occurrence in tropical mega-cities, etc.

This panel explores the contemporary research spectrum of experts addressing the urgent issues associated with the sea level rise.

Presentations by: Jesse Kenan, Rachel Armstrong, and others TBC

Moderated by: Antonio Bernacchi & Biayna Bogosian


Upcoming Calls:

Call for DigitalFUTURES Young: Sea Level & Climate Change

We are reaching out to our community for the submission of students’ and young researchers’ projects for the DigitalFUTURES Young session on Sea Level & Climate Change. Research projects need to be submitted by the end of day on 27 March 2021. Selected projects will be presented on 10 April 2021 from 10.00 am EST. Presentations will last 10 minutes each.

Submission materials:

~Short bio(s)
~CV (including degrees, awards, scholarships, and publications)
~Title of proposed presentation
~300 word abstract of proposed presentation
~Work sample (relevant architectural design or published article - max 5MB file size)



Submission deadline: End of day 27 March 2021

Presentations:  10 April 2021 @ 10.00am EST / 4.00pm CET / 10.00pm China

Join Our Discord: CLICK HERE

Thank you for your continued support,
DigitalFUTURES Team

Copyright © 2021 & DigitalFUTURES.young, All rights reserved.

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