October 13, 2017

Learning from Learning at A School of Schools. Open Call

by Z33

Istanbul Design Biennial 2018, curated by Jan Boelen, will focus on design education and knowledge under a theme ‘A School of Schools’. An open call for the biennial is looking for both schools and learners to participate in the biennial.

Text 4th Istanbul Design Biennial / Z33 Research


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.

Open Call: Learning from Learning at a School of Schools

Learning from all ends of the planet, from all manner of perspectives and experiences. Learning that goes outside standardised models, both existing experiments, and ideas for new approaches. Learning that brings us together physically or connects us online, learning that happens in Istanbul or beyond. A School of Schools is about learning from learning.

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.

Divided into a call for ‘schools’ and a call for ‘learners’, the open call is twofold. The format of a school is open for interpretation – from a one hour class or tutorial, to an online network or alternative university; from in situ observation and other methodologies, to critical schools of thought. The learners are anyone who would like to participate in a school, and can demonstrate an openness to discovery and transformation, regardless of design expertise, background or experience. The biennial will endeavour to address matters of financial support and other accessibility issues but encourages resourcefulness.

Both learners and schools are urged to connect their applications to one or more of the themes under scrutiny for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial – ‘Measures and Maps,’ ‘Time and Attention,’ ‘Mediterranean and Migration,’ ‘Disasters and Earthquakes,’ ‘Food and Customs,’ ‘Patterns and Rhythm,’ ‘Currency and Capital’ and ‘Parts and Pockets’. Besides those who demonstrate a capacity and passion for learning, A School of Schools will give preference to proposals that are committed to not only learning but translating the learning into a communicable form.•

4th Istanbul Design Biennial
22 September–4 November 2018
Istanbul, Turkey
More information on the open call


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