master-disseny-futurs-emergents-01 Designing Realities, César Rodríguez

Master in Design for Emergent Futures

The world of the future is yet to be imagined and designed. Shaping societies, industries and behaviours is a task to tackle by those able to combine different disciplines and overview the present challenges to become agents for change and adaptation.

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The Master in Design for Emergent Futures focuses on designing interventions in products, platforms, and deployments to produce new emergent futures.

We want to help you take design one step further by turning your innovative ideas into great solutions. By combining high technology, innovation, thinking and creativity for the future, designers, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, technology entrepreneurs, computer scientists and changemakers will provide the strategic vision and tools to become agents of change in multiple professional environments.

Access and Admission Requirements: Higher university degree, bachelor’s degree or o college degree diploma and motivation letter.


We explore emergent futures

We will encourage you to work at multiple scales to design and test interventions in the real world in an exploratory journey to comprehend and critique the role of disruptive technologies in the transformation of our current societies. A close look at digital fabrication, blockchain, synthetic biology or Artificial Intelligence, among others, will lead you to develop a hybrid profile, mixing various sets of skills (technical and human). We want to help you conceive and produce impactful ideas to transform the world and:

  • To generate a new breed of ‘changemakers’ professionals in transdisciplinary fields combining high-tech, digital know-how and sustainable design strategies.
  • To train professionals on new creative ways of using disruptive technologies to transform the industry.
  • To prepare professionals to challenge the current productive model through emergent technological advances (digital fabrication, synthetic biology, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, etc.) and circular economy solutions.
  • To train professionals in developing projects with social, environmental and technological concerns.

How we do it

This master has a high component of hands-on learning and project-based learning. Students will be requested to transform big ideas into design strategies, prototypes, and interventions to be tested in the real world focused on Barcelona but connected globally with other cities.

We will delve into:

  • Instrumentation. Learn a modular set of maker skills and tools and how these can be used in the design process of translating ideas into prototypes and prototypes into products. Skills include coding, digital fabrication, hardware design, synthetic biology, and computational thinking.
  • Exploration. Be exposed to a set of technologies and socio-cultural phenomena that can disrupt our present understanding of society, industry and the economy.
  • Reflection. Participate in individual and group reflection sessions to develop one’s own identity and skill set, knowledge and attitude as a designer.
  • Application. Create design responses to explore curiosity through innovation. Be encouraged to be creative and follow a culture of making where prototyping is a generator of knowledge, and experimentation is crucial for problem-solving.

The Master in Design for Emergent Futures is organised into three terms: Oct-Dec, Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun. Each term includes design studios, seminars and expert masterclasses. The master also offers a research trip. Previous trips have been to Shenzhen (China) and Cuba.

Master in Design for Emergent Futures programme
1 First course

1.1 Design Studio sessions focus on real-world experimentation and socio-technical development. Students develop technical, aesthetic and conceptual skills during the year by working on real-life scenarios.

1.2 Seminars. International experts from design and emergent technologies, including speculative futures, futurology and speculative design, contribute to the programme as guest lecturers throughout the academic year.

1.3 Fab Academy provides advanced, hands-on digital fabrication instruction and access to technological tools and resources. It is directed by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms and is based on MIT’s rapid prototyping course, MAS 863: How to Make (Almost) Anything.

2 Second course

The second academic year is devoted to going deeper into our previous training and developing the final Thesis Project. We will continue research and innovation agendas using a multi-scalar, experimental and realistic approach and turning the final projects into living platforms for academic research, business development or direct impact on open source communities.

We have three types of Thesis projects, related to each quarter of the programme, and each with its specific objectives:

2.1 Implementation: tutorials carried out with the directors of the master, directors of the study workshop, and guest experts to reinforce the ability to articulate innovation projects in the real world incorporating the acquired knowledge.

2.2 Validation: developing a series of strategies during the implementation of the final Masters project for its economic, environmental, social, and communicative assessment.

2.3 Dissemination: developing the communication strategies (in traditional and innovative media: digital field, print or performative) and dissemination actions in the academic area.

3 Residency Programme

The programme also offers a 9-month residency program working on a first-rate research project at Fab Lab Barcelona, IAAC and Elisava. You will become a full-fledged junior researcher at the host institution, working hand in hand with the project teams and with the guide of a research mentor.

*The Residency Programme commencement and the positions offered are subject to early review.

If you want to know more about the Master in Design for Emergent Futures download the brochure here or check the master’s website:

Partners and projects

Below are some of the projects offered in previous editions for the residency program and some of the program partners:

Do you want to know more about the Masters’ School?

Each academic year, students with very diverse professional and cultural profiles of more than 80 nationalities from all over the world attend their master’s or postgraduate training at Elisava. We want to promote connections and networks among students beyond the context of each master’s degree to promote the exchange of knowledge through very diverse projects: we organize interdisciplinary workshops and conferences; transdisciplinary projects with students from several master’s degrees; collaborations with companies, institutions and NGOs…

Interdisciplinary workshops Collaborations with companies, institutions and NGOs Elisava Masters’ Talks and lectures Elisava Alumni

Masters’ Scholarships

Do you want to study the Master in Design for Emergent Futures at Elisava? In this section you will be able to check all the information on the annual call for scholarships, which recognize, reward and disseminate the talent and excellence of future master’s students.

Elisava Masters’ Scholarships