Newsletter May 2021

6 keynotes, 20 workshops and 4 special sessions, 16 tracks with over 70 presentations, online collaboration platform and more – Welcome to the Futures Conference 2021!

This year’s Futures Conference is built on a versatile platform called Howspace. It is an Al-powered digital collaboration tool, easy to use, flexible and secure. You will find the programme, links to the various sessions, presentations of the keynote speakers, poster exhibition, workshop recordings, all on the same platform. Participants will get access to the platform a week before the conference and it stays open until 30 June.

The Conference will be live streamed from Turku. The city is located in the region of Southwest Finland and is one of Finland’s biggest cities. We hope you can visit us later – when it is possible again.

Conference session programme is published on the website

The preliminary schedule on sessions has been published on the conference website. We are currently communicating with all 100+ authors to finalise the forthcoming Book of Abstracts. All the abstracts will be available well in advance of the event. Preliminary session programme.

Meet our inspiring keynote, Mr. Olli-Pekka Heinonen

One of our keynotes, Mr. Olli-Pekka Heinonen is former Director General at the Finnish National Agency of Education. The International Baccalaureate Organization (IB) has appointed Mr. Heinonen as the next Director General starting from 1 May 2021. Read more about Mr. Heinonen.

Sneak peek at the Special Sessions

  • The future of learning, skills and work force in Finland until 2035
    This special session introduces the Finnish national foresight process concerning future needs for work force, needs for education and needs for skills.
  • Beyond Industry 4.0 Curriculum: Challenges of Multi-contextual Learning World
    This session discusses futures of learning and learning of futures in the European Industry 4.0 context and guides us to deeper learning of futures challenges.
  • Sources and risks of digital transformation
    This session deals with artificial intelligence, bio-economy and fourth industrial revolution as drivers of transformation, and what impacts they have on learning and education.
  • Teaching futures competences for educational actors in Finland
    This session presents three case studies on futures guidance in educational contexts in Finland, combining futures research approach and methods with student and career counselling.

Collaboration with two highly recognised scientific journals

We are pleased to collaborate with journals “On the Horizon (OTH)” and “European Journal of Futures Research (EJFR)”, which will be publishing the top research papers presented at the conference. Read more.

Conference side-event: Foresight Europe Network (FEN) annual meeting 2021

Learn about foresight activity in Europe, meet other foresight makers, and share your ideas for future foresight work. The Foresight Europe Network (FEN) Annual Meeting on 7 June is free and open to all. Read more.

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Newsletter March 2021

Welcome to the Futures Conference 2021!

The Learning Futures – Futures of Learning online conference is less than three months away! This year’s programme consists of interactive virtual workshops and cross-disciplinary parallel sessions, providing a space for the futures community to tackle the pressing global ecological, cultural, societal and economic challenges. Education and learning have an essential role to play in solving these issues, with the development of futures learning at all levels of education and in wider society offering a potential pathway for renewal.

In addition, our keynote speakers will critically address a diverse range of topical themes:

  • Critical factors in futures of (un)equal education: access, content, application
  • Learning from transformation, for transformation beyond pandemic
  • Futures Literacy – ideas for the 21st Century Literacy
  • Co-evolution of human capabilities and intelligent technologies for future competences

We welcome you to join, discuss, and be inspired by the current and forthcoming developments of futures of learning and education!

Remember to reserve your seat at the event – Early bird fees expire 31 March
Thank you all who have already registered! For others: please note that you can find the registration fee categories and the registration form at the event website. Do remember that the favourable early-bird fee is valid until the end of this month. Reserve your front row seat.

The winner of the €30.000 Pentti Malaska Futures Award will be announced at the conference
We are looking for research-based, visionary, and boundary-crossing solutions supporting the building of a more sustainable global future.The competition is open (5 March – 26 April) to Nordic futures researchers and multidisciplinary research teams with a future-oriented research approach. Further information about the Award.

Meet some of our distinguished conference speakers

Linda Mannila
The event will be facilitated by Dr. Linda Mannila. Linda Mannila is an educator, researcher, writer and facilitator with over 20 years of work experience at the crossroads of digitalisation and education.

Nick Balcom Raleigh
Nick Balcom Raleigh is a project researcher at Finland Futures Research Centre. He is co-chair of the UNESCO Chair on Learning for Transformation and Planetary Futures. He also serves as Vice President of Foresight Europe Network.

Markku Wilenius
Markku Wilenius is a Professor of Futures Studies in Turku School of Economics at the University of Turku. He is UNESCO Chair on Learning for Transformation and Planetary Futures. He also is Dean of the Dubai Futures Academy.

Recent articles related to the conference themes

Turning uncertainty into opportunity: a new way to use-the-future
Researchers at the FLxDeep initiative turn uncertainty and complexity into assets and opportunities that enable innovation, leadership, discovery, choice, knowledge, and more. Read the article.

Perspective: Towards a More Resilient World
Professor Markku Wilenius’ article focuses on managing global risks in the new age of growing complexity. In the post-Covid-19 world, it seems that there are various alternative pathways to the future. Read the article.

Demystifying futures literacy, a key skill for climate innovation
Nick Balcom Raleigh and Irianna Lianaki-Dedouli explain how Futures Literacy can help sustainability innovators invent new approaches to addressing climate change. Read the article.

Newsletter February 2021

Renew your understanding on learning, teaching and developing new knowledge – Welcome to the Futures Conference 2021! 

Finland Futures Research Centre, Finland Futures Academy and Finnish National Agency for Education welcomes you to join ‘Learning Futures – Futures of Learning’ conference where you can meet, share and discuss new ideas concerning futures and learning.

Due to the current pandemic this 21st Futures Conference will be organised 8–9 June 2021 fully online as a virtual conference. During the conference days you will have a great opportunity to connect with other participants via a special conference platform. In addition to the interaction the program will consist of keynote lectures, parallel sessions, participatory workshops and a chaired poster session. We have already reserved a seat for over 100 presenters with most interesting topics to talk about and are looking forward to have multidisciplinary, stimulating and critical discussions that promote networking between people from different backgrounds and interested in futures issues.

Programme at a glance

Keynote lectures, workshops, interactive workshops, posters, connecting with colleagues around the world and more. View the programme at a glance.

Early bird fees expiry 31 March

Registration fees are now updated to the website and the registration is open. Note that the early bird fees are valid until 31 March.
Reserve your front row seat

Meet some of our distinguished keynotes

sanna jarvela (800 x 535)

Sanna Järvelä is a Professor in the field of learning and educa-tional technology and a head of the Learning and Educational Technology Research Unit in University of Oulu, Finland. Her keynote speech will concentrate on co-evolution of human capa-bilities and intelligent technologies for future competences.

poli (800 x 534)

Roberto Poli is a UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems and is a Professor of Philosophy of Science at Trento University, Italy.
His keynote speech will concentrate on the Futures Literacy and the ideas for the 21st Century Literacy.

mwagiru (800 x 1132)

Njeri Mwagiru is a Senior Futurist at the Institute for Futures Research (IFR), Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She leads the African Futures portfolio, and is editor of the IFR publications on African Business Futures. Her keynote speech will focus on the equality of education.

Newsletter November 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We hope this November Newsletter for the Futures Conference“Learning Futures – Futures of Learning” finds you in good health.

After a long consideration, the final decision is now made, our Learning Futures Conference will be organised fully online on 8–9 June 2021.

The idea is to have keynote lectures, workshops presentations and participatory workshops – not as usual, but virtually in a more efficient and innovative way. We will also share and discuss posters, have virtual booths for futures organisations, but most important, we will meet and share ideas with colleagues from all over the world. As organisers we are really excited about this opportunity to try new ways of making futures and widen our network.

Note to the speakers: Those of you who have submitted an abstract to the conference earlier will receive an email and link to a short survey. In order to start preparing for the event, we need your confirmation on whether or not you are willing and able to join this online conference. We appreciate your quick response at the latest on 20 December.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Futures Conference Secretariat
Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku

Other news:

Join us in: UNESCO HIGH-LEVEL FUTURES LITERACY SUMMIT: Overcoming ‘poverty of the imagination’, 8–12 December 2020. The Summit will be organised online.


“The pandemic triggered a futures tsunami” by Sirkka Heinonen,

“AI to the rescue: Will artificial intelligence lead the way towards the sustainability development goals and a new green deal era?” by Mikkel Stein Knudsen & Jari Kaivo-oja,


Welcome to explore the world of futures studies through the fresh new voices of students! Each year we publish a collection of student work, which includes some of the most interesting student papers that have been submitted on futures studies courses offered by the University of Turku and Finland Futures Academy:

Minkkinen, Matti – Ahlqvist, Toni – Kolehmainen, Jari – Mäki, Maija – Parkkinen, Marjukka – Siivonen, Katriina – Tapio, Petri & Arvonen, Anne (eds) (2020) Coolest Student Papers at Finland Futures Research Centre 2019–2020. Tulevaisuuden tutkimuskeskuksen valittuja opiskelijatöitä 2019–2020. FFRC eBooks 5/2020.    

Wilenius, Markku & Jones, Ana (2020) Arctic Blue Resort Kontiolahti – Co-responsibility Handbook. FFRC eBooks 3/2020.

Newsletter October 2020

Dear Colleagues,

First of all, we would like to thank you for your interest in our “Learning Futures – Futures of Learning” conference. Although the conference has been postponed until June 2021, we have decided to publish a monthly newsletter to keep you up-to-date about our forthcoming events as well as provide you information on our latest futures research and publications.

Updates of the June 2021 event will be available in our next newsletter; registration, revised call for abstracts etc.

Considering the changes and hardship the world is facing in this Coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to expand our futures thinking skills to build up our resilience and preparedness. We do hope you find our information and research material useful. 

In this first newsletter for October 2020, we are pleased to introduce to you a very important summit that we are also taking part in:

Overcoming ‘poverty of the imagination’

8–12 December 2020, online & UNESCO HQ, Paris

At this Summit, UNESCO member states and government representatives, international and not-for-profit organizations, as well as the private sector will express their commitment to the development and diffusion of Futures Literacy as an essential competency for the realization of humanity’s aspirations in the 21st Century.

The Summit will consist of three different strands: high-level plenary sessions, Futures Literacy Agora and Global Futures Literacy Network side-events online and open to the public. The Agora is consisting of more than fifty booths and showcases the activities that engage with human anticipatory systems and practices.

More information and registration will be available soon at:  

We hope to see you online at the UNESCO Summit on December – do visit Finland Futures Research Centre’s Futures Literacy Agora booth and meet our researchers!

Best regards,
Futures Conference Secretariat


  • [Futures Studies PhD thesis] Kurki, Sofi (2020) Foresight and Transformation: Observing Pioneers in Our Changing Societies. Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, Ser. E, Tom. 62: Oeconomica, Turku 2020.
  • [Futures Studies PhD thesis] Mäkelä, Marileena (2020) The past, present and future of environmental reporting in the Finnish forest industry. Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, Ser. E, Tom. 58: Oeconomica, Turku 2020.
  • [Futures Studies PhD thesis] Minkkinen, Matti (2020) A Breathless Race for Breathing Space. Critical-analytical futures studies and the contested co-evolution of privacy imaginaries and institutions. Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, Ser. E, Tom. 55: Oeconomica, Turku 2020.
  • Jones, Ana & Wilenius, Markku (2020) In Greensight: Healthier Futures for Urban Cores in Transition. Cities & Health.
  • Knudsen, Mikkel Stein & Kaivo-oja, Jari (2020) Collaborative Robots: Frontiers of Current Literature. Journal of Intelligent Systems: Theory and Applications, Vol. 3, Issue 2, p. 13–20.
  • Mäkelä, Marileena – Parkkinen, Marjukka – Lyytimäki, Jari & Nygrén, Nina A. (2020) Futures Images of Woodchips as an Energy Source in Finland. Futures, Vol. 121, August 2020.
  • O’Mahony, Tadhg & Luukkanen, Jyrki (2020) Transition through ‘Sustainable Wellbeing’, an Approach to Overcome What Consumes Us. In: Diemer, A. – Morales, M. – Nedelciu, C. – Schellens, M. & Oostdijk, M. (eds) (2020) Paradigms, Models, Scenarios and Practices for Strong Sustainability, p. 219–230.
  • Santaoja, Minna & Jauho, Mikko (2020) Institutional Ambiguity and Ontological Politics in Integrating Sustainability into Finnish Dietary Guidelines. Sustainability, 12(13).
  • Vuola, M. – Korkeakoski, M. – Vähäkari, N. – Dwyer, M. B. – Hogarth, N. J. – Kaivo-oja, J. – Luukkanen, J. – Chea, E. – Thuon, T. & Phonhalath, K. (2020) What is a Green Economy? Review of National-Level Green Economy Policies in Cambodia and Lao PDR. Sustainability, 12(16).
  • Vähäkari, Noora – Lauttamäki, Ville – Tapio, Petri – Ahvenainen, Marko – Assmuth, Timo – Lyytimäki, Jari & Vehmas, Jarmo (2020) The Future in Sustainability Transitions – Interlinkages between the multi-level perspective and futures studies. Futures,

Welcome to the first online Pre-Event of the Futures Conference 2021

The current pandemic is affecting all spheres of life and societies worldwide. Due to this the Futures Conference organisers have made a decision to transform, extend the activities, and re-schedule the 2020 conference.

In addition to the conference to be organised during 79 June 2021 in Helsinki, we will be arranging two pre-events. The first taking place on 11 June 2020 and the second in October 2020. Both online sessions will be open and free to all interested participants. Further details about the October session will be available later on these pages.

Welcome to the first online Pre-Event of the Futures Conference 2021

11 June 2020 at 12.00–16.00 (UTC+3)


12.00 Opening and introduction to the theme of the event
Professor Markku Wilenius, Dubai Future Academy and Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku

12.30 Keynote Speech: What have we learnt in Finland about teaching/education during coronavirus pandemic
Director General Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Finnish National Agency for Education, EDUFI, Finland


13.30 Break [15 min]

13.45 Panel Discussion: Futures Skills in a Volatile World
Panelist: Erica Bol, Changemaker for Teach the Future Europe, the Netherlands; Professor Sanna Järvelä, University of Oulu, Finland; Research Manager Johanna Ollila, Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku and Dr. Rocco Scolozzi, Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento; Skopia Anticipation Services®, Italy

14.30 Chaired discussion groups

15.10 Break [5 min]

15.15 Introduction to Futures Consciousness
Researchers Sanna Ahvenharju and Matti Minkkinen, Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku


16.00 Closing of the event
Director, Dr. Juha Kaskinen, Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku

Please note, this programme is subject to change.

Access link to the online session (via Zoom) will be sent to all the registered participants in well advance to the session. The session recording as well as the presentation slides will be available afterwards at this page.

The Futures Consciousness Test will be available for all participants. You will receive an invitation link to the test at the same time with the Zoom link. We hope you can find time to do the test before the session.

> Registration by 7 June at the latest

You are welcome to join the discussion on futures skills in a volatile world!

If you have any questions about the arrangements, do not hesitate to contact us via

Privacy notice

Conference rescheduled

Dear all,

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic, and as the infectious disease continues to spread, the effects on public health are unmistakable. The situation and consequences of the pandemic are far more serious than we knew two weeks ago when we informed about the conference arrangements. Some estimations and modellings show that the corona virus will stay for example in Finland from 4 to 6 months. It will cover the dates of the Learning Futures conference. We regret to inform you that the COVID-19 will affect the arrangements of the conference.

We have made a decision that we do not cancel the conference. Instead we are transforming, extending the activities, and rescheduling the conference. In addition to the conference we will be arranging some extra activities as follows:

  • Thursday 11 June 2020. Online session, open and free to all interested participants.
  • 8–9 June 2021: Learning Futures – Futures of Learning conference fully online. In practice, the conference is postponed for a year. We all do wish from the bottom of our hearts that the corona virus pandemic will be over in a year.

Corresponding authors: At this point we would like you to think through your participation and let us know your decision whether you are willing to participate next year or not. We understand if you wish to withdraw your presentation or workshop from the program. Take time to think this through and let us know at the latest Monday 14th of September 2020. We will set up a deadline for updated abstracts later.

Registered participants: We will also contact separately those who have already registered to the conference and paid the registration fee.

We will constantly update the conference webpage to inform about the changes and forthcoming events. Do not hesitate to contact us in any matter related to the conference.

Take a very good care of yourself and your beloved ones!

With kind regards,
the Scientific Board of the conference

Updates on the Conference Preparations and Coronavirus COVID-19

[update 12 March]

We are pleased to inform you that the preparations for the conference are going very well,  but we all really concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are intensively following the news and announcements of the authorities. The government of Finland announced today that all large public events (over 500 participants) in Finland are to be cancelled or postponed until the end of May 2020.

The Futures Conference secretariat has decided to keep on going to organize the conference. If the situation is not getting better, we have to consider other options. In such a case, we will inform all the speakers and those already registered immediately. Due to the current situation we have extended the early bird registration until 17 April 2020.

Extended Early Bird Registration

Due to the current situation we have extented the early bird registration until 17 April. We do recommend you to book your hotel accommodation in well advance. There is a free cancellation to the recommended hotels either 5 or 14 days before the arrival. Take a close look at the details with each hotel.

Cancellation of the Conference registration must be made in writing (email) to before 10 May. No fees will be refunded after this date. A processing fee of EUR 50 will be deducted from all refunds.

In the event that the meeting is cancelled by the Meeting Organisers, or cannot take place for any reason outside the control of the Meeting Organisers, the registration fee shall be refunded in full. The liability of the Meeting Organiser shall be limited to that refund.

The COVID-19 Situation in Finland

So far, 109 laboratory-confirmed cases caused by the new coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed in Finland (situation: 12 March 2020).

Coronavirus COVID-19 – Latest Updates from Finnish authorities.