Flying wheelchairs, wi-fi clothes, cancer cures and world peace – Life in 2067 as imagined by young people
It was the culmination of a series of workshops in which the children explored the history of the former Ford site and their thoughts and views on living in Mansbridge and Swaythling.
In earlier sessions the children had studied archival resources such maps, documents, news cuttings and oral history quotes to look at how the site had changed over time – from fields to the Cunliffe-Owen aircraft factory during the Second World War, and then Ford Transit van production to the rapidly transforming new site today. They brushed up on their skills of asking questions, active listening and engaging with older people in a reminiscence context. So they were fully prepared and eager to find out more when they visited a local sheltered housing block and met older residents who had lived in the area for many years.
At the final session, the past, present and future came together. The children met Brooksy Bear, the long time mascot of Eastleigh Football Club which had been set up by workers at Cunliffe-Owen in the 1940s.
Comparing word clouds created from their own and older people’s responses to a questionnaire about living in Swaythling today led to a fascinating and thought-provoking discussion on how the two generations viewed life and what was important to them.
Finally, asked to imagine what life would be like in 50 years’ time, the children created their vision of Life in 2067 – full of highly imaginative, inspiring, thoughtful and sometimes fun ideas.
There were the fun trampolines dispensing sweets with every jump, cups changing the colour of water, and a desire for unhealthy foods to become healthy and vice versa. There were technological triumphs such as wi-fi clothes, flying wheelchairs, cars and pods and money trees.
Even the ‘No School’ visions – that saw ‘No school! You are born to know everything’ or ‘a contract that lets you skip secondary school’ were interspersed with some extremely reflective comments: “10 year olds wouldn’t have to go to school because they would have a brain implant... It will be worse for them because they’ll know the answer to everything but they won’t know how to work it out” and “I think there will be online school and no proper one and I think that will make people sad because they won’t get to see the people in person.”
In a clear indication of how the children processed current news and events, one pupil clarified that the high-tech skyscraper in his vision would not catch fire and burn down, one hoped “every person will be able to have fresh clean water and proper food...”
Written by Padmini Broomfield