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This is the first of a two part exhibition exploring how we can use the arts to creatively imagine future possibilities. Read full details about the second part here.

Future Knowledge uses the gallery as a public studio to bring the future creatively into being through art, design and events. This unconventional exhibition invites your participation; it asks that you come with an open mind to spark the imagination for future city life.

Future Knowledge offers new perspectives on Oxford – a city of learning – as an urban site that we can learn from. Future Knowledge combines artistic visual research with creative methods from design, ecology and systems thinking. In Oxford, the pressures on housing and widening communities lead to wildly different experiences of city life. These diverse viewpoints are explored through conversation, images and events, to ask how we can imagine alternative future possibilities for city life.

Future Knowledge generates content over time and is a response to key questions for art in this era of social and environmental change: Can thinking and talking about visual culture make us better at understanding different perspectives? Can images and events help us to understand the world better, as well as our place within in it? Can artistic and interdisciplinary research reveal seeds of alternative futures?

“The future can’t be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being… We can’t surge forward with certainty into a world of no surprises, but we can expect surprises and learn from them…” – Donnella Meadows, environmental scientist

Future Knowledge also hosts Playback, a nationally touring exhibition that brings together over 150 short films made by young artist filmmakers. The exhibition, situated in the Piper Gallery from 20 May to 4 June, is made up of individual touchscreens – choose what to watch from drama, comedy, dance, and spoken word to discover the filmmakers of tomorrow.

Playback Touring Exhibition in association with Random Acts is funded by Arts Council England and is a joint initiative with Channel 4.

Contributors to Future Knowledge include:
Rachel Barbaresi, David Batchelor, Environmental Change Institute, Buckminster Fuller/Foster + Partners, Kazem Hakimi, Sam Herklots/Film Oxford, Ben Highmore, Young Knives, Amelia Ideh, Lucy Kimbell, Gustav Metzger, Andy Owen, Playback in association with Random Acts

Download the Exhibition Notes here: Future Knowledge Exhibition Notes

Download the Activity Sheet here: Future Knowledge Activity Sheet 


"Engaging with our personal relationship to Oxford past present and future."

— Visitor comment

"Kids fully engaged and having fun."

— Event participant, urbansuburban (May 2017)

"Urgently needed, relevant and timely exhibition!"

— Visitor, via Twitter

"Learning about St. Ebbes and the pictures of Blackbird Leys was interesting."

— Visitor comment

"We would like to come again!"

— Visitor comment

"I love participatory art."

— Visitor comment

"This is brilliant, it’s such an innovative exhibition."

— Visitor comment

"Of all exhibitions I’ve seen in museums around the world I’ve never seen an exhibition like this - it’s different and fresh."

— Visitor comment