Loops and Samples


Hello again from that eerie silence between flights. Three chilly months have passed since our last instalment, so we’re mailing to 1) wish you a happy Spring if you’re in the northern hemisphere, or a lovely Fall if southern, 2) throw out some updates about our activities and trajectories, and 3) give you a chance to sample an episode of Underfutures for any holiday journey ahead, if you’ve yet to listen.



Since there is a large black arrow hovering above us at the moment, we’ll start at the end. You may recall from our last newsletter that we announced the kickoff of a new media project, a podcast called Underfutures. Hosted by me and colleague Madeline Ashby, this podcast gives us a chance to talk about under-discussed sides of popular subjects, with folks we think bring a fresh point of view to the table (we assume they’re at a table, no one has said otherwise). Episode 2, Coming Attractions, featured writer Joanne McNeil, along with Madeline, Susan Cox-Smith joining to kick over recent sci-fi and future-oriented TV and film to see what it might tell us about about Where We Are Now and the Big Near Future.

Episode 3, Humans in the Room, embedded above through the magic of Substack, or available on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud and other platforms, features John Willshire of Smithery in London joining me in Amsterdam and Madeline in Toronto to help us pick apart how the nature of working is changing (something to do with time tentacles, not standing desks), and where it might go next. We also publish liner notes to each episode.

We’ve gotten a stack of lovely comments and endorsements, and are planning to keep pushing episodes on a monthly rhythm. We also have a nice Twitter following brewing over at @underfutures, and the possibility of making the show live (as in, on stage where you can see us) on a couple of occasions later this year. Stay locked to find out more. In the meantime, if you like what you hear, please share with friends and/or colleagues. Or, get on that Twitter account and let us know what other topics/guests you would like to hear get the Underfutures treatment.



Aside from a steady programme of running courses in futures and strategic foresight over the past six weeks, we have also been busy with our pens and keyboards, working on various formats of future fiction and documentary alike. More on this later.

The first of these projects to reach the air was a short film written by Madeline for Screening Surveillance, a project from the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen's University in Ontario led by sava saheli singh. Madeline’s authored short below, Frames, is one of three films from writers including Tim Maughan (who’s newly released Infinite Detail has been burning up the fiction shelves), and Nihal El-Hadi. Watch them all, and download the supplemental educational material for group discussion.

Gulf Futures

We developed a set of macrotrends cards called Gulf 2030, for use by organisations in the Gulf region planning for change. We have a limited number and are offering them to corporate, government and non-governmental organisations in the region on a case-by-case basis. If you are one of these and are interested to know more, get in contact to discuss how you can best apply them.

Photo: Your Rainbow Panorama, Olafur Eliasson, Aarhus / Image Lily Higgins


Changeist crew member Lily Higgins recently travelled to Aarhus, Denmark for her second time at Counterplay Festival, which draws an international crowd of applied-play practitioners for three days of play-immersion. She co-facilitated a workshop exploring the use of improv as a tool in the process of ideating and took part in a myriad of weird, playful stuff created by other play-oriented designers. Especially inspired by the folks at Cultural Prototcols in Berlin, she's making plans to host her own urban intervention walking tour this spring in Rotterdam. Watch this space if that is your postcode/thing.


That’s all for this edition. If you’re traveling this coming weekend or week, be safe wherever you are.

If you want to follow the discussion, find us on TwitterInstagramMedium, or the original formula Web.