Agents in the Anthropocene: Trans/disciplinary Practices in Art and Design Education Today symposium—call for presentations

Agents in the Anthropocene: Trans/disciplinary Practices in Art and Design Education Today symposium—call for presentations

Piet Zwart Institute

Gilberto Esparza, Plantas Autofotosintéticas (Autophotosynthetic Plants), 2015. Phytonucleum Electricus Cella, installation, variable dimensions. Courtesy of Gilberto Esparza.

November 22, 2016
Agents in the Anthropocene: Trans/disciplinary Practices in Art and Design Education Today symposium—call for presentations

January 26–28, 2017

Proposal deadline: December 16, 2016

Piet Zwart Institute, Master of Education in Arts 
Willem de Kooning Academy
Rotterdam University / The Netherlands
P.O. Box 1272
3000 BG Rotterdam
The Netherlands

The Master of Education in Arts, Piet Zwart Institute is pleased to announce an open call for presentations for the two-day symposium Agents in the Anthropocene: Trans/disciplinary Practices in Art and Design Education Today.

There seems to be an urge for a new kind of aesthetics—whether measured by a scientist or framed by an artist, or collaboratively developed by both of them—for narrating the contemporary global reality. This collaborative narration transforms separate creative disciplines into a new multi-disciplinary field, whose future appearance remains speculative.

The Anthropocene is both a widely acknowledged and fiercely debated term for a new geological era caused by humankind’s destructive influence on the planet. A growing number of exhibitions and publications are studying the intersection of the so-called Anthropocene with artistic and cultural practices. Often they advocate for modes of trans-disciplinary research that incorporate visual, cultural, artistic, technological, architectural, ecological and political categories.

Is there an urge for “new mental equipment” that will allow us to imagine the human-nature partnership differently? There is certainly growing engagement and activism among artists and designers—a motivation to work together as collectives within cooperative projects, laboratory research settings and the like. What can we learn from these new modes of operation and trans-disciplinary research?  How are artists and designers able to act? How do we educate them in the face of the “Anthropocene”? What repercussions might these kinds of discussions even have for secondary art education? Or, how do we imagine ourselves as environmental humanities?

In addition to keynote presentations, the symposium is open to presentations of exemplary practices and research from students, tutors, artists, designers, scientists, collectives and et cetera. The format of the symposium is structured around keynote presentations (confirmed speakers: T.J. Demos, Alastair Fuad-Luke, amongst others) open call presentations and collectively held brainstorming sessions.

Main themes:
Trans-disciplinary research and co-operations
Exemplary practices, forms of collaborations, vocabularies and mediums.

Specialism in the context of trans-disciplinary knowledge (students as interdisciplinary colleagues or specialists? Exemplary practices of experimental pedagogies, curriculum building and interdisciplinary practices in secondary art education).

Trans-disciplinary activism
Artistic or design contributions to activist practices and manifestations of addressing environmental problems—also in relation to alternative structures of living, new commons, and locality in production and consumption.

Media production, informational control(research into the circulation of media, information, and images that frame the visual culture of environmentalism and its related aesthetics).

We gladly invite anyone interested in the topic of the symposium to participate and to submit a project or paper proposal before the December 16 (this can be theoretical research, journalistic investigation, an artistic or design experiment, or an educational programme). The presentation of the selected projects will take place during the Open Call presentations and will be a maximum of 20 minutes long.

The proposal should be written in English and should contain a maximum of 450 words, including: title and authors of the presentation; summary of aim and content; format of presentation; relation to the theme of the symposium; specifications or requirements. The proposal should be submitted online via email [email protected] (attachments up to 10MB). The submitted proposals will be reviewed and the selected applicants will be informed about the selection before December 24, 2016. For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

The Master Education in Arts accepts student applications from December 1, 2016 onwards.


Please visit the application section of our website. Applicants are requested to submit a motivation letter (with initial idea for a graduation research question and/or project), CV and portfolio with selected projects (focused on professional experience in art or design education), in English.


Agents in the Anthropocene: Trans/disciplinary Practices in Art and Design Education Today symposium at Piet Zwart Institute

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November 22, 2016

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