Please, accept cookies in order to load the content.

The Travelling Academy visits locations in and around Europe, bringing together local and Netherlands-based designers. Together, they explore how formal and informal forms of knowledge development can reinforce each other in tackling social and spatial issues. The embassies in each participating country are important partners in this project.

In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of how internationalisation can benefit from mutual exchange, especially from the representation or export of knowledge, which is often one-sided and personal. The importance of exchange between designers from the Netherlands and abroad has only grown due to the global nature of social issues: the importance of networks for such exchanges cannot be overestimated. For this reason, Het Nieuwe Instituut has launched the Travelling Academy, a new initiative for internationalisation in cooperation with Dutch embassies and consulates.

The Travelling Academy uses the existing infrastructure of embassies and consulates as a network beyond national borders – the starting point for connecting both formal and informal structures locally, regionally, and internationally, through the exchange of knowledge, research and experience among designers. In addition to the knowledge developed within universities and academies, Het Nieuwe Instituut also looks for relevant knowledge produced in informal, underground or radical contexts.

This means consulting not only experts, but also amateurs; not only designers with a traditional education, but also designers without an education; and not only people, but also non-humans such as plants, animals and artificial intelligence systems.

Artist and researcher Sophie Krier and designer and editor Erik Wong have been invited to design and edit the first five stages of the Travelling Academy. They have introduced a comprehensive perspective  In Search of the Pluriverse  and use specific methodologies for exchanging knowledge physically (the Vertical Field Trip) and digitally (the Making Radio podcast).

The practitioners' physical infrastructure and their local networks are supplemented and strengthened with digital networks through radio, this web magazine, and social media.

In Search of the Pluriverse

Artist and researcher Sophie Krier and designer Erik Wong have been invited to design the first five editions of the Travelling Academy. Krier and Wong have adopted a perspective allied to the ideas put forward by Arturo Escobar in his book Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds (Duke University Press, 2018). For the exchange of knowledge and experience, they have employed the format of the Vertical Field Trip (named after Krier’s ongoing artistic research project, School of Verticality) to explore a place and an issue in depth, and Making Radio, a podcast in which the conversation is fuelled by the field trip.

The pluriverse can be read as a world that makes room for a variety of worlds in which there is no single dominant perspective. Therefore, the central question in the first five editions is: how can design contribute to the transition to this multi-perspective world, to ‘a future that has a future’?

This first iteration of the Travelling Academy, In Search of the Pluriverse, will consist of five stages that will take place in three urban areas: İstanbul, Casablanca and Berlin (often seen as gateways to and from Central Asia, North Africa and old Europe respectively) and two rural areas: the Isle of Mull and Asturias (as places for self-sufficient living and informal learning).

Every conversation and encounter within the Travelling Academy builds on the previous one in an effort to create an open curriculum that connects different types of knowledge, ways of living and places.