world factory workshop

Cambridge Festival of Ideas





‘In conversation’ events – part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 

Location: Faculty of English, Judith E. Wilson Drama Studio

9 West Road, CB3 9DP

All events are free and on a drop in basis, no booking is necessary. The drama studio is located in the basement of the English Faculty.  Age 8+

Theatre practitioner and Lecturer Zoë Svendsen has been developing the practice of ‘research-in-public’ – after the sell-out success of World Factory (Junction) at last year’s Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Zoë will be bringing her artistic team to Cambridge to work on the development of a new performance installation, WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE MAY BE (for performance at the Barbican Centre in 2018).

WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE MAY BE is a collaborative and immersive experiment for the invention of the future, inviting you to ‘rehearse’ possible tomorrows. From robotics to universal basic income and carbon tax, this performance installation puts people at the heart of the decision-making process by which we might transform our futures. For the Festival of Ideas, Zoë and her artistic collaborators will be working on the project in the Judith E Wilson drama studio, and inviting experts to come and respond to the raw ideas of the installation. Please join us for the following conversations:
Wednesday 18th October 4.30pm: In Conversation with: climate change modeller Chris Hope, Cambridge Judge Business School


Saturday 21st October:

11am In Conversation with: Sam Dyer Cambridge Community Fridge Sam Dyer, project  coordinator for Cambridge Sustainable Food  (CSF), will be explaining how the Fridge works to support the community and reduce waste. CSF is a network of individuals and organisations who support local sustainable food. There are over 50 organisational members.


12pm In Conversation with Catherine Rhodes Catherine Rhodes is Academic Project Manager at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, working across its research projects. Her work has broadly focused on the interactions between and respective roles of science and governance in addressing major global challenges


2pm In Conversation with: Renata Tyszczuk.  Renata Tyszczuk is an academic and artist whose work explores the relationship between global environmental change and provisionality in architectural thinking and practice.


3pm In Conversation with: Joe Smith. Joe Smith is Professor of Environment and Society, The Open University, Department of Geography, co-creator of the Stories of Change AHRC-funded project, and co-author of Culture and Climate Change.


4pm In Conversation with: Terry Macalister, former Energy Editor, The Guardian

Terry Macalister was until recently the energy editor of the Guardian. He is an award-winning journalist, author of a book on the Arctic and a former Press Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge.


Monday 23rd October: 4 pm Performing the future: the challenges of acting/action

In conversation with Shôn Dale Jones and Steffi Mueller:

Shôn Dale Jones, performance maker (Hoipolloi, The Duke, Royal Court).  Shôn is Artistic Director of Hoipolloi, who combine original storytelling with an inventive spirit. He is also the award-winning writer/performer behind his comic creation, Hugh Hughes.

Steffi Mueller, performance maker, designer and actor (Hoipolloi)

Works as a freelance actress, designer and workshop leader in the UK, France, Switzerland, USA and recently Greece. Steffi co-founded Hoipolloi.




Arts and Humanities Research Council Workshop – 20 February 2016

Arts and Humanities Research Council Workshop – 20 February 2016

On 20th February 2016, World Factory ran a workshop for current AHRC-funded (Arts and Humanities Research Council) PhD students at Cambridge University. Each group played the game in a custom-designed space, adapted for a smaller number of participants, while keeping the flavour and experience of the full show. The group members knew different amounts about the issues raised by World Factory – some were working on labour laws and the global garment trade, but others worked in disciplines such as literature or history.


Afterwards, there was plenty of time for everyone to discuss how they had found the experience, and what they had got from it. People commented on the ‘incredibly stimulating’ atmosphere and the ‘very engaging and fun’ format, while others saw it as a ‘good opportunity to learn about agency and structure in the global economy.’

When thinking about what World Factory had led them to consider, one participant had gained perspective on their daily choices, saying: ‘Sometimes we make important decisions without realising how important they are.’ For another, their reflection was wider, saying that ‘as a human being this is a very welcome wake-up call regarding our world’.

IAA Workshop – 15 February 2016

IAA Workshop  – 15 February 2016

On 15 February, METIS met with social science researchers from Cambridge University and the Open University to talk about the future of World Factory. Participants included:

Dr Ha-Joon Chang, an economist and author specializing in development economics.

Dr Brendan Burchell, a sociologist who studies the social and psychological effects of precarious employment and unemployment.

Dr Shana Cohen, a sociologist and political activist interested in the politics of social action under neoliberalism and how grassroots social action indicates the emergence of a new political consciousness.

Prof. Joe Smith, a geographer who writes mostly about environmental history, policy, and politics.

The discussion ranged from labour laws to climate change, from workers’ rights to the politics of public space. We thought through how the performance and research could work together to resonate in the public consciousness, and how to integrate these concerns into the World Factory project.

The concerns of World Factory exist in a wider web of global issues, from South-South outsourcing to the UK housing crisis, so we talked about creating more information about these issues through videos and online resources. We also considered creating a book version of World Factory that could be used in schools, universities, and businesses. Key to all of these initiatives was including the people who come to see World Factory in the long-term future of the project, allowing them to keep thinking about these issues and engaging with one another.

Copyright © Metis Arts 2013