Museum Symposium The World Around x Future Observatory

In Focus: Research

Join The World Around and the Design Museum’s Future Observatory to explore the inspiring and visionary landscape of cutting-edge research-driven cultural practitioners who see research as activism, as architecture and as an artistic practice.

What to expect

The World Around & Future Observatory present In Focus: Research, the 2024 symposium dedicated to the radical power of research for envisioning new approaches to design. The speakers of the day reflect the urgent need to champion truly new ideas and thinking to address the world’s profound environmental and social challenges.

This event is now sold out.


Adrian Lahoud, Royal College of Art

Lahoud is an architect, urban designer and researcher, and Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. Responding to a need for a planetary-scale response to the climate crisis, his project The Second Sea is an online platform that calculates the damages proportionately owed by the world’s nations to coastal cities at risk from rising sea levels.

Eyal Weizman, Forensic Architecture

Weizman is a Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the founding director of Forensic Architecture. Since 2010, Weizman has led the award-winning agency comprising architects, scientists, computer programmers, video editors, and lawyers to investigate human rights violations around the world. Weizman is a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court and of the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Feifei Zhou

Zhou is a Chinese-born artist and architect, whose work explores spatial, cultural, and ecological impacts of the industrialized built environment. With Anna Tsing, Jennifer Deger and Alder Keleman Saxena, she co-edited Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene, an online interactive platform for scientific research into, and research dissemination about, feral species and feral dynamics in the Anthropocene.

Henk Ovink, Global Commission on the Economics of Water

Ovink is the Executive Director for the Global Commission on the Economics of Water and Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute. Ovink served as the first ever global water ambassador for over 8 years, appointed in 2015 by the Cabinet of the Netherlands as Special Envoy for International Water Affairs. He is the author of the book “Too Big, Rebuild by Design: A Transformative Approach to Climate Change.”

Indy Johar, Dark Matter Labs

Johar is an architect and the co-founder of Dark Matter Labs—a field laboratory focused on building the institutional infrastructures for radical civic societies, cities, regions and towns. Dark Matter analyzes the shifts required in the underlying ‘dark matter’—monetary, economic, governance, regulatory and policy systems—to manifest transformations in our food, housing, land, material and nature systems towards a future of mutual thriving.

Julia King, LSE Cities

King is an architect, teacher and urban researcher. Her design-led research at the London School of Economics studies the urbanizing world and its impact on marginalized communities. From analyzing the impacts of mass-migration on UK high streets to co-designing sanitation systems for urban settlements in New Delhi, King’s research aims to understand cultural and institutional relationships in areas of dense development, to collaboratively design and build site-specific interventions.

Natsai Audrey Chieza, Faber Futures

Chieza is a designer and the founder of Faber Futures: a multi-disciplinary practice advocating the use of advanced biological technologies in response to urgent global challenges. Learning from non-human life forms, Chieza’s work ranges from experimenting with bacterial dyes to reduce water waste in textile production, to structuring and envisioning policies towards sustainable, resilient bio-economies driven by technology.

Samir Bantal, AMO/OMA

Bantal is the director of AMO, the research arm of the international architecture practice the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), where he is a practicing architect. In his recent research project and exhibition Countryside: The Future, Bantal looks to rural areas whose ecosystems and economies have supported the exponential growth of cities, while suffering most from the impacts of human-related climate change.

Sammy Baloji

Baloji is an artist whose work explores the memory and history of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was born and raised in the contested and mineral-rich Katanga province of the DRC, and his photography, film and sculpture forms an ongoing research project into the cultural, architectural and industrial heritage of the region, as well as a questioning of the impact of Belgian colonization.

Henk Ovink in Khulna, photo by Cynthia van Elk

Flowing Toxins, image by Feifei Zhou and Kirsten Keller

Bio Stories Publication, photo by Toby Coulson © Faber Futures

Normal Phenomena of Life_This is living Campaign, photo by Toby Coulson © Faber Futures

Reed to Clean © Julia King

Aequare: the Future that Never Was, La Biennale di Venezia. By Twenty Nine Studio / Sammy Baloji. Photo by Andrea Avezzù © La Biennale di Venezia

Untitled 17, 2006 Series: Mémoire, by Sammy Baloji

Oysters to Filter © Julia King

Book online

Ticket information

Adult: £10

Student/Concession: £9

Members*: £8

*Please note that this benefit only applies to the cardholding Member’s ticket and not those of additional guests.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Visit our terms & conditions page for further information.

This event is now sold out.

Future Observatory

Future Observatory is the Design Museum’s national research programme for the green transition. Acting as both a coordinating hub for a nationwide programme, as well as a research department within the museum, Future Observatory curates exhibitions, programmes events and funds and publishes new research, all with the aim of championing new design thinking on environmental issues.

The World Around

An innovative nonprofit organisation with a mission to connect, empower and amplify the exceptional new voices and ideas in global architecture. With a focus on and passion for social and ecological justice, The World Around believes great design of all scales and by all people can be a catalyst for extraordinary change. The World Around is supported by Global Cultural Partner Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain.

Arts and Humanities Research Council

This programme is generously supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation. AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects from history and archaeology to philosophy and languages, design and effectiveness of digital content and the impact of artificial intelligence.

For nearly forty years, the Fondation Cartier has maintained a commitment to championing the work of groundbreaking thinkers in and around architecture and design from around the world with the critical presentation of projects, exhibitions, lectures and programs with practitioners such as Junya Ishigami, Jean Nouvel, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Alessandro Mendini, Formafantasma as well Solano Benitez and Gloria Cabral, Freddy Mamani, Mauricio Rocha, and the architect Bijoy Jain whose exhibition at the Fondation Cartier will open in December 2023.

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