experiential futures, Experiential Futures Ladder, fiction, participatory research


On the 23rd of January 2020, a radio talk show of the future, 20:30 Bruxsels Talks, took place in Brussels. With guests and artists from the year 2030, it discussed how the transition to a climate-proof city had happened since 2019. In this article, we present and frame the development of the show and provide insight into the participative creation process. The radio show exemplifies (a) how future fiction can be used as a tool to evoke change and (b) how the participatory development of futurist fiction can be used as a method to trigger imagination and conversation on what citizens want for our cities. We argue that there is an opportunity for researchers to explore fiction as a method, as a format and as a space. Foresight practitioners who want to create engaging stories may find inspiration in the body of knowledge of arts-based research and the arts.

Note: This article should be read in conjunction with 20:30 Bruxsels Talks: A Script for a Future Fiction Radio Show, in this issue, written by the same author team and published in this volume.

Author Biographies

Khushboo Balwani, Brusselavenir

Khushboo Balwani is a strategic designer and futurist with more than 8 years of experience in India and Belgium. Her work spans from designing collaborative strategies, system design interventions, community creation, writing, storytelling to futures. She is currently leading BrusselAVenir, a citizen lab that makes futures stories, with and for the people of Brussels. In 2012 she wrote a thesis entitled “Future of work in sustainable living 2050”, as part of her MA studies in Strategic Design at Politecnico di Milano. Through this interactive design work she stimulated a strategic conversation among policy-makers, educators and researchers on the conditions for the creation of new ways of work in sustainable living. She was a Ouishare Brussels connector for 5 years and led Ouishare Fest Communication and Programme Design. In 2016, she co-authored the Sharing Cities Book by Shareable. The book is incorporated into the curriculum of multiple universities and several policy makers and city council members are actively using the book. 

Jessica Schoffelen, KU Leuven

Jessica Schoffelen holds a masters degree in Criminological Sciences and a PhD degree in Audiovisual and Visual Arts. She teaches in qualitative, art and design research methods. She collaborated on numerous research projects, ranging from large-scale quantitative research concerning public perception of the Belgian Justice system to small scale participatory action-research concerning slow mobility. She coordinated the training program TRADERS (FP7, Marie Curie Multi-ITN) on how designers and artists can enable participation in public space. During her 12-year appointment as a researcher and teacher in the arts and design university college LUCA School of Arts, she developed a strong expertise in participatory design research, interaction design, smart cities and open design processes. Currently she applies this expertise in the Research group SoMeTHin’K, Social, Methodological & Theoretical Innovation /Kreative of the Centre for Sociological Research (KU Leuven) and throughout several research projects concerning participation and citizenship in the University Colleges Leuven-Limburg.

Karin Hannes, KU Leuven

Karin Hannes is associate professor in research methodology at the Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven, and coordinator of the research group Social, Methodological and Theoretical Innovation with a creative twist. The group pushes towards the development of methods and models for positive change in society.  Prof. Hannes tests, evaluates, implements, and improves existing methods, techniques, models or d.a.t.a sets generated in fields such as urban development, the public art, design and technology sector, community-based research practice and the global sustainable development area. Where necessary, she re-appropriates methods developed in other disciplines for use in the broad field of humanities, or develops her own innovative approach to respond to emerging social challenges, whilst remaining sensitive to quality control and empirical grounding. Her perspective is multimodal in nature, combining numerical, textual, sensory and/or arts-based research d.a.t.a to study complex social phenomena. She specializes in arts-based, place-based and multisensory designs as well as qualitative evidence synthesis as a meta-review technique.



How to Cite

Anthoni, E., Balwani, K., Schoffelen, J., & Hannes, K. (2021). 20:30 BRUXSELS TALKS : FICTION AS A METHOD, FICTION AS A FORMAT, FICTION AS A SPACE FOR PARTICIPATION. Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 6(1), 56–83. https://doi.org/10.18432/ari29553