field trip: elia experience

»Exploring Situatedness« as an entrepreneurship unit at this years ELIA academy in Évora, Portugal and bringing creative agency into the conversation.

An outing

»Exploring Situatedness« Academy was conducted 9-12 of May in Évora, Portugal. seekicks/ weißensee kunsthochschule berlin is a member of ELIA Artschools which is a European network in the area of higher arts education which facilitates exchange of good practice in this area. 

The conference was an unforgettable experience bringing together professionals from various creative educational backgrounds to think, share and learn how we can shape educational curricula and structures in the area of art and design.

As an entrepreneurship unit, that has been in the art and design structure since 2016, we can say that students and alumni require multiple skills that can enable them to enter contexts with courage and joy in order to play a proactive role in these contexts. 

Our current approach is grounded in the idea of »creative agency« as a way to activate creative potential as a vehicle to ignite positive developments. As a small team, we develop and implement various formats from seminars to live studios acting in the city. 

The method

During the conference we shared our method »creative agency» in a conversation, by asking the conference participants three questions: »How do you perceive reality?«, »What would you like to change?« and »What do you need to make this change?« Our intention was to spark a discussion which mirrors individual perception and creates a link to the environments around us. This process is then triggered not by external assignments, service or a solution for somebody, but an ability to understand yourself as an entity that is capable of influencing the world by choices as well as small or big contributions. This is a very important element of the work we have been focusing on. As we have more urgency to act as a society, we have also the urgency of taking the time to think, situate and position ourselves. The third question was there to see what elements people consider for realization and in how far they go into the process of identifying like-minded individuals to start the endeavor. 

Humble ways

Among many approaches and experiments that were demonstrated at Evora we would like to mention the strong presence of methods that facilitate connectedness to nature and sensory method as e.g. the work Zsófia Szonja Illés from Moholy-Nagy University of Design, Hungary who works on mobilising alternative voices and experiences of the landscape. Also, the variety of ways to explore the potential of our bodies which we experienced through workshops with Roberta Alessandrini, Istituto Europeo di Design, Rome, Italyand Andrea Palasti, Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad, Serbia. 

Evora situated in the region Aletejo, a place of heritage and beauty will also stay in our hearts. During the conference we took part in the silent walk accompanied by Susana Mendes-Silva, Beatriz Cantinho from the University of Évora. We walked from a the Convento de Santa Maria Coeli along the Agua de Prata Aqueduct, which used to provide Evora with water, into the city. A symbolic way – creative people like water entering spaces to make and keep them alive.

This was a contribution from Anastasia Zagorni.