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Case studies

This page presents cases where the contributors have actively participated (on different levels and roles). The examples can be clases in traditional institutions, and workshops or other types of non-institutional activities. The list will be organized by date.

Classes / modules in institutions

This category is devised for classes, modules, workshops or other types of activities organized in the framework of a traditional academic programme within an institution. It can be assignments in art, architecture or design, as well as in other disciplinary fields, where alternative pedagogical methods were applied.

Prospectiva tecnológica (Technology Foresight), Jorge Tadeo Lozano University. Bogotá (Colombia), 2009-2011

Participant: Pablo Calderón Salazar

When I was about to finish my Industrial Design (ID) studies at the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in 2008, I was invited to take part in a pilot programme on design pedagogy, aimed at forming 1) young graduates on teaching and research. After a year of seminars, workshops and assisting two teachers in different classes, I was invited to teach a module of a class titled Prospectiva Tecnológica (something like technological foresight in Spanish) to ID students between 5th and 7th semester. When I received the syllabus, it was rather open, with the main goal of learning students how to understand foresight mechanisms and the role that design can play within them; I decided then to orient the module towards approaches of understanding a context (ethnography), deconstruct the logics of functioning of different technologies and critically reflect on how design interventions can have an influence in future foresight (design futures). Respectively, I deviced three main assignments:

  1. study a community around the university (could be a street vendor, a shop-owner, a security guard, etc.) using cultural and design probes and, after making a map of their context, they would define opportunities for action from a design perspective.
  2. instead of talking about technology as something alien to us, I wanted the students to reflect on what technology is and how does it work: in pairs, students would choose a theme (e.g. music, medicine, etc.) and device a didactic (and ideally analogue) activity to teach the rest of the group how technology worked on that field. Crucial of this assignment was the fact of giving the faculty to teach their peers, thus empowering in their knowledge and fostering research.
  3. as a final assignment, groups of three students would design a future scenario for the city of Bogotá. Such scenario should reflect on a specific human right 2) and propose how a design intervention might contribute to improve the status of that right in the city.

Creative Design Module, LUCA School of Arts. Genk (Belgium), 2014-2016

Participants: Pablo Calderón Salazar & Gert Wastyn
Website/blog: (not active at the moment, possible to view via Way-back machine)

When I arrived in Genk (Belgium) to start my PhD with LUCA School of Arts, I said I wanted to teach. Within my scholarship with TRADERS, I did not have a mandatory quota of teaching; however, being passionate about educational processes in design, I offered it myself. When they told me the module which they wanted me to teach (not exactly because I was the right person, but because the person teaching it the year before was not there anymore), I was a bit baffled: Creative Design Module. What does that even mean?! When I read the brief from the year before, I saw a strong focus on technological experimentation; however, when speaking to the programme director, I got that the goal of that module was on learning the students design methods. Having just begun my PhD (focusing on design interventions as participatory practices), and together with Gert Wastyn, we decided to direct the module towards learning the students to work with real-life projects in the neighbourhood where the school is located (Winterslag). I tutored, together with Gert, the same class for three consecutive years, with three respective assignments:

  • 2014: The main assignment of this years' module was on exploring the area surrounding the school, identifying opportunities of action and designing an intervention. As in the class I had taught in Colombia, I made a strong emphasis on context mapping through ethnographic design methods. One of the projects was about visibilizing the FabLab as an open space for the community, for which the group designed a assemblable bench, which they later places on a temporary bus-stop (thus without bench), inviting people waiting to build it and know about the existence (and ethos) of the FabLab.
  • 2015: Having started to work in Genk the previous year, and focusing on the issue of work 3), this years main assignment consisted in devising a series of interventions to open up conversations about work in the city. Inspired by Carl DiSalvo's take on //Public Design//, students were again encouraged to directly intervene in the city and contribute to a pressing debate. See the final results here.
  • 2016: By this year's module, I had been working two years in Genk and had received a year before a shop front by the city authorities as a living lab to work from (De Andere Markt). The main assignment consisted of working with of our lab, as an exercise working with real life clients in social design projects. Students collaborated with different communities of the city connected to the lab, in producing responses to their situations.

Alternative educational initiatives

This category is devised for extra-institutional initiatives or self-standing activities, usually non-recognized by official authorities or institutions.

Parallel School. Lausanne, 2015

Participants: Federica Sosta and Raya Stefanova

Parallel School offers an open environment for self-education in the broader context of art and design. Each participant will both learn and teach in order to share knowledge and ideas with others.

A series of workshops and lectures around the topic of “Art School Identities” took place at ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne ( and Harpe 45 in Lausanne.

Parallel School belongs to no one.
Parallel School has no location.
Parallel School is not teaching.
Parallel School is learning.

TRADERS Open School. Hasselt (Belgium), 2017

Participants: Michael Kaethler, Anna en Anne & Pablo Calderón Salazar (as curators and organizers)

TRADERS Open School was a 10-day academy that brought together art and design thinkers, practitioners and various publics to critically engage in urban processes and discourses through the lenses of agency, participation and public space. The event was premised on the notion that ‘things can be otherwise’, acting as a challenge to rethink and conceptualise potential urban futures by way of art and design. To do this, the Open School was structured as an academy, a place for learning. Accepting that knowledge is not only held in the head but being actively constructed in situ and practice, we saw the academy as moving from a celebration of genius to a focus on the creation of what Brian Eno termed ‘scenius’, the intelligence that comes from a collective ecology of thinkers.

The structure of the 10 days intertwined practice and theory, established thinkers and students, emergent practices and traditional methods, in what we consider an experiential and cognitive generative dance. This dance is a key metaphor for the academy’s organisation, which creates an environment and structure for ideas and practices to come together in dialogue without an overly curated programme, instead ‘thinking on our feet’.

The School. Hasselt (Belgium), 2017-2018

Participants: Caro van der Hole & Pablo Calderón Salazar (as methodology coaches), Raya Stefanova… (as residents/learners)

The School is a creative residence programme of 6 months where international talents are provided with the right tools to collaborate on common challenges. Its first iteration (still on course) is located on the edge of a Belgian micro-city-center (Hasselt) and across a central station, in an emerging area: The School’s first habitat is a post-academic dream environment. The School makes the difference and creates effectiveness in multidisciplinary collaboration. The School selected its resident designers via scouting and an international call. The School offers its designers 6 months of free education and 24/7 free access to think, play and create in all spaces. All resident designers will design and publish a number of artistic products and sell them at the A5-Shop. All resident designers will create and conduct workshops throughout the 6 month cyclus. These workshops are knowledge sharing tools.

The usual word in english for these cases is training; however, in the spirit of Paulo Freire, we referred to a process of formation, rather than as training, which is perceived as being more instrumental
Context on Genk
case_studies.txt · Last modified: 2018/04/06 17:59 by calderonp