May 9, 2019 - Independent School for the City - Apply Now: Independent School for the City
e-flux Architecture
May 9, 2019
May 9, 2019

Independent School for the City

Graphics design: Team Thursday.

Apply Now: Independent School for the City
Applications open for the First Edition of the Full and Compact Programme
May 31, 2019, 11:59pm

The Independent School for the City
Delftsestraat 33, 3rd Floor
3013 Rotterdam
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What is the Independent School for the City?
The Independent School for the City explores the complexity and contradictions of the global city. Social Sciences, Economy, Planning, Design and History are brought together in a trans-disciplinary community of learning. The school has deep roots and a strong presence in the city of Rotterdam and is part of a wide and diverse international network of practices and institutions.

The Independent School for the City builds on the belief that strategies for the city should be based on real, first hand, empirical research. Today’s cities demand a new kind of urbanism, both as a practice and as a field of research. Urgent challenges such as climate change, migration and inequality will be at the heart of the School’s programme. These topics have not only intensified in recent years but have also become inextricably linked. To withstand the onslaught of reality, our cities do not just need to be redesigned but also re-thought. We can no longer afford to separate the conceptual from the practical, the political from the technical, the form and the content when dealing with today’s cities. Cultural identity and physical resilience, technological innovation and new narratives are different dimensions of our approach.


Research, Stories, Strategies, Action
The School’s programmes are organized around four interconnected ways of conceptualizing and interfering with the contemporary city.

Research: skills from different disciplines are taught both in theory and practice, using the city of Rotterdam as the initial test site: empirical sociology, photographic mapping, cinematographic recording, spatial diagrams and architectural history.

Stories: recording and interpreting the narratives that motivate the stakeholders in an urban situation is central to our teaching. Equally important is to develop stories of one’s own and to communicate these, using a wide array of techniques, from writing to designing, from the political to the personal.

Strategies: penetrating and understanding the different systems and interests that determine what is possible in an urban situation are skills that we teach. It is necessary to define and design one’s own position, to find partners and create the coalitions needed to realise your project.

Action: strategy is paramount in turning your research and stories into concrete action that might take the form of a spatial intervention, a cultural activity or the introduction of a policy.


Why Join the Independent School for the City?
The Independent School for the City combines the accumulated experience in research, planning, design and education of two of Rotterdam’s most innovative practices: ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles) and Crimson Historians & Urbanists. It gathers together many of ZUS' and Crimson's local and international initiatives, like the International New Town Institute, the Design as Politics chair at the TU Delft, the Rotterdam Central District development, the renewal project WiMBY! and more. This represents a unique combination of theoretical and practical know-how, implemented both in Rotterdam and abroad, developed over more than a quarter century.

The Independent School opens up its founding partners’ network in many disciplines, strategic positions and far flung regions and cities by engaging network partners as teachers within the programme.

The School is independent from educational bureaucracies, political agendas or profit-making interests.

The programme creates a temporary community of (aspiring) professionals from all over the world, from many different disciplines and with different interests in the city, that will have a lasting effect on its members.


Who will teach the Programme?
The "Dean Team," consisting of (landscape) architects Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman of ZUS, and architecture historians Michelle Provoost and Wouter Vanstiphout of Crimson, will play an active role in teaching themselves. They will lead a team of teachers who represent the forefront of graphic design, sociology, political sciences, cinematography, visual arts, architectural history, architectural design and town planning. Our staff includes urban sociologist Arnold Reijndorp, filmmaker/architect Jord den Hollander, architect/exhibition designer Herman Kossmann and graphic designers Edith Gruson and Gerard Hadders. Our teaching partners include Failed Architecture, Amateur Cities and De Dependance and visiting teachers from our international network worldwide.


What is the Programme?
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 Programme September 2019-June 2020
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. Participants will work on collective exercises and on their individual year-long project.

Pack: The first three months take place in Rotterdam. They are centred on the development of skills in a multitude of disciplines such as architecture history, design, urban sociology and narrative techniques.

Travel: The second period is spent abroad. The skills learned earlier will be deployed in an environment selected to fit the participant’s project, hosted by local authorities, coordinated by the School.

Unpack: The third period is again spent at the school in Rotterdam. The experiences and research from abroad will be shared and developed into an original project. Skills of presentation, narration, and visualisation will be taught and practiced in order to bring the individual projects to their audiences as an exhibition, film, publication or any other visually and intellectually compelling format.

Compact Programme September 2019-November 2019
The compact programme consists of 12 densely packed weeks that fit within the 90 days of a tourist visa to the Netherlands. You will start together with the participants in the full programme and join the same activities, while simultaneously developing your own project. 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.


Who Can Apply?
We invite applications from people who have recently finished their studies or already have some professional experience. Anyone who identifies with the title "urbanist" and has a background in one of the relevant fields of research or design but feels restricted in her/his current professional or educational lane, fits in our focus group.

Apply here:

What are the Costs?
Full education programme: EUR 10,000
Compact education programme: EUR 4.000

The Independent School can assist with financial support for those participating in the full programme. Those interested should give a clear argumentation as part of their application.

Independent School for the City
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