ASU Worldbuilding Initiative Workshop
- Academic events
- Arts and entertainment
Speculative Thought Experiments: Storytelling and Design as Modes of Inquiry
Science fiction and other speculative modes of narratives have long been used by writers to explicitly explore a wide variety of questions, concerns, and problems in our contemporary world and in our imagined futures. From the Ship of Theseus to the trolley problem — most recently made newly famous by the show "The Good Place" and from Ursula K. Le Guin’s "The Left Hand of Darkness" to Ted Chiang’s "Exhalation", thought experiments in conversation and in storytelling have allowed thinkers to work through the implications of a particular quandary. Similarly, speculative design allows us to imagine alternative ways of living and dwelling through the design of artifacts and other elements, making tangible the ways we might physically interact with the manmade and natural worlds to come.
In this workshop, our speakers will discuss thought experiments, speculative design, design bias, and other related ideas, offering frameworks by which we might ask better questions of the futures we imagine and the world we already inhabit: How can asking the right question lead us to a better version of a story we’re telling? What do the best thought experiments or speculative designs have in common? How can we make visible the design biases we bring to the page, the studio, the classroom, and the workplace? As we make new worlds on and off the page, how do we use speculation in thought and design to expose new possibilities and new potentials?
Hosted by the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, the ASU Worldbuilding Initiative invites all members of our community — at ASU and beyond it — to come together in mutual inspiration, communal thinking, and imaginative play. In each of our workshops, audience members will be encouraged to engage in worldbuilding alongside our guest presenters, inventing new ways of imagining and interacting with the world around us.
This hybrid event is free and open to the public, in addition to the ASU community. It will be held on the Tempe Campus and simultaneously livestreamed via Zoom, with full participation in the night's activities possible online or in-person.