A School of Schools, the theme for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, will "use, test, and revise a variety of educational strategies to reflect on the role of design, knowledge, and global connectedness" in Istanbul and around the world. Two calls for ideas—one for "schools" and one for "learners"—have been opened to interested parties.
An open call is extended to all designers, architects, scientists, engineers, chefs, craftspeople, activists and everyone else. Fuelled by a research and process-orientated approach, A School of Schools will manifest in a variety of formats in many locations, in addition to the six-week intensive in Istanbul from 22 September to 4 November 2018.
Details can be found in full here.
Call for Schools
"Individuals, collectives and organisations are invited to express interest, indicate availability and resources, and propose new and old educational models for implementation and exhibition. Educational models should be presented in the format of a ‘school’, whether workshop, laboratory, tutorial, university, online network, camp, field trip or any other format. The proposal should not only include research, methodology, process, and duration of the school – from one hour to one year – but also its outcome. Schools may be location-specific, travelling or digital; and can either be submitted with a predefined set of participants, such as an existing school with existing students, or open to establishing a group of learners. Schools that subvert or reframe traditional pedagogical theories and binaries such as teacher and student, question and answer, and demonstrate a clear exhibition output will be given preference."
Call for Learners
"Learners—including people, bots and machines—from all disciplines are invited to apply to participate in the schools and express interest in particular themes. A portfolio of existing work, an expression of passion and capacity to learn, and a skills matrix are required. A School of Schools will curate an exciting cast of learners willing to share as much as they grow, and contribute to the range of perspectives explored."
The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts have announced that Jan Boelen has been appointed as Curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennale. This follows the 3rd- Are We Human?-which opened in September 2016 and was curated by Mark Wigley and Beatriz Colomina with a powerful, wide-reaching exploration of design and architecture in relation "the design of the species."
Curatorial Statement: A School of Schools
The amount of information in the world is more than doubling every two years. People know more than ever before. Lifelong learning is touted as the only way to keep a job and keep your head. Chalk and talk, and reciting multiplication tables has no chance against the animated distractions in our pockets. Meanwhile, the machines themselves have started learning too. What will be left for humans to do and which mental faculties remain irreplaceable are hot topics. Is it time to go back to school – and redesign it?
Alternative design education initiatives have consistently provided a brave space for experimentation and new knowledge, from the Bauhaus to Black Mountain College, and from Global Tools to the Sigma Group. These initiatives have not only helped design evolve, question itself and push its own boundaries, but also education and learning in general. Not only concerned with design, many of these experiments have also tested alternative ways of living, working, and connecting with each other and ourselves. Through this process-based experiential research, new manifestations, meanings, and implications of design have surfaced.
Today, design has become a form of enquiry, power and agency. It has become vaster than the world and life itself, permeating all layers of everyday life. As design becomes pervasive, the discipline can no longer claim to offer solutions to everything. In fact, the one-size-fits-all approach of many universal global systems is showing its cracks and exclusions. Similarly, design education – where the field and its practitioners have traditionally been reviewed and refined – now finds itself navigating new constraints and challenges regarding relevance, adaptability, accessibility, and finances.
As a space for critical reflection on design established in a historically rich context, the Istanbul Design Biennial offers the opportunity to question the very production and replication of design and its education. In 2018, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial builds on the legacy of previous editions, in order to reinvent itself and become a productive process-orientated platform for education and design to research, experiment and learn in and from the city and beyond.
Titled A School of Schools, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial will stretch both the space and time of the traditional design event, manifesting as a flexible year-long programme within which to respond to global acceleration, generating alternative methodologies, outputs and forms of design and education. A School of Schools manifests as a set of dynamic learning formats encouraging creative production, sustainable collaboration, and social connection. Exploring eight themes, the learning environment is a context of empowerment, reflection, sharing and engagement, providing reflexive responses to specific situations.
Can the biennial use, question and reframe previously tried-and-tested education models—from the museum-as-encyclopedia to the laboratory, the studio and the academy—to create a setting for meaningful dialogue and design? Can design itself be a brave space for people to share their knowledge and ignorance, their experience and curiosity?
Engaging multigenerational, transdisciplinary practitioners from Turkey and abroad, A School of Schools brings together old and new knowledge, academic and amateur, professional and personal, focusing on the process as much as the outcomes. Together, agents in this complex and ambitious ecosystem will create new knowledge, search for alternatives to implemented systems, and with radical diversity, push the boundaries of the design discipline.