A set of participatory methods was adopted throughout the Autumn Academy. The Autumn Academy included different phases. It started with an intensive research and continued with field trips and interviews. This led to an interactive phase: the Future Search Methodology.
Future Search is a unique multi-stakeholder planning process that is used worldwide to 1) help large, diverse groups identify common values, purposes, and projects; and 2) enable the creation of an ideal future that participants can work towards to. The task or theme of the Future Search conference consists of a pressing issue or question that concerns the future of all stakeholders. The conference is designed to enable participants to work together without having to defend or sell a particular agenda, opening the door to creative new opportunities.
The Future Search model is purposive and stimulates dialogue and mutual learning as a catalyst for action. This model is especially helpful in uncertain, fast-changing situations and revolves around the idea of bringing the “whole system” into one room to engage in a dialogue about a common issue. Instead of listening to speeches and seminars, active working sessions are held with a broad range of parties that have a shared interest in the outcome. By using the example of lignite areas in Eastern Germany, participants were guided by experts and practitioners to gain critical knowledge and exchange on different thematic issues. In international teams they transformed their knowledge into action, and also learnt how to present their findings in a multimedia way.
The Autumn Academy was designed for students of Human Geography, Renewable Energy, Environmental Engineering, Social and Political Sciences and Economics as well as young civil society actors, mainly from European regions which have been affected by structural change through the reduction of lignite coal mining. Students of other disciplines were welcome to apply in case they show a special interest in the topic and program of the Autumn Academy.
26 September – 03 October 2015 in Leipzig, Germany
Fraunhofer Institut, Neumarkt 9, 04109 Leipzig