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Jan Boelen

"A School of Schools": Interview with Jan Boelen, Curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial

02:00 - 3 October, 2018

Design, in all forms, is a fundamental part of our daily lives; it's even at the core of the new economy. As a result, design education is such an important topic for discussion that design curator and educator Jan Boelen puts at the center of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial.

As the curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, together with associate curators Vera Sacchetti and Nathine Botha, Boelen questions the role of education in design today -- just as the Bauhaus celebrates 100 years.

In a rapidly changing world with an uncertain future we cannot anticipate what will happen in the next few years, nor even the skills that we will need. Instead, we need to develop "learning as an attitude" to constantly deal with change, as Jan discusses in our video interview.

To address these issues the curators laynched an open call with 753 submissions, from which 120 were chosen to be part of "A Schools of Schools". In this strong response Boelen found projects that "are an answer and maybe already a forecast of a new kind of design where speculation, criticality and relational aspects are infusing the traditional design world, that is making solutions for the issues that we have today."

The 120 participations are organized around six schools which occupy six cultural venues in central Istanbul, encouraging visitors to explore the city while visiting the Biennial. Here are the schools and our picks:

Jan Boelen and Deniz Ova, Curators of the 2018 Istanbul Design Biennial, Discuss the Future of Design Education

14:00 - 23 May, 2018
Jan Boelen and Deniz Ova, Curators of the 2018 Istanbul Design Biennial, Discuss the Future of Design Education, Yapi Kredi Kultur Yayincilik, Biennial Venue. Image © Koray Senturk via IKSV
Yapi Kredi Kultur Yayincilik, Biennial Venue. Image © Koray Senturk via IKSV

“Today, design has become a form of inquiry, power, and agency,” say Jan Boelen and Deniz Ova, curator and director of the 2018 Istanbul Design Biennial. “It has become vaster than the world itself, permeating all layers of everyday life.” Their curatorial statement for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, which opens later this year themed with the title “A School of Schools,” seeks to explore how design education, and education in general, can evolve and adapt in a new age of artificial intelligence.

The team is determined that the Biennial should not read as a two-year scheduled event, but should “reinvent itself and become a productive, process-orientated platform for education and design to research, experiment, and learn in.” The team is undoubtedly well equipped for the challenge.

2018 Istanbul Design Biennial, "A School of Schools", Launches Open Call

19:00 - 22 November, 2017
2018 Istanbul Design Biennial, "A School of Schools", Launches Open Call, Map of Antarctica (American Geographical Society, 1956). Image Courtesy of IKSV
Map of Antarctica (American Geographical Society, 1956). Image Courtesy of IKSV

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.

Jan Boelen Appointed As Curator of the 2018 Istanbul Design Biennial

04:00 - 11 July, 2017
Jan Boelen Appointed As Curator of the 2018 Istanbul Design Biennial, 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial (2016) – Galata Greek School. Image © Sahir Ugur Eren
3rd Istanbul Design Biennial (2016) – Galata Greek School. Image © Sahir Ugur Eren

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."