The Independent School for the City offers an educational programme for postgraduate students from all over the world with a background in urban studies such as Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Architectural History, Sociology, Anthropology, Political and Cultural Studies, Arts and Media. The programme is unaccredited and therefore not constrained by the formalities of academia or disciplinary boundaries. Participants and teachers form one team in which the advanced and less experienced will inform each other and contribute to the research. Research that is not necessarily solution-oriented or focused on final designs, and may not come to design as such, but will lead to a text, a film, an exhibition or an action. The approach will be open-minded but critical, inclusive but discerning, flexible but precise. This offers the participants and their international teachers the full intellectual freedom to research the city in the broadest sense.
We offer a full, one-year programme for those who want to go all the way and a compact three-month programme for everyone who has less time to spend.
FULL PROGRAMMEThe one-year programme will run from September 2019 to June 2020. Through a series of workshops and collective assignments, the participants are confronted with the expertise and varied approaches of a broad range of masters, while simultaneously developing their own project. The programme consists of three Educational Blocks. The first block is titled “Pack”. It is based in Rotterdam and contains a series of masterclasses and workshops that are aimed at learning various research skills from a variety of disciplines such as (historical) research, spatial and visual analysis, urban design, sociology, photography, film etc. During the second block, “Travel”, the students will spread around the world to visit one of the School’s international partners, with whom they further develop their research in the social-spatial context of the specific location they are at. The final and third block, “Unpack”, will bring the students back to Rotterdam, where they will process their findings in order to show and communicate their work to the world.
The full programme is based on a three-day school week, with two days of collective teaching, mentoring and workshops plus one day of working individually. The rest of the week you can work either at an office or on your individual work. The participation fee for the 2019/2020 education programme is €10,000 (no VAT payable).
The Independent School can assist in finding fellowships or other forms of subsidies and sponsoring for those participating in the full programme. Those interested should give a clear argumentation as part of their application.
COMPACT PROGRAMMEThe compact programme will run from September to November 2019 and consists of 12 densely packed weeks that fit within the 90 days of a tourist visa to the Netherlands. The programme is focused on improving and expanding your skills through workshops and clinics on observation and analysis of urban phenomena such as climate change and migration. You will take part in the same activities of those participating in the full programme, while at the same time develop your own project to elaborate and deepen your personal ideas and fascination. The first three weeks are dedicated to an introduction, lectures and expeditions in and around the city of Rotterdam. You will learn how to look at the city from various perspectives and explore the invisible and the physical realities of the urban landscape. Simultaneously you shape your ideas and develop a plan for your personal project. During the following weeks you will further develop your skills through a series of collective workshops on the transformation and historical layers of the city, the use of the city, and the future of the city. All of this leads to the development of concrete output that will be presented during your last week in the School.
The compact programme is based on a five-day school week, with two days of collective activities, workshops and lectures plus three-days of working on an individual project. The participation fee for the 2019/2020 compact programme is €4,000 (no VAT payable).
IF YOU THINK YOU'VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES, WE ARE EXCITED TO INFORM YOU THAT APPLICATIONS FOR THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL FOR THE CITY ARE NOW OPEN!
PACKCHOOSE YOUR POSITION, LEARN NEW SKILLS, MAKE A PLAN, MEET YOUR MASTERS
WK1-3 Introduction, Lectures and Expeditions
During the first three weeks, participants will be introduced to the School and to the city of Rotterdam. Through expeditions and lectures, we will look at the city from various perspectives and become familiar with different disciplines and crafts. You will explore the invisible and the physical realities of the urban landscape. You will be introduced to the main masters of the School, whose diverse backgrounds, works and professional experience and beliefs will sharpen your own professional position and help you develop your research plan for the coming year (full programme) or months (compact programme)
WK4 First Ideas and Research Plan
You will draw the first outlines of your individual research projects. What is exactly the topic that you want to explore the coming year? Whose help or advice do you need? Which questions need to be answered? And when do you need to do what? The masters of the school will help you organize your ideas and thoughts and keep up the momentum of your research.
WK5-6 Research Skills: Transformation of the City
Crimson Historians and Urbanists will dive with you into the depths of architectural history, defined as an immersive experience of failed and succeeded attempts by humanity to shape and plan their surroundings. During these two weeks you will work in teams on a concrete assignment, while members of Crimson and other specialists explain their research methods and guide you through the process of researching and interpreting the historical layers of the city.
WK7-8 Research Skills: Use of the City
This block is focused on research and analysis of everyday life in urban environments. You will form teams and go on specific missions in one of Rotterdam’s neighbourhoods, guided by urban sociologists Arnold Reijndorp and others. You will conduct field research, learn to observe the spatial practices of people from various point of views. You will do interviews and try to understand the conflicting realities and perceptions people have of the city.
WK9-10 Research Skills: Future of the City
Under supervision of Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman of ZUS, you will be confronted with the town planner’s and the urban designer’s point of view, and will learn how to use it for your own research goals. Sketching, mapping and other forms of spatial analysis will be the tools that you will use these two weeks. Just as in the previous blocks, you will work in teams on a specific assignment, somewhere in Rotterdam.
WK11-12 Development of Stories and Output
During the previous weeks, you will have worked on your individual research project parallel to the group activities. At this point it is time to transform your first findings and observations into the outlines of a story. You will be coached by ZUS, Crimson and our team of ‘Masters of Looking and Making’, a team made up by graphic designers, filmmakers and exhibition designers. Those participating in the compact programme will wrap up their work now.
WK13-14 Debate and Reflect
This is the end of phase one. Time to reorganize your thoughts and reflect on the ideas and the stories that emerged during the previous weeks. Is your argumentation solid? What additional research is needed? What are the conflicts that you discovered? And what is your own position? Through various exercises and conversations with critical minds, you will both look back and ahead.
TravelLEAVE YOU COMFORT ZONE, EXPLORE THE TERRITORY, TEST YOUR SKILLS, GET LOST AND FIND YOUR WAY
WK15-16 Prepare for Travel
Before leaving for the holidays and take off for research aboard, we will need to prepare for travel. You have already decided what is an interesting place to continue your research, but who to talk to? What will you offer them? What will you search for and what will you bring back? What do you exactly want to find out abroad? And what methods can you use? Together with the Independent School and its international network you will draw up an effective mission plan.
WK 17-25 Research Abroad
During your 9 weeks abroad, you will test your ideas and use your skills in a different social-cultural context. Under supervision of a local expert you will continue your research. This could be comparative research or tracing the outcomes of your research all the way back to its origin abroad. A representative of the school will come to visit you during your time abroad and take part in workshops, excursions or other activities in your location and around your theme. They will help you with the progress of the project, try and smooth out possible wrinkles in your plan and maybe open up new perspectives.Possible locations include Shenzhen (China), Nairobi (Kenya), Milton Keynes (UK) and Kiev (Ukraine).
WK26-27 Debrief and Reflect
All participants come back to Rotterdam full of experiences, ideas, stories, photos and videos. Together we will try to make sense of it all. We will look for the relationship between your observations in Rotterdam and the ones abroad and discuss how to continue. Which gaps still need to be filled and where to focus? What is it that you want to achieve with your project? And what is needed to work towards a strategy and an action?
UnpackARRANGE YOUR MEMORIES, SHARE YOUR STORIES, SHOW YOUR FINDINGS, MAKE YOUR POINT
WK28-29 Design Workshop
During these two weeks the real world of money, politics, private and public interest and design will be allowed inside the school. Stakeholders and institutions, entrepreneurs and architects with vested interests in the city, will ask you to help them develop a certain part of Rotterdam, and you will have to convince them that your solutions are in their best interest. In a pressure-cooker setting we will show the world that we are capable of dealing with reality.
WK30-31 Presentation and Communication Skills
Now that you know what to do, it’s time to start thinking about the way you want to present this to the world. Together with various masters experienced in presentation and exhibition design we will discuss various ways of showing your work. At the end of these two weeks you will know which type of products need to be produced and how your project can be introduced to the world.
WK32-34 Strategies for the City
During these two weeks, you will take the step from research findings to strategy and make plans in order to reach your ultimate goals. Use the means you need for the goal you have in mind: you can write an article, make a movie, design an object, or design a campaign, plan a landscape or plan a revolution. As long as it is in line with your position and puts your research results to the best use.
This is the last test. During this week the strategies will be tested on critical minds and those directly involved with the object of your project. This is your chance to organize a meeting with interested parties and talk to experts on your topic, in order to know what still needs to be tweaked for the final presentation.
WK36-38 Work on Output and Actions
During these three weeks you will have the time to work on your final products. Write, draw, paint, mount, assemble, copy-paste, organize, rehearse and prepare. Do everything you need to in order to shine brightly during the final event. Masters of the school will be there to answer your questions, boost your confidence, criticize and contribute when and where possible.
WK39-40 Work on Exhibition
These two weeks are dedicated to the conception and construction of a collective final exhibition. Under the supervision of the internationally renowned exhibition designer Herman Kossmann we will make an installation that shows all the work that has been produced during the past year.
WK41 Final Event and Action
Time to show your work to the world! The Independent School will organize a final collective event around the opening of the exhibition and invite the leaders of the City to see what has been produced and to react to it. We’ll show Rotterdam what we’ve got and close the year with a bang!