Higher Education Futures: 8 scenarios, 8 tarot cards and 8 short stories

6 Dec 2022
Decorative image of Star with the text 'Higher Education Futures'


Higher Education Futures: 8 scenarios, 8 tarot cards and 8 short stories

We present eight new speculative scenarios for the future of higher education teaching:

  1. Extinction-era universities 
  2. AI academy
  3. The universal university
  4. Extreme unbundling
  5. Justice-driven innovation
  6. Return to the ivory tower
  7. The university of ennui
  8. Enhanced enhancement

We hope that these scenarios will work as a provocation, and a starting point, for new conversations about the future of our universities and the teaching we do through them.

As well as the scenarios themselves, we have produced a collection of speculative short fiction, one for each scenario. Our intention is to use all of this in workshops, talks and other settings where we do collaborative future-making work with colleagues and students.

We offer them to others who may wish to do the same. They are freely re-usable with attribution and consist of:

This work is not a prediction of what will happen. Some of these scenarios could not logically co-exist within the same reality. Rather, they aim to unsettle assumed futures and support us to imagine new, desirable ones. They are told from a particular time and place, and speak to present concerns and hopes.

We hope you will find them enjoyable and useful for your own work – and please get in touch if you would like to talk to us about them.

Professor Siân Bayne

Dr Jen Ross

Dr Michael Gallagher