Ever since the industrial age began, humankind has inscribed itself deeper than any other natural force into the layers of the earth. This is accompanied by inconceivable changes. Carbon and sea levels are rising, biodiversity and resources are shrinking. Technologies are spreading, just like the fear of climate collapse. Questions about the future relationship between humans and the environment are growing ever more urgent.

A person is looking through the viewfinder of a video camera with one eye while operating the camera lens with their hand. Their other eye is closed. The person is visible from the waist up and is also wearing headphones. The camera is on a tripod. In the background there is a forest with trees and grass visible. The trees are not very close together. There is also a woven wooden grid in front of the camera. Empty glass bottles are woven into the wooden grid.

© Maimuna Arafam, Coletivo Cadjigue

How the future of our planet can be grasped is a central theme at HKW. The keyword is “Anthropocene,” the age of humankind. Cultural Education investigates this age with a view to global-effect mechanisms; whether in migration narratives or the proportion of virtual water in, say, a beef steak. Cultural Education is trying to make this era more accessible in its projects.

In the process, our conventional understanding of humankind and the environment is challenged and our view of the world shifts – in a good way.

The image shows a historical map with a section of the Mississippi River in 1944. The currents of the river are shown in different bright colors.

Meandering Mississippi. © Map by Harold N. Fisk,

It’s an invitation to a correspondence with the “Dear Future ....” Whether in Schools of Tomorrow, Cultures d’Avenir or other projects with schools and universities, it’s about designs for future learning or what we need to know for the future, what we can design for the future while learning. It negotiates somewhere between humans, animals, technology, exhaust gases and plants, not to mention the Gulf Stream and viruses. In search of new ways of seeing, understanding and communicating. Is our vocabulary still sufficient for this?

Here you will find further material on the topic. Translations of original English versions into German are linked separately under (Ger.).

The Anthropocene Project (since 2013) – an overview.

A number of school projects on the subject of the environment can be found at Dear Future... (2021), the theme days for Überlebenskunst. Schule (2012) or in The Whole Earth Catalog; Berlin Edition (2013) as well as the discussion Schools and Self-Empowerment in the Climate Crisis (2021) with Eva Stein, Corina Conrad-Beck, Tatjana Beilenhoff-Nowicki, Nora Oehmichen, Quang Paasch, Maren Ziese and Silke Ramelow.

Further reading on the portals of The Anthropocene Curriculum (2021) and New Alphabet School (since 2019) or more specific, for example, in the projects #Healing, #Survivance or the research project Mississippi. An Anthropocene River situated between science, art and education in the Anthropocene (2018/19). Additional publications on the subject include Das Anthropozän, Education Shock, The Whole Earth.