Imagining Future Crimes

A one day symposium I organised at the RCA, set to explore speculative design as a tool to imagine future crimes and using deviant behaviour as agent of investigation and innovation. Participants did collaboratively create scenarios that imagine and discuss the role design could play in investigating and instigating crimes as well as the “creative” miss use of technology.

Prof. Paul Ekblom (Crime Scientist)
Ilona Gaynor (Designer & Film maker)
Thomas Thwaites (Designer)
Owen Wells (Designer)

Anthony Zboralski (Former professional “bank-robber” & Security Expert)
Ke Yan Wei (Scientist / Synthetic Biology)
Koby Barhad (Designer)
Robert J. Brownlow (New Scotland Yard)



This project is part of a larger endeavour that is seeking new roles for design. How does design thinking and speculation sit within the area of crime? Could deviant behaviour be seen as an extreme form of (ab)user experience?

As part of finding answers to these questions and potentially opening up more questions i organised this symposium at the RCA. I was in particular interested how students with diverse backgrounds would react to the briefing of imagining future crimes. For the workshop students teamed up into groups and developed three scenarios within the topics: Synthetic Biology, Outer space and Artificial Intelligence. Each team also received a scenario-building “future crimes construction kit” to supply a framework for their imaginative stories.