In a world of AI, big data and machine learning, creativity might just be the most important skill humans possess. It’s the key to innovation and to developing the courage we need to explore the unknown. At this unprecedented time, creativity has a vital role to play: it should not be overlooked but instead must be prioritised as humanity looks for a new way forward. 

ModUAL is the University of the Arts London’s collaborative online workshop. Since 2015 it has been empowering art students of all disciplines to use their talents for positive change and to develop the skills that they will need for their careers as they do so. 

In July 2020, with partnership from the British Council, we opened our workshop to external participants from all backgrounds and locations. We welcomed students, graduates, professionals and the curious minded from across the planet to join with our students to discover, develop and deliver creative initiatives that would address humanity’s needs at this unique moment in history. 

Over two weeks they collaborated with other talented practitioners to imagine, develop and pitch creative projects for positive change, focussing on the climate emergency and a post-COVID world. In the process they turbo-charged their creative skill-set through direct experience of a range of creative disciplines, social enterprise and start-up cultures, agile practise and design thinking tools. They also had a lot of fun in the process. The final projects were unveiled to the world in a pitch event to academia, industry and the general public. 

This Modual: Open Futures workshop cost nothing to take part in: however there was an application process to which 900 prospective participants applied after which 200 final participants were chosen. Just over half of these were UAL students and the remainder came from a range of backgrounds and from all over the world. The final experience was an unforgettable one for all concerned.