Throughout the years I have been very happy to transfer some of my knowledge through coaching, teaching workshops, organizing labs, and guest tutoring. Since 2018, I am the course leader of MA Ecology Futures at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures. My role is to develop the curriculum, build the team and find the right collaboration partners.
This highly ambitious and versatile Masters programme is in a stage of development and growth, where there is an emphasis on interdisciplinarity and collaboration within our existing courses. Design practice and theory are co-taught, encouraging dialogue in relation to current social issues and civic urgencies that are relevant today, where the role of design is valued as a key tool for social change. We are committed to supporting ambitious and diverse context specific and situated research approaches.
The master's programme Ecology Futures focusses on how art and design can help define and change the narrative around today's anthropocentric worldview. Through artistic research rooted in scientific methodologies, students will be challenged to develop their own position, both theoretical and practical. Linked to the new Material Incubator lab space, students will be encouraged to explore and engage with the biological world as a way to express concepts, directly incorporating living matter into their work. Together we will envision all kinds of different ecological futures, developing critical work about our position as humans in relation to all other living and non-living entities, aiming to achieve a radical shift in perception on society today.
Material Incubator I am an affiliated researcher at the Biobased Art & Design research group at CARADT, the initiator of the lab.
"Through this position, I hope to translate my deep interest in human-made ecosystems into a critical MA course that brings forth artists that know how to imagine, shape and comment on alternative ecological futures."
In the academic year 2019/2020, a series of elective modules were piloted, while the full program is constructed and rolled out from September 2020 on. Together with Darko Lagunas Léon and Milton Almonacid, I developed the course Decolonizing Ecological Futures. With Ana Lisa Alperovich, a first step has been taken to create a new eco-materials culture. Based on the project Cartographies of the Vanishing now, an initiative of myself, Jarl Schulp and Mark IJzerman, another module has been developed diving into sensory cartographies. And finally, biotech methodologies are being introduced in collaboration with the Material Incubator Lab, a newly built professional lab at our academy in Den Bosch, initiated by dr. Elvin Karana.
In the academic year 2020/2021, Bio Art & Design gains ground with two courses led by Emma van der Leest and Emma Luijtjens exploring bacterial leather, mycelium and slime molds, Cartographies of the Vanishing now continues with Jarl Schulp and Mark Ijzerman, and with an in-depth workshop by Lili Carr of the Feral Atlas project. Methods in art and activism and a practice of "care" are introduced by Suzanne Dhaliwal, while alternative collective futures and community relations are explored by Jasper Griepink in a collaboration with curator Imke Ruigrok and in connection with the RE|Nature festival happening in Den Bosch in October 2021. Foundational theory and methods are in the great hands of Alison Sperling.
During the pandemic, we launched "Dutch Invertuals Academy" as a way to share our knowledge and transcend borders while confined to our own houses. It is aimed at young professionals and at discovering new ways of working, exchange knowledge, get inspired, explore new materials, and experiment. As one of the three main tutors I guided a group of eight designers in their personal projects. This first edition of the academy program, projects were shipped to the Netherlands and exhibited at Dutch Design Week.
The academy offers an intensive, six week online program and is currently running for the second time. Theme of both editions is "True Matter", exploring what truly matters to the participants, working with their local context and materials, and providing a foundation in methodology by inviting experienced members of the collective to give workshops and lectures.
In 2018 I co-initiated a new and currently ongoing program, which kicked-off with a week-long lab for professionals. Called Cartographies of the Vanishing Now, the project is focussed on research and development and explores the potential of sensory art and alternative cartographic methods to remap reality in the age of environmental collapse. It sets out to capture the impact of the growing ecological instability on the way we organise and model our modern world, traces the forces behind environmental change and simultaneously shifts perspectives.
Media artists, designers, performers and musicians, as well as scientists, botanical experts, anthropologists, activists, bots and other spirits are all welcome to join the COTVN community through a series of activities that researches the topic of instability and explores symbiotic relationships between man, technology and ecology.
COTVN community The project brings together communities around FIBER, Waag Society, MA Ecology Futures at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures, Valley of the Possible and Simulacrum Magazine.
The first instance of Cartographies of the Vanishing Now happened in the shape of a five day laboratorium in Amsterdam in the week of September 9 to 13, 2019. A selection of makers and thinkers set out to research and define a wide variety of subjects, experiment with environmental data, create concepts and prototypes for new works and collaboratively shaped the future pathway of the project under the guidance of lab mentors and visiting guests. The lab consisted out of lectures by Ruben Jacobs, Mapuche philosopher Milton Almonacid, Shailoh Philips and others, masterclasses by Mark IJzerman, Tivon Rice and Jonathan Reus and a guided fieldtrip. The week ended with a fully sold-out public event at WAAG Society.
and others Find the full program at www.fiber-space.nl.
— Ruben Jacobs, COTVN interview
“We have a collective power which we can still, in a sense, decide what to do with, without having the illusion of having full control of what happens next. (...) I think that we need to find a story that helps us to navigate that very uncertain new world we are in.”
Through the years I have given many workshops at institutes as WAAG Society and MU Artspace, guest tutored for Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts & Design and set up and thought a new elective about algae at TU Delft. Part of the minor 'Prototyping with and for Emerging Materials', this elective set out to introduce working with algae through lectures, workshops and guided assignments. Connecting institutes, the developed curriculem will flow back into Ecology Futures, where science and art can meet.
Should you be interested in any of the above mentioned programs or are you curious what I can do as a curator or tutor for your organization, I am always open to new collaborations. Please find my contact information here.