independent school for the city

Superdiversity Studio

Workshop with Crimson Historians & Urbanists, photographer Florian Braakman sociologist Arnold Reijndorp and the Niteshop by Concrete Blossom, aimed at getting a deeper understanding of the Superdiverse makeup of the population. Taking place from 27 May – 14 June 2024.

Course description

Because of the port and its connection with the rest of the globe, Rotterdam has attracted people from all over the world for decades already. Nowadays over 170 different nationalities call the city their home. The population has become so diverse that Rotterdam has become part of a worldwide family of Majority-Minority cities - cities in which more than half of the population has a migration background. And, not just the number of nationalities has increased: as generations pass, also the diversity within the different migrant groups has become increasingly complex. 

Recently the term ‘superdiversity’ was used by anthropologist Steven Vertovec as a way of looking at the mix of identities of our cities in a less reductive, less statistical way. Superdiverse cities like Rotterdam bring with them a next stage in the integration process, where ethnicity is no longer the most important let alone the sole factor with which people define themselves. Instead of the old dividing lines of ethnicity or language, super- diversity seems to create new connections. Communities also start being based on other factors like education level, religion, profession, sexual orientation, or neighbourhood, in which many ethnical backgrounds and languages are mixed. In other words: the simple pie chart of ethnicity becomes mixed up into a 


In this workshop we will be working together with Crimson Historians & Urbanists , photographer Florian Braakman, sociologist Arnold Reijndorp and the Niteshop by Concrete Blossom to explore superdiversity in the Bospolder and Tussendijken districts in Rotterdam West. This area, which is dubbed BoTu, is a neighbourhood that is traditionally characterized by strong and close-knit communities from various ethnical backgrounds. Residents meet each other in the church, mosque, community centre, playground, supermarket, school, or on one of the many squares in the neighbourhood. At the same time, it is an area that is facing many challenges. A large group of residents is struggling with poverty, debt, unemployment, loneliness, or poor health. 

In this block you will learn and develop methods for interviewing people, to record locations and conversations, to interpret what we see and to retell it in pictures, maps and stories, with the aim to get a deeper understanding of the Superdiverse makeup of the population through participatory research: observation, walks and talks. We will meet people, get involved with key players and learn from locals to explore the manifestation of superdiversity further. We ask you to step up to people and engage with them in conversation about what they are doing and how they are living, and to capture hidden, unlocked experiences and phenomena about their life. Where, for instance, do different people with different backgrounds, lifestyles and languages take their breaks and at what time? Which public places are visited and at what specific times? Where do people work, shop, and go to school? What are the binding factors? By returning to the Bospolder-Tussendijken on a regular basis, we aim to create a certain sensitivity towards people and communities, towards signs and languages. 

In the first week, we will lay the methodological and theoretical foundation with Crimson, Otto Trienekens and Arnold Reijndorp, while receiving tips and tricks on photographic research by Florian Braakman. We will dive into important theoretical notions and concepts, such as superdiversity, majority-minority city, use and production of public space, city as classroom and the sociology of space. You will be familiarised with methods to qualitatively record urban everyday life in public space through participant observations, the streetinterview and visual methodologies. In addition, you will be challenged to develop a critical perspective onto the use of these methods and concepts: self-reflection is an indispensable tool in the study of the superdiverse city. The assignment for the field research is to capture the superdiverse city in Bospolder-Tussendijken and how this superdiversity is affecting local public space. In the second week we will work together with the Niteshop (Concrete Blossom) and Crimson to develop an urban strategy for the area. This could be the proposal for a spatial intervention, a campaign, or an event. The results will eventually be presented to the residents of the neighbourhood during one of the market days. 

This block is part of our 12 week programme This is Tomorrow. The workshop is fully booked.


About Florian Braakman
Florian Braakman is a photographer based in Rotterdam. Florian Braakman’s photography is driven by questions of home, migration and the spaces that surround him. For him, art and photography has always held the promise of learning more about the world around him and his relationship to it. He works locally, drawing inspiration from the streets of Delfshaven in Rotterdam. Since moving there in 2013, Florian has been capturing the community in the ongoing research project Delfshaven’s Finest, an ode to the economically disadvantaged but culturally vibrant neighbourhood.

About Crimson Historians & Urbanists
Since 1994, when Crimson became part of the planning team for the extension of Utrecht ’Leidse Rijn’, the office has developed a hybrid practice that takes the contemporary city as its object. Crimson designs for the city, researches it, writes texts and books about it, shows it in exhibitions and works of art, teaches about it, gives advice on it and makes policies for it.

About the NiteShop and Concrete Blossom
Concrete Blossom is a futurist Urban Culture design and consulting firm. Concrete Blossom works from the idea that street culture is continuously transforming society. The language, taste and worldview of urbanites under the age of 45 is increasingly shaped by the culture from our immigrant neighborhoods. Concrete Blossoms samples the heritage of postcolonial Superdiverse cities and translate this into projects and products that make cities future ready and dope. Concrete Blossom also runs The Niteshop, a research and design platform, which triples as an nightshop, barbershop and communal meditation space. In this way, the threshold is very low for local residents to walk in, hang out and help think about redesigning the city on their own terms.


Monday 27 May 2024
10:00 – 11:15 Welcome and introduction
11:30 – 12:30 Presentation by Otto Trienekens
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 – 15.00 Desktopresearch BoTu
15.00 – 17:00 Presentation by photographer Florian Braakman.

Tuesday 28 May 2024
10:00 – 12:00 Lecture by Arnold Reijndorp
12:00 – 12:30 Prepare fieldwork and interviews
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 – 14:30 Prepare fieldwork
14:30 – 17:00 Fieldwork

Wednesday 29 May 2024
10:00 – 11:30 Conversation on first findings
11:30 – 17:00 Fieldwork

Thursday 30 May 2024
10:00 – 12:30 Fieldwork
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 – 17:00 Visit het Verhalenhuis

Friday 31 May 2024
10:00 – 12:30 Process and order results fieldwork
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 – 15:00 Process and order results
15:00 – 17:00 Presentations

Monday 3 June 2024
10:00 – 11:30 Introduction by Crimson: What is an urban strategy? 
13:00 – 16.00 Visit BoTu with Niteshop
16:00 – 17:00 Develop first ideas for urban strategy 

Tuesday 4 June 2024
10:00 – 12:30 Work on urban strategy
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 – 15:00 Lecture by Rashiq Fataar
15:00 – 17:00 Work on urban strategy

Wednesday 5 June 2024
10:00 – 12:30 Work on urban strategy
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 – 15:00 Work on urban strategy
15:00 – 17:00 Presentation & conversation

Thurday 6 June 2024
10:00 – 17:00 Finalise urban strategy

Friday 7 June 2024
10:00 – 12:30 Prepare for presentation
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 – 15:00 Prepare for presentation
15:00 – 17:00 Presentations with Nite Shop, Florian Braakman, e.a.

Monday 10 June 2024 – Wednesday 12 June 2024
Work on output, write and edit text. Create a collective final product

Thursday 13 June 2024
Present the results at Visserijplein market

Friday 14 June 2024
Wrap up