The Independent School for the City is a school in, of, and for the city. It builds on the conviction that strategies for the city - architectural and economic, spatial and social - should be based on real, first hand, empirical research. The Independent School for the City offers a variety of post-graduate educational programmes ranging from shorter one-day workshops and masterclasses to studio's of one or multiple weeks and an intensive 3 month programme on contemporary Urbanism. Below we'll give you and overview of our upcoming activities.
01 FEB - 23 APR 2021 Three-Month intensive programme on contemporary urbanism
This intensive 12-week course in contemporary urbanism takes the modern city as its subject and Rotterdam as its testing ground. It will explore the urban dynamics by bringing together different disciplines from historical research to artistic expression and urban strategies, using Rotterdam as a pars-pro-toto for cities all over the world. We will dive into the inescapable contradictions and complexities of the contemporary city. Looking beyond the present-day popularity of Rotterdam, we aim to see the city as she really is and as we can imagine her becoming. We will explore the city from all sides. Not just the shiny ones, but also the darker parts that make her more than a small town. That make her a city that is old and dirty, young and beautiful at the same time. We will use research, stories and strategies. We will use all possible means contemporary urbanism provides and act! Participants in the programme will be offered weekly lectures and excursions, a series of workshops focusing on specific disciplines and methods, tutoring by a diverse team of specialists, designers and researchers. Participating in the programme gives you the chance to work together in a community of learning and the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and further develop your own critical approach toward your surroundings. Application for the Dirty Old Town Programme has closed by 01 November 2020. More info here
22, 23, 24 JAN 2021 with Bart Gorter and Ernst van der Hoeven
From the beginning of civilization,weaving has played a cultural and artistic role in societies worldwide. Also the economic and scientific influence of the design and technology of looms has been significant: more than two centuries ago, the first punch cards were used on looms, which can rightfully be seen as the prerunners of the computer and formed the basis for the industrial revolution. This course offers the participants an exploration into the three-dimensional meaning of weaving on a huge, traditional Finnish weaving loom. It is a communal journey for which the Independent School for the City has teamed up with visual artists Bart Gorter and Ernst van der Hoeven, to understand the principles of weaving and to discover it as a metaphor for urban planning, for architecture and urbanism, for the computer, for the landscape and many more things. The course will result in one large monumental rug, collectively woven by the participants. Participants will extend the rug by weaving in duo’s. More info here
Spring 2021 Online Research by Photography with Neeltje ten Westenend
Many world cities boast of the number of ethnicities that make up their population, or of the number of languages spoken in their streets. But in reality, this way of defining diversity, does not do justice to the multidimensional urban dynamics of our cities and how diversity manifests itself. Our cities cannot be reduced to ‘144 ethnicities’ or ‘128 languages’ 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 no longer is the most important let alone the sole factor with which people define themselves. Instead of the old dividing lines of ethnicity or language, superdiversity seems to create new connections. Communities also start being based on other factors like religion, profession, sexual orientation or neighbourhood, in which many ethnicities and languages are mixed. In other words: the simple pie chart of ethnicity becomes mixed up into a fluid composition of overlapping and mixing colours. More info here
15 - 26 FEB 2021 with Crimson Historians and Urbanists
150 years ago, Rotterdam began to attract people from all over the Netherlands to work in the port; nowadays migrants come from all over the world. The city has become super diverse in terms of cultures and ethnicities. A constant is that the differences in income, housing situation and development opportunities between the various groups in the city are large. The spatial spread across the city is also beginning to show signs of segregation. How can we understand this reality and define strategies to stop this tendency? - This workshop is part of Dirty Old Town, but also offered as a stand-alone course. More info here
03 - 10 MAR 2021 with Kristian Koreman and Elma van Boxel (ZUS)
In the recent drug-related crime wave in the Netherlands, the port of Rotterdam plays a significant role as the import and export harbour of drugs. In industrial areas on the periphery of the city, garages are combined with prostitution and human trafficking. These areas are on the outskirts of the city or even far beyond, invisible to the average city dweller. We will be mapping and visualizing this aspect of Rotterdam to make it part of the narrative of the city. - This workshop is part of Dirty Old Town but also offered as a stand-alone course. More info here.
15 - 26 MAR 2021 with Dirk Sijmons and Herman Kossmann
Many small-scale spatial initiatives in Rotterdam are taking steps towards a resilient and CO2 neutral city. These steps differ from technological solutions to the promotion of changes in social behaviour. Other parties simply deny climate change or retreat into post-apocalyptic visions. How is Rotterdam still stubbornly depending on fossil energy, in daily life as well as in its economy? What positions can we distil from the city’s policies, existing initiatives and from our own ideas? How can we formulate a fertile approach to changing the fossil economy? - This workshop is part of Dirty Old Town, but also offered as a stand-alone course. More info here
19 - 30 JUL 2021 Summer School with Urban-Think Tank
In this studio we will explore new development strategies for collective affordable housing in Rotterdam together with architect Alfredo Brillembourg and experience designer Tessa Steenkamp of Urban Think Tank. After an introduction to Rotterdam’s housing market, its contemporary challenges and its affordable housing legacy, and conversations with various stakeholders involved, we will collectively develop a speculative housing proposal for a mixed-use community of about 80 households and additional facilities on a given location in the city. Each person will bring in his own requirements and (financial) capacities and contribute to the collective sum of wishes and limitations. The course will result in a project proposal: a prototype for a collective building including a spatial sketch, a financial model and ideas for the social life and interaction of the collective. The presentation will include an illustrated ‘letter to the mayor’ as a collective manifesto to explain what is needed to truly realize affordable housing in Rotterdam. More info here