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Urgent Pedagogies – Learning and Unlearning through Spaces of Exception

IASPIS at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial 2018

The Concrete Tent, gathering space for communal learning in Dheisheh Refugee Camp Bethlehem. Photo: Campus in Camps.

IASPIS/The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial invite you to a public seminar on urgent design and architecture pedagogies. With Sepake Angiama, Markus Bader, Jan Boelen, Magnus Ericson, Joseph Grima, Sandi Hilal, Onkar Kular, Peter Lang, Tor Lindstrand, Pelin Tan, Mark Wigley, Merve Gül Özokcu.

What are the urgencies of design and architecture pedagogies in contested territories? How can pedagogies reveal and bring ways of unlearning and undoing? What would be the methodologies of decolonization pedagogies? Can alternative approaches in education and research reach beyond established institutional structures, and through transversal and collective approaches make difference in transforming knowledge, thus shaping design and architecture practice today?

Urgent Pedagogies is a half-day public event, that invites professional educators and pedagogical practitioners from the fields of design and architecture, to present on-going educational practices, discuss cases and focus on the question of methodologies and means of pedagogies. From 20th century utopian design and social approaches, to border ecologies and occupations, these sessions and panels will focus on cases from contested geographies of Palestine to Cyprus, as well as examples of local school initiations, and pedagogical platforms in contra-urban and periphery conditions.

Urgent Pedagogies is organised by Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Program and the Istanbul Design Biennial, with support from the Swedish Institute and the Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul. The event is developed by Iaspis through Project Manager Magnus Ericson together with Pelin Tan, Visiting Professor at the Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus, Nicosia.

Kurdish Urbanist Mezra Oner is speaking to Ezidi women at front of her tent, self-organised Ezidi migrant camp Diyarbakir, Cinar 2016. Photo: Pelin Tan.

“Learning became a crucial tool for gaining freedom and autonomy”, asserts architect Alessandro Petti. Accordingly, learning and teaching in design gained a special role in conflict zones, contested territories and spaces of exception. In this way, both institutional tools and methodologies create a realm of urgent understanding and definition of pedagogies. Design studios and curriculums are mainly affected by dynamics such as:  know-how of design, theories of decolonization practices, transversal methodologies in design, the question of materialism/matter, and layers of scales and its discourses.

The practice of “decolonization” in extreme territorial conditions, can both be considered as an epistemic angle and as a modernist theoretical category in the disciplines of architecture and design. The basic principles for a decolonizing educational structure, are firstly to construct non-hegemonic knowledge through collective processes; secondly, to create an ‘instituting practice’ without remaining, or never fully reaching, the status of an “institution”. Education is by default a fully instituting structure, where the institution itself becomes a machine that exists for the sake of sustaining itself. It is a form of colonizing pre-existing knowledge of all involved in the process: students and teachers alike. What is a collective process in education? It is the destruction of hierarchy of dualist structures between teacher and student, teaching and learning. Decolonizing education means collective self-teaching, learning by acting together, rejecting the gap between theory and practice, and deconstructing terms in education that are sustained by the institution, whilst preserving traditional knowledge from earth and nature. The methodology, the syllabus and the content of any topic are the base for pedagogy.

Architectural and design education is often trapped in between genres of specific territorial conditions and trans-local conflicts within form-concept relations that conservatively inform the syllabus and design studio programs. Thus, it always requires two processes: firstly, to decolonize knowledge from a certain hegemonic territorial condition, in which the particular institutionalization process is attached; and secondly, to create a transversal methodology that goes beyond form and concept in design.

Urgent Pedagogies is a half-day public event, that invites professional educators and pedagogical practitioners from the fields of design and architecture, to present on-going educational practices, discuss cases and focus on the question of methodologies and means of pedagogies. From 20th century utopian design and social approaches, to border ecologies and occupations, these sessions and panels will focus on cases from contested geographies of Palestine to Cyprus, as well examples of local school initiations, and pedagogical platforms in contra-urban and periphery conditions.

The first session will deal with the issue of decolonization methodologies in contested territories. How do border realities create pedagogical structures? How can a border become itself a methodology? What kind of social co-existence and pedagogical alliances are possible in divided zones? The second session will focus on initiations of small scales of open school or pedagogical platforms that deal with contra-urban conditions, periphery scales and localism. How can open pedagogical initiations engage with inhabitants? How can such design methods influence localism? What are commons/commoning practices?


2 pm Welcome
by Magnus Ericson and Pelin Tan

2.15 pm Historical overview
A Radical Occupation: the Remaking of Design Education in 1960’s Italy
by Peter Lang

Part 1: Border Realities, Co-existences and Methods

2:45 pm Introduction
by moderator Pelin Tan

3 pm Presentations
Borders as Pedagogies
by Pelin Tan
Doing Together
By Merve Gül Özokcu
The Tree School or Mujawara
by Sandi Hilal

4 pm Panel discussion
with Pelin Tan, Sandi Hilal and Merve Gül Özokcu


Part 2: Contra-Urban Conditions, Periphery Scales and Localism

5 pm Introduction
by moderator Sepake Angiama

5:15 pm Presentations
Strategies of Unlearning
by Joseph Grima
Learning Situations in City Making, the Open Raumlabor University
by Markus Bader
System of Splines
by Tor Lindstrand

6:30 pm Panel discussion
with Markus Bader, Tor Lindstrand, Joseph Grima, Peter Lang and Sepake Angiama

Short break

7:30 pm Concluding panel
with speakers, moderators and panel guests Jan Boelen, Onkar Kular, Mark Wigley and Merve Gül Özokcu, moderated by Pelin Tan and Magnus Ericson.


A Radical Occupation: the remaking of Design Education in 1960’s Italy
Peter Lang

While debates raged in public, during the early post-war era, on appropriate strategies for rebuilding war-torn Italian cities, monuments and museums, universities in Italy remained largely mired in pre-war politics, raising stubborn issues about educational continuity and discontinuity. Many in the university directorate were Fascist-era-appointments and continued the elite and dated policies set out under earlier 19th century educational reforms. The questions raised in this talk are focused on how students´ and faculty’s frustration with the existing educational system led to a series of occupations, disruptions, but most significantly, a radical re-thinking of education that would change the nature of academic studies and practices through the sixties and the seventies. These hard-fought battles, inside the university and outside on the streets, would in many ways have come also to serve as critical precedents for further university occupations that exploded again in the early nineties. This discussion surveys the role of bad education in the emergence of the Italian Radical Design movement.

Borders as Pedagogies
Pelin Tan

Pedagogical radicality in architecture deals directly with the knowledge-production of social realities, that demands us to invent methodologies in education. The radical questioning of the architectural discipline is deeply rooted in architectural education that still resists to go beyond studio work and usual design methodologies, to cross multiple disciplines and consider trans-local territories. Borrowing cross-methods, tools and engagement as an active researcher in everyday life, in order to experience other “knowledge” or the multiplicity of knowledge-production, urges us to alter our research methods. Reformulating forms of reactions in syllabuses, design studios or politics of academic structures of architecture faculties could lead to inventing new pedagogies. Furthermore, semi-independent research alliances have deep impact in developing alternative pedagogies. How can border ecologies co-exist and inform other pedagogies? How can the border itself function as a method in architectural research? What are the non-human elements that act as spatial agencies in social fabrication? The effects of war and the negotiation of borderlines transform our approach and methodologies of infrastructures which are not only a functional threshold of architecture, but also an instrumentalization of new conditions that are part of geontologies of landscape. Within the theoretical framework of E. Povinelli and F. Guattari, Pelin Tan will focus on terms and practice of decolonization methodology, and transversal pedagogies. By questioning the “field”, “affect” and “method” she will present examples of her teaching curriculums and ongoing territorial research cases in South East Anatolia, Palestine/Occupied Territories, Hong Kong/Shenzhen and Cyprus.

Doing Together
Merve Gül Özokcu

Herkes Icin Mimarlik (Architecture For All) is a non-profit and independent architecture organization based in Istanbul devoted to offering architectural solutions to social problems in today’s Turkey and beyond and promoting participatory design process in architecture education. Herkes Icin Mimarlik was founded in 2011 and today it has 96 members from various disciplines. Since its foundation, the organisation realizes its projects within a network formed mostly by students from design and architecture faculties in Turkey. With the idea to provide democratic and collaborative design processes between architects, urban designers, and citizens, the organization engages with the economic, political and social dynamics of the places where it works and aims to create sustainable communities through implementation of its designs.

As a multi-disciplinary platform Herkes İçin Mimarlık re-imagines the structure and scope of architectural processes. It focuses on creative ways to raise awareness about social challenges and mobilize communities in the pursuit of a social change. The organisation operates in both urban and rural contexts. With its projects, the organization leads volunteers in workshops that advocate environmentally responsible design as well as micro-economic development.

The Tree School or Mujawara
Sandi Hilal

The Tree School or Mujawara, which means “neighbourliness,” is both an installation and a pedagogical artistic practice. It is based on the concept of the decolonization of learning, where participants gather around the tree for experiential, communal learning. Under the tree school, all participants contribute to learning in a non-hierarchical common space that encourages free and critical discourse among participants. Mujawara is based on the principles of Campus in Camps, an experimental university that Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti established in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem in 2012. The practice integrates institutionalised forms of knowledge-production, with the marginalised forms of knowledge that are rooted in the living experience of communities, thus blurring the distinction between theory and practice. Based on long-term engagements, site visits, and shared research, the participants contribute to a “collective dictionary” of critical essays on keywords selected by participants, related to their environment and daily life in the refugee camp. Mujawara was originally initiated by Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti together with Brazilian-based art collective Grupo Contrafilé, as part of the 31st Biennial de São Paulo, Brazil (2015). The project draws on analogies and differences between Palestinian refugee camps and the Brazilian “quilombo,” communities established by run-away slaves in 17th-century colonial Brazil, that today encompass large areas that are spaces of refuge for the disenfranchised. The collaboration initiated a South-to-South dialogue, rarely witnessed at this level. Mujawara in Brazil brought together two worlds which share concerns around social justice and equality. The dialogue that followed examined relationships between land, exile and community. Mujawara is an on-going program that continues to seek new modalities for learning. In Brazil the participants gathered around the Baobab tree (one of the world’s oldest tree brought to Brazil from Africa). For the NYU Abu Dhabi exhibition, the artists selected the Ghaf tree, an indigenous tree in the UAE, often considered the national tree of the Emirates, as a symbol for the tree of knowledge.

Learning Situations in City Making, the Open Raumlabor University
Markus Bader

The open raumlabor university (ORU) is a fictional institution offering workshops, excursions, summer schools and open discussions as educational formats. Founded in 2015, it builds upon a long history of learning-related formats by raumlaborberlin, at the same time offering a new framing for the many participatory and exchange-oriented formats of the work. Iterations include Osthang Summer School, Urban School Ruhr and The Floating University, among others. The ORU is part of a wider move to shift from project to practice, and essentially seeks to open up a common space for exploration, improvisation and collective experimentation. It focuses on the curiosity and sense of wonder of participants, who will be encouraged to exchange experiences and develop practices together. The ORU is not fixed in time and space, and its structure and methods will vary with the context of each occurrence. The ORU seeks to create a learning environment based on dialogue, deep collaboration and lasting relations. Educational interactions extend beyond the members of the university, to a wider network involving local actors as well as international partners.

Markus Bader will be bringing educational experiences from institutional and self-organised contexts. He will be addressing the specific learnings out of open raumlabor university and how they can be related to institutional educational works.

System of Splines
Tor Lindstrand

In 1968, Jean Baudrillard, the French sociologist and philosopher, would expand on Marxist theories and suggest that objects, interiors and architectures are not only material but also vehicles of communication, they operate as signs within a system. In the book ‘System of Objects’ he argues that the analysis, the way we interpret and understand commodities in contemporary societies, should no longer be based on production, but rather on its opposite, consumption. According to Baudrillard, consumption is not merely the passive recipient of production, but an active endeavour in “the manipulation of signs” towards the creation of the “person” and its integration within the system. There is a close relationship between the subject which consumes, and the object being consumed. Baudrillard argues that to be human in contemporary society 1968, is to be an interior designer. A manipulator of signs in space, to reflect — to build an identity.

So, did this understanding leave architecture and design education today? If everybody in capitalist society is to be understood as a designer, are then architects, interior architects and designers just facilitating the smooth infrastructures needed to expand the territories of consumption? Western architecture education, as we know it today, was founded in a time (i.e. modern) when power was defined through politics. To be critical in architecture, meant formulating critique within a political matrix. The present power structures are increasingly defined through economies (i.e. postmodern). If this is true, an important question would be to ask how to think critically about the architecture of economy? How can we teach about the phenomena of consumer society without just producing even more capitalist concepts? How to imagine, in a time when architecture is about producing desire, an architecture for the fulfilment of needs?

Strategies of Unlearning
Joseph Grima

When Paulo Freire introduced his ultimate educational learning philosophy in the 70s, learning from each other, breaking the hierarchy among the pedagogical structures and experimenting the unlearning, it coincided with many experimental learning practices from the 70s utopists to other architects’ experimentations in design. How such unlearning actively and collectively can be transferred to design education and schools, is for me not only a question about how to challenge the visions of design from tools to craft in engaged community levels, but also the very institutional structure of design academies itself. In my pedagogical strategies from Eindhoven Design academy to Matera Open Design School, I aim to propose instead of a school, an instrument to grow tools at community level, a place in which everyone learns from everyone else, and where there is a continuous process of exchange between the creative skills brought by the various members. My intention is to experiment on how a design school can become a platform to give students the possibility to make things, preferably not simulations or prototypes. A school that is not a vehicle for the indoctrination of dogmas or that draws from what’s familiar, but an incubator and ideas laboratory that draws its inspiration from real life and also designs for it. In my presentation I would like to show examples of process from these platforms and my research in various local conditions, from Shenzhen to Matera and others, in order to provide a planetary urgency of an assemblage between manual skills, simulations and the very idea of design tools in unlearning. Furthermore, I would like to discuss the limits and fluidity of pedagogical institutional structures.



Sepake Angiama is a curator and educator interested in discursive practices, the social framework, and how we shape and form our experiences in understanding the world. She is inspired by working with artists who disrupt or provoke the social sphere through action, design, dance, and architecture. She is the initiator of Under the Mango Tree: Sites of Learning in cooperation with ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Stuttgart. Through notions of unlearning and indigenous knowledge, artist-led project spaces, libraries, and schools interested in unfolding discourses, artists, education practitioners and programmers gather to discuss and build radical education practices that destabilize the European canon. Previously, Sepake Angiama was Head of Education for Documenta 14, Kassel, 2017; Director of Education for Manifesta 10, Saint Petersburg, 2014; and Curator of Public Programmes at Turner Contemporary, Margate. Sepake Angiama has created education programs for several institutions, including Tate Modern, London, and Hayward Gallery, London. Sepake Angiama lives and works in transition. Sepake Angiama is a Co-Curator of the upcoming Chicago Architecture Biennial, 2019.

Markus Bader is a member of raumlaborberlin, that was founded in 1999 as a commons of spatial practice. Including also Andrea Hofmann, Jan Liesegang, Christof Mayer and Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, Matthias Rick († 2012), Francesco Apuzzo, Axel Timm, Frauke Gerstenberg, Florian Stirnemann, it has currently 9 members. Through its practice, raumlabor has developed and explored an extended concept of architecture and space beyond the built object. raumlaborberlin was honoured with the Berlin Award 2015 – Heimat in der Fremde, the Core77 Design Awards 2017 – Built Environment, the Curry Stone Design Prize 2017 – Social Design Circle and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture 2018 – Architecture as an agent of civic empowerment. Markus Bader studied Architecture in Berlin and London. He graduated in 1996 at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. Markus Bader’s academic activities include Guest professorships in Düsseldorf, Kassel and Prague, complemented by many workshops and lectures held internationally. Since 2016 he is professor at the Institute of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of the Arts, Berlin.

Jan Boelen is Curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, Artistic Director of Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt, Belgium; and Artistic Director of Atelier LUMA, an experimental laboratory for design in Arles. He also holds the position of Head of the Master Department Social Design at Design Academy Eindhoven. Since its opening, Z33 House for Contemporary Art has been fashioning projects and exhibitions that encourage the visitor to look at everyday objects in a novel manner. It is a unique laboratory for experiment and innovation, and a meeting place with cutting-edge exhibitions of contemporary art and design. With Z33 Research, design and art research studios, established in 2013, Jan Boelen is transforming Z33 from exhibition-based to a research-based institution. At the initiative of Z33 and the Province of Limburg, Manifesta 9 took place in Belgium, in 2012. As part of his role at Z33, Jan Boelen curated the 24th Biennial of Design in Ljubljana, in 2014.

Magnus Ericson is a curator, project coordinator and educator based in Stockholm. He currently combines work as a Project Manager at Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme, with educational and curatorial projects. Since 2014 he has been initiating and running two experimental postgraduate courses on socially-engaged critical practice; Sites and Situations and Organising Discourse, at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm. Between 2009 and 2014 Magnus Ericson was a Senior Advisor/Coordinator and Curator for a new design-related program at Arkdes, Sweden´s National Center for Architecture and Design, in Stockholm. Between 2007 and 2009 he was assigned as a Project Manager at Iaspis to pursue and develop their activities within the fields of design, crafts and architecture. Together with Ramia Maze he was the author and co-editor of DESIGN ACT Socially and politically engaged design today – critical roles and emerging tactics (Berlin, Sternberg Press 2011).

Joseph Grima is an architect, curator and writer. Since 2017, he has been the Creative Director of Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2014, he was appointed Artistic Director of Matera European Capital of Culture 2019. He is a founder and partner at Space Caviar, an architecture and research practice operating at the intersection of design, technology, critical theory and the public realm. From 2014 to 2017, Joseph Grima was Director of IdeasCity, an itinerant program of conferences and residencies organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, in New York. In 2014, he was appointed Co-Curator of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest exhibition of contemporary architecture in the history of North America. In 2012, he co-directed the first Istanbul Design Biennial. From 2011 to 2013 he was Editor-in-Chief of Domus and between 2007 and 2010 he was the Director of Storefront for Art and Architecture, an independent gallery in New York City.

Sandi Hilal is an architect and researcher, currently based in Stockholm. She was the Head of the Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Program in the West Bank at UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) from 2008 to 2014. In 2007, together with Alessandro Petti and Eyal Weizman, she founded DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) in Beit Sahour, Palestine. DAAR was awarded the Claus Prize for Architecture, the Foundation for Arts Initiative Grant, shortlisted for the Iakov Chernikhov Prize, and showed in various biennales and museums around the world (www.decolonizing.ps). Together with Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal founded Campus in Camps, an experimental educational program hosted in Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem (www.campusincamps.ps). Together with Alessandro Petti she co-authored the book Architecture after Revolution (Sternberg, Berlin 2014), an invitation to rethink today’s struggles for justice and equality not only from the historical perspective of revolution, but also from that of a continued struggle for decolonization.

Onkar Kular is a designer and Professor at HDK, Academy of Design and Crafts, Gothenburg University. His research is disseminated internationally through exhibitions, education and publications. From 2008-2015, Onkar led the postgraduate design programme Platform 13 at the Royal College of Art, London, an interdisciplinary platform that explored the role of design within political and economic systems, culture and society. His work is in the collections of the CNAP, France, and the Crafts Council, UK. He has guest-curated exhibitions for the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, Karachi, and Crafts Council, UK. From 2014-16 he was a Stanley Picker Fellow at Kingston University, and he is the Co-Organiser of the educational framework Night School on Anarres. In 2017 he directed the first Gothenburg Design Festival Open Week, a collaboration between HDK and local cultural organisations exploring new ideas about learning, work and social justice.

Peter Lang is Professor in Architectural Theory and History at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, where he conducts post-graduate and pre-doctorate research courses in architecture, design and multimedia communications. Peter Lang works on the history and theory of post-war Italian architecture and design, with a focus on sixties Italian experimental design, media and environments. Since 1997 he has been a member of the Rome-based urban arts research group Stalker. Peter Lang has written and curated a number of projects on the Italian Radical Design and Architecture movement, most recently in 2016 The Mondial Festival in Mashup: the Birth of Modern Culture at Vancouver Art Gallery Museum, and in 2013, at the Graham Foundation Chicago, Lang co-curated, together with Luca Molinari and Mark Wasiuta, the fourth edition of Environments and Counter Environment: Italy the New Domestic Landscape.

Tor Lindstrand is a Stockholm based architect and Senior Lecturer at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, and former Associate Professor at the KTH School of Architecture, Stockholm. In 2004 he co-founded International Festival, a practice working on context-specific projects spanning from buildings, publications, films, installations, public interventions and situations. In 2010 he initiated Economy together with Art Director Jessica Watson-Galbraith. Within the research project Space, Power and Ideology he did research on the recent history of alternative practices in the field of architecture and design. As an associate professor at KTH (2008-2018) he was responsible for a studio focused on developing design methods linked to social and political dimensions of architecture in various local context. The courses focused on Million Homes Program neighbourhoods such as Tensta, Rinkeby and Northern Botkyrka, in the greater Stockholm. The work was always long-term and in close collaboration with different local organizations and individuals.

Pelin Tan is a sociologist and art historian, an Associate Professor, Architecture Department, University of Cyprus, Nicosia. She worked as Associate Professor and Vice Dean of Architecture Faculty, Mardin Artuklu University. She was a Visiting Research Associate Professor of Design Strategies at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Design (2016), Guest Professor at Architecture Design Master Programme, Nuernberg (2008). Pelin Tan was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Architecture and Planning, ACT Program, MIT (2011), Research Fellow of Japan Foundation – Osaka Urban Research Plaza (2012), DAAD at Art History, Humboldt University (2007) and Hong Kong Design Trust (2016-17). She is at the board of the pedagogical consortium on Refugee Heritage, Campus in Camps, Dheisheh Palestinian Refugee Camp. She is a lead author of Cities, the International Panel on Social Progress (Edit. S.Sassen&E.Pieterse, Cambridge Press. 2018), author of the publications 2000+: Urgencies of Architectural Theories (GSAPP, 2015), The Silent University: Toward Transversal Pedagogy (Sternberg Press, 2016). Pelin Tan participated in the Oslo Architecture Triennial in 2016, Istanbul Biennale in 2007 and 2015, Lisbon Architecture Triennial, and Montreal Biennial. Tan is curator of GardenUtopia, Matera Cultural Capital 2019. In 2008 she was a Curator in Residence Fellow at Iaspis.

Mark Wigley is Professor and Dean Emeritus at Columbia GSAPP. He served as Dean from 2004 to 2014. Wigley has written extensively on the theory and practice of architecture and is the author of Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (1998); White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995); and The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt (1993). He co-edited The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationalist Architectures from Constant’s New Babylon to Beyond (2001). In 2005 he co-founded Volume magazine with Rem Koolhaas and Ole Bouman as a collaborative project by Archis (Amsterdam), AMO (Rotterdam), and C-lab (Columbia University). Wigley curated the exhibition Deconstructivist Architecture at The Museum of Modern Art, and others at The Drawing Center, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; and Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam. Mark Wigley was awarded the Resident Fellowship, Chicago Institute for Architecture and Urbanism (1989), International Committee of Architectural Critics (C.I.C.A.) Triennial Award for Architectural Criticism (1990) and a Graham Foundation Gran (1997). He received both his Bachelor of Architecture (1979) and his Ph.D. (1987) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Merve Gül Özokcu is an architect and activist based in Istanbul. She is trained in architecture but holds also a Master of Science degree with a thesis on alternative process-based approaches to Architecture. She is continuing her PhD studies at İstanbul Technical University and, since 2011, she conducts projects at Herkes İçin Mimarlık Derneği (Architecture for All Association – HIM). This is a non-profit organization devoted to offering architectural solutions to social problems faced today in Turkey and beyond, and promoting participatory design process in architectural education. Merve Gül Özokcu has worked for over 4 years as an instructor at several universities. She became a part of Abdullah Gül University’s Campus Project, Greyder Shoe Factory with Cirakoglu Architects. She has earned several awards such as Archiprix Graduation Project in Architecture. Her articles, interviews and selected projects have been published and exhibited in various media.

IASPIS is the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists. Its mission is to work with internationalisation in various ways with the aim of increasing and developing contacts between Swedish artists and international institutions, fellow artists, the general public and the markets with the aim of contributing to artistic development and improved working and income opportunities. This is done by means of direct support for various forms of international cultural exchange, studio programmes in Sweden and abroad, informational activities and expert visits, as well as via a public programme of activities which formulate and explore topical issues in contemporary visual art and design from an international perspective.

The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, titled A School of Schools, investigates design as learning, and learning as design. Taking place from 22 September to 4 November 2018, this multi-platform event will use, test, and revise a variety of educational strategies to reflect on the role of design, knowledge, and global connectedness in contemporary Istanbul and beyond. During six weeks, practitioners, educators and thinkers from Turkey and abroad will converge to create a public space for dialogue, provocation and production. A School of Schools will take place across six renowned cultural institutions in Istanbul, becoming a truly “distributed” biennial.