9-11 september 2021, Kaaistudio's, Brussels, Belgium
All lectures and roundtable conversations can now be rewatched online here
BUILDING BEYOND PROPERTY
BUILDING BEYOND TYPE
BUILDING BEYOND PARTICIPATION
Summer School on Collective Strategies for Just Cities
In this public summer school we will take stock of different voices, experiences and practices of sharing and commoning within changing urban settings. Our core concerns are the ownership models, spatial conditions, and grassroot processes of collective infrastructures, focusing in particular on tensions and opportunities that emerge when creating infrastructures for shared and mixed use, and on the role the arts can play.
About Building Beyond
We are currently witnessing an emergence of collective infrastructures in Europe, based on solidary, cooperative and anti-speculative development models and visions, to produce more fair and affordable work- and living spaces for communities often overlooked. Artists are increasingly part of this conversation, as a new wave of institutional critique calls for different kinds of institution- and space-making in the arts.
This follows decades of entrepreneurial governance with cities primarily catering to the needs and aspirations of middle and upper classes, and with affordable homes, social infrastructures and locally rooted facilities either being pushed out of the city or being put up against each other in their quest for space. From an intersectional perspective, the city threatens to become increasingly homogeneous: in social, cultural, economic as well as in spatial terms.
Artists and the cultural industries more widely are both drivers and victims of these urban development dynamics, playing an instrumental role in projects of temporary use and urban regeneration but also being among the first who have to relocate following a development phase. Countering this, the emergent anti-speculative models and cooperative endeavours are both ideological and pragmatic: they challenge narrow notions of individual ownership but also offer concrete tools to combine needs and means to produce tangible access to essential needs such as affordable homes, community centres, and artists’ studios.
In Building Beyond: Collective Strategies for Just Cities we will take stock of different voices, experiences and practices of sharing and commoning within changing urban settings. Our core concerns are the ownership models, spatial conditions, and grassroot processes of collective infrastructures, focusing in particular on tensions and opportunities that emerge when creating infrastructures for shared and mixed use, and on the role the arts and artists can play.
Working through three designated themes, Beyond Property, Beyond Type and Beyond Participation, we ask ourselves:
- How to move away from the capitalist concept of individual property towards a collective understanding of ownership (ownership through use, labour, being and belonging)?
- How to set up and support a sustainable praxis of self-organisation and collaboration in a context of ownership? How to keep co-owned spaces truly ‘open source’?
- What are the spatial conditions to allow for a building to be shared, but departing from the acknowledgement that being-in-it-together doesn’t necessarily mean we are all the same, or have the same needs?
- How to design for activities or bodies often overlooked or excluded from mainstream urban development, without pushing people inside existing architectural typologies that come with certain ideological imprints and potential regimes of control?
- How to organize bottom-up urban development based on equality and solidarity and beyond participation as a token, without being naive about the power mechanisms and hierarchies at play?
- How to reclaim the symbolic capital of the arts to push for fairer urban development, instead of being made complicit to processes of gentrification?
Bringing together a diverse range of actors from across Europe and beyond, Building Beyond offers a platform for dialogue and conversations, both with each other and with the artist-initiated project of Permanent Brussels that aims to develop a mixed-use infrastructure for housing, artists’ studios, educational spaces and community facilities in Brussels on collectively owned land.
Building Beyond is organized by Permanent Brussels and Brussels Centre for Urban Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), in collaboration with Dept. of the Ongoing/Chair An Fonteyne (Dept. of Architecture, ETH Zurich), gE.CO (Tools for Generating Commons) and Kaaitheater Brussels. Permanent is a current participant of Actors of Urban Change, a program by MitOst e.V. supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Nishat Awan’s research focuses on the intersection of geopolitics and space, including questions related to diasporas, migration and border regimes. She is interested in modes of spatial representation, particularly in relation to the digital and the limits of witnessing as a form of ethical engagement with distant places. Currently, she leads the ERC funded project, Topological Atlas, which aims to produce visual counter-geographies of the fragile movements of migrants as they encounter the security apparatus of the border. She is Senior Research Fellow at the Borders & Territories group at the Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft. In 2015 she was an Independent Social Research Foundation early career fellow working on the project, Edges of Europe, exploring European belonging through migrant experience. Her book, Diasporic Agencies (Routledge, 2016) addressed the subject of how architecture and urbanism can respond to the consequences of increasing migration. She has also addressed alternative modes of architectural production in the co-authored book Spatial Agency (Routledge, 2011) and the co edited book Trans-Local-Act (aaa-peprav, 2011).
Selçuk Balamir is a postcapitalist designer, commoning researcher and climate justice organiser, working at the intersections of creative production, radical politics and ecological transition. He specialises in strategic communications, community building and ‘making social change irresistible’. He co-developed Climate Games (transmedia event enabling peer-to-peer disobedience) and Shell Must Fall (grassroots campaign targeting shareholder meetings). He co-initiated the social housing projects NieuwLand (postcapitalist urban commune), and de Nieuwe Meent (cooperative based on patterns of commoning). His PhD in Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam is on commoning practices in postcapitalist design. He currently teaches New Earth (eco-social design) at Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam.
Luce Beeckmans is Assistant Professor in Architecture and Urbanism related to Migration and Diversity and senior post-doctoral research fellow funded by the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO). As FWO-postdoc she is affiliated to Ghent University (Department of Architecture and Urban Planning), KU Leuven University (Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre) and Antwerp University (Urban Studies Centre).
In her current research, she works on the intersection of migration, city and architecture. More specifically, she explores the spatialities and materialities of trans national migration (in particular from sub-Saharan Africa) with a prime focus on migrants’ and refugees’ housing and home-making. In her research, she applies an interdisciplinary perspective, combining methods and insights from architecture and urban planning, urban ethnography, human geography, migration studies, urban and housing studies, as well as post-colonial studies, de-colonial theory and critical, intersectional and feminist thought. She also researches new ways of data visualisation and deep mapping and coordinated several participatory action researches (for Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen and Globe Aroma).
Luce Beeckmans is supervisor of the FWO-project 'Housing for Refugee Inclusion' (together with Viviana d'Auria, KUL); a project partner and work package leader of/in the HORIZON2020-project 'ReROOT' and the BELSPO-project 'REFUFAM'. Outside academia, Luce Beeckmans is a member of the board of CAMPUS ATELIER and from September 2021, she will become the president of the board of Collectief Goed.
Daniela Bershan a.k.a. Baba Electronica is an artist, DJ and independent researcher. Through her work – ranging from sculpture and performance to community building and sound – she proposes practices of collective intimacy and care as a way to study and honor affective and relational structures; Her current work is exploring the ecological, historical, emotional and political dimensions of reproductive labour and its re-organization through different registers. She composes and holds potentia-spaces for erotic/aesthetic practices and non-monotonic thinking. Daniela co-founded and directed FATFORM (NL), and is co-organizing icw Valentina Desideri ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE at Performing Arts Forum (FR). Her work and collaborations have been presented at ao. 29th Sao Paulo Biennale (BR), De Appel Arts Centre (NL), MaerzMusik (DE), KunstenfestivaldesArts (BE), W139 (NL), Portikus (DE), NAS Gallery Sydney (AU), Capacete (BR), Paradiso (NL), Dansehallerne (DK), MDT (SE), Le CentQuatre (FR), Centre Pompidou Kanal (BE), CentroCentro (ES), Tempo Festival (BR) and Triennale Luxembourg (LUX).
#djsarelisteners danielabershan.com soundcloud.com/baba-electronica
Paul Citron is an urban planner, a doctor of planning and real estate, a teacher and the director of development of Plateau Urbain, a cooperative society for transitional and solidarity-based urban planning. He is interested in new models of urban production.
Plateau urbain is a cooperative organisation. The objective of the cooperative is to occupy buildings in transition in the city, mainly empty buildings. The idea is to take advantage of these interim periods to intensify the uses of these buildings, which are usually left vacant, by proposing temporary occupations. The objective is to create a solidarity-based urbanism in that it is aimed at actors who do not usually have access to traditional real estate. These are associative actors, cultural actors, starting companies, craftsmen, actors of the social and solidarity economy... Those who have a significant social, cultural and urban impact, but whose economic model does not correspond to the standards expected by traditional real estate.
Caroline Claus is a Brussels-based urban (sound) researcher. She is currently a PhD student at the KU Leuven Department of Architecture, under the supervision of Brussels Supervisors Prof. Burak Pak (KU Leuven) & Peter Cusack (UA) and has years of experience and interest in social participation in urban development and urban renovation in Brussels. In her research she explores how field recording, and sonic journalism can become part of a sonic cartography that can be used as an interface for interdisciplinary collaboration in the planning and design of urban public space.
Ken De Cooman
Ken De Cooman is the co-founder of BC Architects, BC studies and BC materials. BC stands for Brussels Cooperation and points to how BC is embedded in the Brussels context. BC starts from architecture, through research, expertise and experiment, towards material production and contracting. Having three legal entities representing one hybrid practice allows BC to inscribe itself in more phases of a construction process, and have an impact in more profound ways. BC uses local, bio-based, circular materials in open construction processes.
Mathieu Van Criekingen
Mathieu Van Criekingen is Professor of urban geography at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Situated in the field of critical urban studies, his work focus i.a. on spatial dimensions of social domination (incl. gentrification processes), neoliberalization trends in urban policy-making, and patterns of urbanization from below in working-class districts. He recently published Contre la gentrification. Convoitises et résistances dans les quartiers populaires (La Dispute, Paris, 2021).
Darinka Czischke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology. In 2014 Dr Czischke was awarded the Delft Technology Fellowship to develop her research on Collaborative Housing. She is the founder of the Co-Lab Research group at the TU Delft and co-founder of the working group ‘Collaborative Housing’ at the European Network for Housing Research (ENHR). Previously, she worked as Director of World Habitat (formerly Building and Social Housing Foundation, BSHF); Research Director of the European Social Housing Observatory at CECODHAS Housing Europe; and as Research Associate at the LSE Cities Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science. She has published extensively about social, affordable and collaborative housing in comparative international perspective. She is currently the leader of Project Together!, a cross-sector initiative focused on realizing the potential of collaborative housing forms in the Netherlands.
Natassa Dourida is a structural Engineer (NTUA, 2008) with an MSCArch in Restorations of Monuments (NTUA 2013). She is a Robert Bosch Stiftung Fellow as a cultural manager (2015) and a Onassis Foundation grantee as a conceptual artist (2020). Her work relates to the motivation of communities and cultural heritage building owners to cooperate towards reviving these buildings. She was the creator of the community development project, Communitism (2015) which evolved into the association Communitism (2017) now operating the first sociocultural center of Athens, in a neoclassical building of 1928 in Metaxourghio neighborhood, entrusted by the owners. The center acts as an axis for the cultural commons of the city, developing self governance and economic models combining the multiple realities of the city and the communities’ needs. The association’s vision is to multiply the model in as many of the city’s unutilized neoclassical buildings. Natassa Dourida has served as a President of the association (2017-2020) and now as Secretary General, while developing educational and artistic projects related to the association’s mission.
Ola Hassanain trained her focus on the subtle politics of space—namely, how built spaces react to and reinforce violence from state entities, which in turn, creates a built environment that reflects, responds to, regulates the lives of those who inhabit it. Her most recent work explores an idea of “space as discourse,” an expanded notion of space that encompasses political and environmental questions. Her work tries to develop a spatial vocabulary that follows how ruptures presented by 'political events', make it possible to aspire to new kinds of ecologies. Ola's development of critical spatial practice is partly informed by her post-academic training which includes an ongoing Ph.D. in Practice candidacy at the Academy of Fine Art, a BAK fellowship 2017-2018, and teaching at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and Sandberg Institute amongst others.
Khensani de Klerk
Khensani de Klerk is an architectural designer and planner from Johannesburg. She centres practicing intersectionality through research and practice. She is the co director of Matri-Archi(tecture) which is a collective based between South Africa and Switzerland that aims to empower African women as a network dedicated to African spatial education. For the past two years she has been focusing on unfolding typologies of safe space through MPhil research at the University of Cambridge and hosts a podcast called KONTEXT foregrounding narrative approaches to understanding place andhistories. Khensani considers herself as a multidisciplinary spatial practitioner, finding language in spatial, written and auditory explorations. She serves as an editorial contributor at the Architectural Review in London and is based between South Africa, Switzerland and the UK. Her current projects include contributing to this year’s 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennale through Matri-Archi(tecture) with a design built community based installation on the south side, as well as an art installation at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany both launching this September.
Verena Lenna is a researcher and designer, interested in the relationship between property rights, urban morphology and governance. Amongst others, she has explored the dynamics of inclusion and emancipation through participatory action researches, art and cultural projects in Rome, Venice, Milan, Brussels and New York. At present, she works at the Community Land Trust of Brussels as a researcher and transdisciplinary designer for the H2020 project gE.CO, focusing on designing tools for the governance of generative urban commons. As a research fellow at the University of Turin, Department of Law, she explores the relationship between plural forms of ownership and urban governance. Verena Lenna has a Ph.D. in Urbanism from Università IUAV di Venezia and Architecture from KU Leuven.
Olivier Marboeuf is a writer, storyteller, and curator. Marboeuf founded the independent art centre Espace Khiasma, which ran from 2004 to 2018 in Les Lilas, in the Parisian suburbs. The program he developed there addressed minority representations and post-colonial situations through exhibitions, screenings, debates, performances, and collaborative projects. Marboeuf is interested in the different modalities of knowledge transmission, and imagines permanent or ephemeral structures based on conversations and speculative narratives; his works intersect with poetic fiction and speculative theories. Drawing from the imagination and literature of the Caribbean as much as the mythologies of the suburbs, Marboeuf explores ways of making sensitive the history that is imprinted upon minority bodies and the narratives of wandering communities. His recent texts are published on his blog: Toujours Debout. Currently, he produces films as part of Spectre Productions and contributes to the cinematic distribution and research unit Phantom. Marboeuf lives and works between Paris and Rennes.
Laura Muyldermans is an architect based in Brussels. Most of her work departs from the casual conversations with peers, dwellers or incidental encounters. Each exchange of ideas expands the perspective, which leads to unexpected projects and possibilities. As a result, her practice consists of diverse spatial interventions or constructions that question the expected and conventional experience of the existing context.
Laura studied architecture at KU Leuven, Istanbul Technical University and Tokyo University. Following her graduation, she worked for seven years at Architects De Vylder Vinck Taillieu. Since 2018 she teaches design studio at the KU Leuven Faculty of Architecture and in that same year, she taught at the ULB La Cambre Horta. With expositions, talks, publications and workshops such as Triennial Bruges, Openbare Werken (Voo?uit), A+ Architecture in Belgium, the next generation (2020), Oslo architecture Triennale 2019, Design For Intimacy 2018 (Dublin, Science Gallery), Across-lecture/expo 2018 (Liège/Bozar Brussels), Flanders Architectural Review 2016, Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 and Pecha Kucha 2014 (Ghent) she continues to contribute to the architectural culture of Brussels and beyond.
Jana is an urban planner and feminist organizer, writing in several Lebanese and regional newspapers and magazines. She is also involved in organizing interactive urban tours and discussions, as a tool to make urban issues an everyday concern and find ways to organize local communities around them. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Public Works Magazine. She is a PhD student at Ljubljana University.
Geert De Pauw
Geert De Pauw has been active for more than 20 years for the right to housing in Brussels, as an activist and community worker. In 2008, following a study visit to the Champlain Housing Trust, he started advocating for the establishment of a Community Land Trust in Brussels. He coordinated the feasibility study, on behalf of the Brussels Capital Region, for the establishment of a CLT. Since the official establishment of Community Land Trust Brussels in 2013, he has acted as coordinator of the association. From there he co-founded the European CLT partnership SHICC (Sustainable Housing for Cohesive Communities), which sets itself the goal of building a powerful CLT sector in Europe. He is also a board member of the Center for CLT Innovation.
Christoph Pennig is a composer, sound artist and performer living in Naples, Italy since 2015. His artistic interests are site-specific works, improvisation and collective works. His works are perception offers that focus on the non-repeatable and the moment. It is not the what that matters but the how. Christoph Pennig composes acousmatic music as well as pieces for acoustic instruments or voice with live electronics and video projections and other forms of mixed media. After a classical education on piano, trumpet and singing, he first studied musicology in Freiburg, then music informatics with a focus on composition in Karlsruhe. Since 2010 he has been increasingly active in the field of radical improvisation. He received important impulses through encounters, collaborations and master classes with Elio Martusciello, Tim Hodkinson, and Fred Frith, among others. He has been active at the Ex-Asilo-Filangieri for almost five years, where he is involved in both artistic projects and political work. He is particularly interested in projects in which artistic and political work merge; projects in which the collective process of work makes artistic direction superfluous and interdependence and the creation of new relationships are the driving force.
is urban planner, researcher, community advocate and policy adviser. He has worked on urban regeneration programmes for the New York, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Budapest municipalities. He taught at MOME and BUTE (Budapest) and TU Wien and was visiting fellow at Columbia University and the ENSA Paris-Malaquais and holds a PhD in Sociology from the Central European University. He is member of KÉK (Budapest) and editor of the Cooperative City magazine that maps good practices and innovative policies across Europe. With his organisation Eutropian Research & Action (Vienna-Rome-Budapest), specialised on urban regeneration, community participation, civic economy and social innovation, he supports public administrations and citizen initiatives of various sizes and geographic locations across Europe in creating new partnerships, cooperation processes, spatial development projects and new governance models. He has been working as expert in URBACT networks (Temporary Use as a Tool for Urban Regeneration, Interactive Cities, ACTive NGOs, RiConnect, CO4CITIES) and Urban Innovative Actions projects (Curing the Limbo Athens, DARE Ravenna, CUP 4 Creativity Újbuda), designing learning trajectories and supporting knowledge exchange among cities. He’s co-author of the books Funding the Cooperative City (2017), Il rilancio dei mercati (2019) and The Power of Civic Ecosystems (2021).
U/A (Luce Beeckmans, Viviana d'Auria, Dounia Salamé, Heleen Verheyden & Tasneem Nagi)
U/A is a temporary collaboration between UGent and the Action-Research Collective for Hospitality, promoted by Luce Beeckmans (UGent) and Viviana d'Auria (Action-Research Collective for Hospitality, Brussels/KUL). U/A was initiated in the framework of the Action-Research: Infrastructural needs' analysis and stakeholder mapping of the refugees' Open Arts Centre Globe Aroma.
Andrea Verdecchia is one of the co-founders of Time to Access, an Amsterdam based platform devoted to the development of radical architecture. With an evolving team of architects, urban planners and activists, TTA creates participative forms of spatial design and social environments with a focus on affordable housing, commoning, sustainability, and citizens’ participation.
Andrea is also among the initiators of de Nieuwe Meent. dNM is a pilot housing cooperative in Amsterdam entirely focused on the principles of commoning. dNM is collectively developed, owned and managed by its residents and is composed of 40 social housing units and a wide range of collective spaces opened to the city. Construction will start in January 2022.
After finishing his MA in architecture at the University of Ferrara, Italy, Andrea moved to Amsterdam in 2010, where he collaborated with SeARCH Architects (2010-16) and Marc Koehler Architects (2016-2019). Following his involvement with the dNM, in 2020 he launched TTA with Mira Nekova. Andrea was a guest lecturer at University of Auckland NZ, Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, and Amsterdam University College. In 2021 he started the research project The Citizens Game, aimed at studying citizens' initiatives and creating a participative board game that can be used as a process design tool in self-developed co-housing projects.
Vermeir & Heiremans
The videos and installations of the artist duo Vermeir & Heiremans investigate the complex relationship between art, economy and the built environment in today’s highly globalized world. The artists define their own house as an artwork. The 'house as artwork' functions as a framing device that allows the artists to zoom in on the role the arts play within the ever-growing entanglement between finance, urban development and governing. Their practice employs financial tools, historical references, technology, and cinematic language to reflect on social codes as well as on the production of value in today’s artistic and non-artistic realms.
Dr. Menna Agha is an architect and researcher. She is Assistant Professor of Design and Spatial Justice at Carleton University (CA). Menna holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of Antwerp, and a Master of Arts in Gender and Design from Köln International School of Design. In 2019/2020, she was the Spatial Justice Fellow and a visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon. She is a third-generation displaced Fadicha Nubian, a legacy that infuses her research interests in race, gender, space, and territory. Among her publications are: Nubia still exists: The Utility of the Nostalgic Space; The Non-work of the Unimportant: The shadow economy of Nubian women in displacement villages; and Liminal Publics, Marginal Resistance.
Els Silvrants-Barclay is a curator, researcher and activist. She is senior researcher at the Chair of Affective Architectures at the Architecture Department of ETH Zürich, where she is currently setting up the Dept. of the Ongoing, a speculative research-, teaching- and commissioning platform that aims to uncover and develop spatial scenarios from the point of view of often overlooked or unacknowledged bodies, subjectivities and uses, to bring them in conversation with the architectural field. Together with Rob Ritzen, she is co-coordinator of Permanent Brussels. She is core-member of State of the Arts, an open platform that aims to reimagine the conditions that shape the art world today.
Till 2019 she co-directed the contemporary arts center Netwerk Aalst. Previously she led a collaboration between four contemporary art museums in Belgium. She coordinated the Advanced Master in Theatre Studies, lectured dance theory and was part of the Research Centre for Visual Poetics at the University of Antwerp. Before she lived in Beijing where she co-founded the Institute for Provocation, a workspace for artists and architects. Els Silvrants-Barclay regularly works as a curator and mediator for artists commissions outside the exhibition space. In her practice, she operates at the intersections between teaching, research, activism, art and architecture.
Permanent/Bas Van Heur
Bas van Heur is professor of human geography and director of the Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research within the Department of Geography. He is also director of the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, a university-wide centre for urban research that brings together research groups from various disciplines. His main research interest is in the politics of urban development and the analysis of urban development strategies and their effects. Theoretically, this has led to contributions on cultural (political) economy and regulation theory, urban laboratories and experimentation, innovation and the knowledge economy. Empirically, most of his work to date is situated within one of two areas: (i) research on the cultural and creative industries and urban cultural policy; and (ii) research on university-city relations and the role of higher education in urban and regional development.