Making Futures 2021

A Curator's View

The seventh edition of our Making Futures biennial international research conference will be held on 16th September 2021.

Malcolm Ferris

|Curator, Making Futures| Curator, Digital Gallery, National Media Museum| Director of the Plymouth Visual Arts Consortium| Email:|


Malcolm has curated the international biennial Making Futures research conference since its first edition in 2009. Propelled by the Global Climate Emergency, economic and political change, technological innovations and rapidly changing public expectations, Making Futures views new possibilities for small-scale craft, design-to-make, neo-artisanal producers and micro-manufacturers, arguing that these enterprises can be seen as political undertakings in which many molecular acts (of production and consumption) combine to produce vitally important responses to the global challenges we face. This is the sense in which Making Futures views many creative micro-producers as agents of social change, capable of contributing to larger progressive narratives aimed at developing routes to better futures by helping to construct resilient communities capable of embracing both social and environmental justices alongside purposeful economic regeneration. The bi-annual Plymouth, UK, conference has established an excellent international reputation and invited editions have taken place at Beijing Design Week, China; Cheongju, South Korea; and in Cebu in the Philippines.

Malcolm also practices as a curator-writer working across a range of media and formats. For example, he researched and curated the flagship digital gallery for the UK’s National Media Museum – a project that won two national design awards and is widely seen as pioneering media art in mainstream UK museum sites. As a Director of the Plymouth Visual Arts Consortium, he worked with PVAC and the Hayward Gallery to help bring the British Art Show to Plymouth across five city-wide sites. Other projects have explored the dynamics of contemporary Chinese art production and include shows at the 798 Art District (Beijing), DadaPost Gallery (Berlin), Asia Pacific Weeks Festival (Berlin), and Yerba Buena Centre, (San Francisco). He has also regularly supervised and advised on research related programmes both inside and outside the academy, and presented and published for numerous catalogues, journals and international fora, including: Association of American Geographers; American Comparative Literature Association; Akademie der Künste, Berlin; the International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna; the Association of Art Historians, Ephemera, etc