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Sandberg Insituut

Notes to Future Students — Student Jara van Teeffelen in conversation with Public Sandberg

DISARMING DESIGN

Disarming Design is a temporary master’s programme committed to cooking, making, weaving, screening, giving, talking, playing, mapping, workshopping, sensing, celebrating, reclaiming, documenting, forming, witnessing, juxtaposing, tripping, translating, transposing, sculpting, publishing, and unfolding.

”Disarming” positions design as a cultural tool to oppose authority and create knowledge with affection, desire, and imagination. The curriculum aims to question, challenge, and locate the emancipatory potential of design and other organizational art forms. We uphold artistic practices that deal with conditions of anti-coloniality, activism, and entangled histories, and operate at the intersection of crafts, language, architecture, community, politics, and translation.

The programme focuses on the artistic work of the participants—helping them find their own methods, language, and tools—in addition to participative projects brought in by the team and institution. It is set up as a studio-space-led programme where students receive feedback from peers and tutors on their research, projects, and practices. The curriculum has an open structure and forms its final shape in response to the students’ different initiatives, collaborations, and developments.

The first year generated a cross-pollination of ideas and initiatives, alongside a questioning of the conditions in which the work and programme existed. Attention was on wayfinding, experimenting with new platforms, synchronizing languages, and responding to changing and challenging conditions. We moved as a department to an external self-ran location. Students campaigned for Palestinian rights and wrote an open letter to the board asking for a public statement to speak out against violence and oppression, and condemn all actions that violate human rights.

The second year started with an exhibition Disclosing Discomforts, that sketched research through action, participation, performance, and installation. The research further deepened through and in the essay that each student wrote. All together, this lead to the development of experimental practices that seek to imagine and enact ways of being together otherwise.