TRADERS Open School {Hasselt, 2017}

The TRADERS Open School was a 10-day academy that brought together art and design thinkers, practitioners and various publics to critically engage in urban processes and discourses through the lenses of agency, participation and public space. The event was premised on the notion that ‘things can be otherwise’, it acted as a challenge to rethink and conceptualise potential urban futures by way of art and design. To do this, the Open School was structured as an academy, a place for learning. Accepting that knowledge is not only held in the head but being actively constructed in situ and practice, we saw the academy as moving from a celebration of genius to a focus on the creation of what Brian Eno termed ‘scenius’, the intelligence that comes from a collective ecology of thinkers. The structure of the 10 days intertwined practice and theory, established thinkers and students, emergent practices and traditional methods, in what we considered an experiential and cognitive generative dance. This dance was a key metaphor for the academy’s organisation, which created an environment and structure for ideas and practices to come together in dialogue without an overly curated programme, instead ‘thinking on our feet’.

*TRADERS OS was organized and co-curated together with Michael Kaethler and Anne van Oppen.

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