Social Inclusion of Migrants: World Building for Social Inclusion

In coordination with the Department of Media and Visual Arts at Koç University (MAVA), the Pop-Up City Lab was organized as part of the Participatory Design Conference (PDC) 2022, titled "Embracing Cosmologies: Expanding Worlds of Participatory Design."


At the Istanbul&I Office, Karaköy / Istanbul / TURKEY


Start: 05.08.2022
End: 05.08.2022



In coordination with the Department of Media and Visual Arts at Koç University (MAVA), the Pop-Up City Lab was organized as part of the Participatory Design Conference (PDC) 2022, titled "Embracing Cosmologies: Expanding Worlds of Participatory Design." The event took place between August 19th and September 1st, and it built upon the broader themes of political, systemic, and pluralistic aspects of participatory design research and practice. The UNIC team at Koç University collaborated with the MAVA team to organize Workshop #3, titled "Social Inclusion of Migrants: World Building for Social Inclusion," within the framework of Pop-up City Labs. This workshop was held under the general theme of "Worldbuilding Workshop: Speculating for Social Inclusion in 2050," aiming to address the challenge of migrant inclusion through a solution-based approach that employed co-speculation on possible futures and creative thinking.

Prior to the workshop, participants were provided with a short survey requesting pre-workshop information, consent, and short social inclusion stories set in 2050 Istanbul. The deadline for submission was three days before the workshop on August 5th. These stories were then published on a website ( Through thematic analysis, assisted by three facilitators, themes related to social inclusion conflicts in 2050 were identified. These themes were used to construct a short story titled "A Day in 2050s," which was sent to the participants one day prior to the workshop. The initial themes were placed around the mandala, which served as a focal point during the workshop. Each group selected three to four main conflict issues, with one assigned to each group. Additionally, all registered participants were expected to create a persona living in 2050, including the character's name, beliefs, values, age, occupation, and their likes and dislikes about Istanbul.

During the workshop, participants were divided into groups, and based on the specified conflicts, they filled in the mandalas according to the personas they had created.

The conflicts were as follows:

Group 1: Social-Inclusion / Super-Diversity Conflict 1: Increased migration due to the climate crisis leads to ongoing socio-political tensions, although climate-related incidents occasionally alleviate emotional strains between communities.

Group 2: Social-Inclusion / Super-Diversity Conflict 2: The shrinking workforce causes anxiety among middle-aged adults, while young individuals born after 2020 have adapted to remote learning and working, owning multiple digital citizenships that foster positive tendencies towards super-diversity among the younger generation.

Group 3: Social-Inclusion / Super-Diversity Conflict 3: Technological advancements and their widespread integration in all aspects of life have created a digital divide, leaving some individuals without access or the ability to use technology, thereby excluding them from remote learning, work, and social life.

The themes covered Learning and Occupations, Cities and Nature, Justice, Society, Culture, Technology, and Wellbeing and Recreation. The ecological scales considered were Social, ranging from the world/city scale to the society, family, and individual scales.

2050 Mandala: Session 1

  1. How would you describe living in Istanbul 2050? When you step out, what do you experience?
  2. How people feel connected/included? What motivates/discourages people around you?

Session 2:

  1. What makes Istanbul/Istanbulites unique in addressing or tackling your conflict?
  2. Within your communities, what are the key emotions, actions and/or events that promote hope/fear against your conflict?

After the workshop: We brought together all possible future mandalas and stories of each possible future, and they are published on a website. The outputs were shared with the participants. A post-activity quest was sent, asking about their experience.

During the workshop: The workshop took place in Istanbul&I Office, on August 5th, from 17:30 to 20:30.

16:30 - preparation

17:00 - welcoming and introduction of the team. Intro to WB and workshop.

17:20 - intro of groups and conflicts.

17:30 - group work starts with mandala discussions. (Physical with post its and digitized by the assistants) Each individual has 5 minutes to individually get prepared. (5 min) First round: 3 minutes to present their post its. (3 x 5-6: 20 minutes) Second round: 3 minutes to present their post its. (3 x 5-6 : 20 minutes)

18:20 - 10 minutes break.

18:30 - Each group’s representative presents their mandala to other groups: 10 minutes each. 30 min in total.

19:00 - Each individual writes a design fiction story based on one of the mandala and possible futures created by their group, including a design solution for the main conflict of their group. (20 minutes)

19:20 - 10 minutes break.

19:30 - Each individual read their story out loud. 15/20 x 3 minutes: 45/60 minutes.

20:30 - 30 minutes of reflections on the possible futures, conflicts, stories, solutions, WB method, co-creation, design fictions, and the whole workshop in general

Total participants: 33

Total students: 8 KU + 8 Students

Total Staff members: 7

Total representatives of societal stakeholder: 3

At the conclusion of the workshop, each group consolidated all the possible future mandalas and shared their stories for each envisioned future. The workshop served as a platform for participants to imagine what it would be like to live in Istanbul in 2050 and to analyze the factors that either promote or hinder social inclusion and connectivity. The workshop also explored the distinctive characteristics of Istanbul and its inhabitants in addressing the identified conflicts, including the emotions, actions, and events that foster hope or fear within their communities.

Subsequent to the workshop, all the mandalas and stories depicting possible futures were collected and published on a dedicated website. The outcomes were shared with the participants, and a post-activity survey was conducted to gather their feedback on the overall experience.

In summary, the Pop-Up City Lab workshop effectively employed a worldbuilding approach to tackle the challenge of migrant inclusion, fostering creative thinking and speculation about potential futures. By fostering collaboration between the Department of Media and Visual Arts at Koç University and the UNIC team, the workshop contributed to the broader objective of bridging the gap between government and academia in the field of urban sustainability.


UNIC CityLabs | inclusion | Inclusion


Diversity and Inclusion | Social inclusion | Diversity | Migration

Type of Case

Workshop | participatory design



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