This 200-level, topic-driven course takes as a point of departure a research question of regional and international relevance from the Dutch Science Agenda (NWA). For the fall 2016 course, we will take on questions relating to the nature of resilient societies (i.e. societies able to withstand or recover quickly from disruptive events). We will do by conducting practical experiments to observe and test how resilience works, under which conditions it can emerge and evolve, and what potential threats are. Through community fieldwork will study the relation between resilience, freedom, and responsibility. Thus, in a six-week video project and a (overlapping) nine-week action-research project you will develop hands-on understanding of resilient societies.
The phenomenon of resilience calls to mind images of elasticity, and self-organisation. Which cultural notions are at the root of these images? What is the relation between imagination and resilience? In which conditions is a society resilient, and how can it foster its ability to adapt to disruptive events? What can we learn from past cases of resilient cultures in this respect? Is resilience something you can train? How does the natural world adapt and address changing living conditions and what can humans learn from this? Can the world of computer science help us understand the workings of resilience? Resilience and sustainability are core priorities of the Dutch Science Agenda (NWA). In a globalised and networked world, self-reflection, organisational renewal and institutional flexibility greatly determine a society’s evolutionary abilities. The Institute of Open Societies, Utrecht University, for example explores how institutions can help foster cultural resilience. The Hogeschool Zeeland (HZ) monitors and researches how a regional delta can be ecologically and economically resilient1. The European Horizon 2020 Agenda addresses the need for inclusive, innovative, and reflective societies2. How do these theoretical notions play out and interact, on the ground? Welcome to messy reality!
Project 1: Skill enhancement & ethnographic design project Mapping Resilient Zeeland (video assignment, six weeks) For this project you will search, analyse & portray miscalleneous manifestations of resilience in Zeeland. In which way is the organisation, person or entity (i.e. flora/fauna/thing/situation) of your choice resilient? Which tools and forms of expertise are involved in process of being / becoming resilient? Building on the similar exercise done in the 100-level course, you will undertake in-depth interviews and location scouting, shoot and edit imaginative (interactive) video portraits in mixed media, which we will publish on the A&DP vimeo channel. Through writing you will reflect on your making process and connect it to scientific notions.
Project 2: Collective art & design research project Shaping Resilient Societies. Exploratory prototyping (three weeks) + action research (six weeks) = collective visual essay. In this project you will work in a medium of your choice (defined in dialogue with the instructor); you will also formulate a personal angle of research and “work protocol” (method) inspired by your main field of interest at UCR. For example, if you are majoring in History you could study resilience from the perspective of how societies have historically dealt with difficult conditions, what made them resilient or on the contrary, what prevented them from sustaining themselves. You will need to find a way to study historic case studies in a practice-based way. If ecology is your main field of interest, you could study resilience by observing and intervening in local ecosystems. Etcetera. In this way, you will be working as a group to produce a new, multi perspective understanding of the workings of resilience. This will result in a collective ‘visual essay’.
A visual essay builds an original argument around a topic of research, and expresses it (audio) visually and/or through spatial (temporal) means. The medium is open (e.g. series of photographs, drawings, documentary, interactive video, graphic novel, public walk, talk, exhibition, installation, performance, etcetera) and will be refined in dialogue with the tutor throughout the semester. A visual essay is grounded in practical experience gained during experimental, trial & error research; at the same time it builds on relevant academic sources (sources must be of a recognised quality at the discretion of the instructor).
Rick Joosten - spinning workshop.pdf
Adela Hankus - spinning workshop.pdf