Our society needs creative minds that shape tomorrow’s world, a world full of uncertainties and challenges. With great pleasure, energy and experimentation, Autonomous Design students develop their artistic talents in relation to their environment. Independent and collaborative, playful, experimental and inquisitive, we are in exciting dialogue with various sectors of society, animals, plants and so many other actors in the web of life.
In our Social Design programme, we question the role and purpose of design within society. We weigh its functional character against the autonomy and the social position of art and design. The intention is to have a potential impact on society, again and again.
In the first bachelor year, the emphasis is on the exploration of design methods and the field of social design in actual practice. Equally important is setting up a personal artistic design practice. In the second year, students work on sharpening their individual artistic positioning, conceptualization and visual language. In the third year, they develop their own projects, both within the school and, as part of the external projects scheme, together with a (institutional) partner outside the school.
The Observation, Story and Performance course, offered each year, brings together different methods and techniques, helping students to visualize, investigate and represent context and process, as well as to communicate the ideas and narratives that arise within the design process. The intention is always to register and represent the specificity of a situation, environment and/or community. The course entails an exploration of analogue and digital techniques, and it develops the student’s own vision. In the first year, the Participative Practices course acquaints students with multiple forms of participative artistic work, shared authorship, co-creation and several other models of collaboration and partnership.
Studio subjects are supported by theory. Context and Design deals with concepts, frameworks and reflections from the contextual field that drives the artistic practice of social design. It explores, for example, ideas about the social position of the designer or artist, participation, commons, the context and contemporary production processes in comparison to historical, anthropological and current examples.
During their master year, accompanied by both practical and theoretical mentors, students work independently on their own projects. Alternating external artists, designers, art mediators and experts are all involved in collective master classes that address fundamental content-related aspects of artistic practice. The emphasis in a master class is always on strengthening substantive and intrinsic processes.
With us, you can work on objects, actions, interactions, situations, relationships, working spaces, environments, political practices, organizational models, open systems and more. Our alumni connect with a widely diverse professional field, including critical collectives, ecological design platforms, art houses and innovative artistic agencies. They also design their own new working methods and models for future design practices.
Elly Van Eeghem
Kristof Van Gestel
Dirk van Gogh