Symposium: Disloyal to the Structure - on platforms as experimental art education

Editorial Board

On November 30 the Editorial Board of Intercurricular Programmes at Rietveld/Sandberg held a symposium on the urgency of experimental forms of art education and the possibilities they offer in shaping future educational structures, practices and discourses.

Moderated by Tracian Meikle, the three student-led, self-organised research platforms initiated in January 2021 shared their creative output. Writing Classes demonstrated a practice of collective automatic writing, through both text and spoken word. Recipes for a Technological Undoing shared the year-long programme they compiled to combat techno-determinism. The Garden Department showed how a small plot of land around a burnt tree can become an outdoor classroom, allowing the borders of the academy to become permeable to worms, plants, birds, passers by and other living things.

Invited guest speaker Clara Balaguer demonstrated reading through a method called channeling, and a writing and publishing method called rumination. Both challenge the idea of personal authorship and unsettle preconceptions about the individual/collective, in the academy and beyond.

The keynote “Hopefully Together” was given by Clare Butcher, who drew from the writing of bell hooks and as well as personal experience of negotiating local and colonial curricula, to ask if death can be integrated into pedagogy.

The symposium will be followed by a reader, launching in 2022.


About the speakers:

Clare Butcher is a curator and educator from Zimbabwe who cooks up methodologies and collaborates as part of her practice. Clare is wondering what the future of gathering and learning together might be, as well as how artist-led education can transform the curriculum. Prior to working with the Toronto Biennial of Art as Curator for Public Programming and Learning, she worked with colleagues and students at the Rietveld and Sandberg, and was an education coordinator for documenta 14 in Kassel.

Clare’s recommended reading/listening:


Clara Balaguer (Makati City, Pisces Metal Monkey) is a cultural worker and grey literature circulator. From 2010 to 2018, she articulated cultural programming with rural, peri-urban, and diasporic communities from the Philippines through the OCD, a residency space and social practice platform. In 2013, she co-founded Hardworking Goodlooking, a cottage industry publishing hauz interested in the material vernacular, collectivizing authorship, and the value of the error. Currently, she builds and publishes curriculums at BAK basis voor aktuele kunst as curator of Civic Practice; at Willem de Kooning Academy as research lecturer in Social Practices; at Piet Zwart Institute as a midwife for Experimental Publishing; and at Sandberg Institute as teacher at the Dirty Art Department. Frequently, she operates under collective or individual aliases that disclose her stewardship in any given project, the latest of which is To Be Determined: a transitional, migratory, neighborly structure of sleeper cells (Trojan horse networks) that activate–deactivate for leaking access to cultural capital.

Clara channeling Clara:


Garden Department was founded in 2019 as a self-organised, student/tutor gardening initiative. It exists as an outdoor classroom and garden on the campus of the Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Instituut, open for all students and staff to use.

Over the course of the two semesters Garden Department has organised a year-long permaculture course that the Rietveld/Sandberg community can enroll in. They also organise monthly events with invited guests, covering themes such as queer ecology, commons and communing, trauma-informed landscape design and medicinals for healing, social justice and climate change, inner and outer ecosystems, and quantum agriculture.

Garden Department’s members include Angela Jerardi, Nils Norman, Virginia Vivaldi, Amalie Jensen, Lente Oosterhuis and Leonie Wegertseder.


Recipes for a Technological Undoing was conceptualized by Flavia Dzodan & Ladipo Famodu in 2020, and is currently run by Ladipo Famodu, Alec Mateo & Lauren Napoles Gonzalez Fong.

This platform invites students to work across disciplines to generate new understandings of how artists and designers can combat techno-determinism. It seeks to unravel the assumption that technological progress in the way it has manifested was inevitable and will continue to be so. Undoing the structures that seek to quantify, rank, capture, and predict our endless ways of being.


Writing Classes is a student run series of sessions and workshops on writing as a tool, medium and practice. Initiated by bachelor students from Rietveld Academie’s VAV & Fine Arts departments it was initially entirely self-organised, later on partially supported by VAV, and since 2020 has been funded by the editorial board.

The act of writing, of framing thoughts and ideas within language, is integral to the creative practice. It is one thing to have an idea, it is another thing to say it, let alone write it. In this light, Writing Classes are organising student gatherings, workshops and lectures where students from all corners of the Rietveld/Sandberg community can meet and investigate different approaches to the use of text in their practice.

The goal of this platform is to articulate the voice of the artist and designer through a communal practice and space. We aim to open up the often insular practice of working with text; to share with others and cultivate a space for collectivity and feedback. A body ofdifferent voices germinating in discourse.

Writing Classes is organised by Jimena Casas, Isabel Pontoppidan, Shifra Osorio Whewhell, Loïc Vandam and Anna Tamm.

graphic design by Anna Bierler

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