Seeing Unsettlement/Intercultural Learning Event 2016
Seeing Unsettlement/Intercultural Responses: Report on Learning Event January 3 - February 5, 2016
The event centred on the visualisation of intercultural action in the age of unsettlement that fully unfolds the nature of the concept. It was based on the proposition that the deepening problems and proliferating complexity of climate change, global geopolitical instability, actual and potential inter-cultural conflict, global inequity and rapid technological change all combine to unsettle vast numbers of people in numerous ways. In so many ways many people feel like the world is broken.
Besides Australian participants the cultures of Egypt, Canada, the USA, Colombia, and Latvia were also represented. The first part of the event engaged the conceptual and theoretical issues of Unsettlement/Intercultural Responses. This was followed by groups working on a number of collective projects based on event themes. This followed by each participant developing their own specific project. These will be listed soon. The event culminated with a well attended exhibition by invitation of work produced over the the final two weeks.
The event was led by Tony Fry with support from associates Duncan Fairfax (UK), Frances Whitehead (USA), Tim Tim Jachna (Hong Kong), Anne-Marie Willis (Egypt) and Eleni Kalantidou (Australia). Listed below are the projects that participants created to continue an engagement with the issues and interests developed during the Learning Event. They will take place within and beyond Australia. Additionally there are two more participants whose contribution to the Event: Olivia Scott and Pharan Ahtarkhavar
The Studio at the Edge of the World 2016 Learning Event raised crucial questions for me, the answers to which I will continue to seek out for the rest of my life. It was the most significant educational event I have ever attended. I now have a greater appreciation for the complexity of the world in which I dwell and I feel equipped to begin to mobilise my practice towards creating the conditions for the Sustainment.'
The Studio at the Edge of the World Learning Event 2016 on Seeing
Unsettlement / Intercultural Responses was a challenging and immersive experience. The event continues to change what and how I see and think and I have taken from the experience much development and collaboration opportunities.
An opportunity to share and inspire amongst a unique group of humans.
Giving me strength to conquer my goals.
Tony Fry's warnings about unsettlement should be heard by a wider audience. Despite the need to travel to the edge of the world, it's worth the journey. Launceston is the ideal venue for SEW: all the amenities of a small city plus world-class natural environments near by.
The Studio at the Edge of the World is an extraordinary learning event, bringing the challenges of a globalised world, to the sleepy, picturesque town of Launceston, Tasmania. Tony Fry and his associates created a convivial, dynamic and challenging studio which resulted in lifelong learning, both personally and professionally. Recommended for those with an inquisitive mind and an open heart.
Coming all the way from Egypt, my experience at the studio was invaluable. I had the opportunity to interact and engage in cultural exchange with people from different countries - we had necessary discussions around our unsustainable human condition which were eyeopening. This experience reinvigorated my determination to develop a project that could potentially impact the state of the world we live in, even at a very small scale. It was stressful and challenging but hopeful.
Introducing Decolonial and Border Thinking in introducing Madina Tlostanova
The decolonial option is a conceptual movement and praxis aimed at questioning and undermining the only legitimate and naturalized version of modernity/coloniality with its familiar ideals of progressivism, consumerism, urbanism, applied ecology, sanctified technological development, rigid managerial strategies applied in the spheres of knowledge and subjectivity production, competitiveness and rationality gone absurd, appropriation and commercialization of difference and social protest, imposition of certain normalized aesthetic principles and norms of perception. These modern/colonial tendencies are reflected in all spheres of life including design. Understood not merely in its applied and technological facets, but rather as a powerful ontological tool, capable of transforming the social and cultural reality, human experience and subjectivity, design is clearly one of the spheres in which ontology and epistemology intersect in a dynamic and creative way. In decolonial option this is called the geopolitics and body-politics of knowledge, being, and sensing, that is the concrete material biographical, historical and local/spatial conditions of subjectivity production, the design of the self. In many societies today design strategies have turned into a medium of major social transformations whose nature and direction, are still waiting to be properly conceptualized and criticized, especially if we are dealing with various borderlands, peripheries and semi-peripheries whose relations with modernity have always been problematic. Border thinking and border perception originating in these fringes of modernity is marked by double consciousness, multiple optics, many-valued logic, and can potentially lead to even more radical rethinking of design, to its decolonization as an overall perceptive mechanism grounded in Eurocentrism and often successfully hiding its global imperial claims. Decolonial option rooted in border thinking and border epistemology, can be one of the tools further leading design into its ontological dimensions and focusing on the critique of our perception colonized by modern Eurocentric axiology.
Understood in a broader sense design refers also to re/de-structuring of such institutions of learning, of creation and distribution of knowledge as universities as the products of modernity/coloniality. Redesigning and decolonizing contemporary university as an institution presupposes questioning its very grounds and “learning to unlearn in order to relearn” to quote one of the Amerindian principles of the philosophy of education aimed at teaching the young people how to be themselves in the world rather than supplying them with some factual information about the world. There are more and more universities in the world today which are designed in such a way as to revive and retrace the alternative institutions of knowledge production and distribution, the genealogies of learning and education, that were once expelled from modernity and from the mainstream rational knowledge production and control. Such borderlands universities can potentially offer a viable alternative to the dying neoliberal corporate university of today.
University of Tasmania Creative Exchange Institute (CxI)
CxI is pleased to announce its collaborative partnership with Prof Tony Fry to develop the Studio at the Edge of the World
CxI is an initiative by the University of Tasmania to spearhead different ways of thinking to face a world that is changing in ways in which traditional thought, engagement, decision making and economic models are struggling to keep pace. It is a centre for interdisciplinary research engagement and exchange, mediated by experimental approaches in architecture, design, and visual and performing arts.
Positioned squarely at the forefront of a movement where professional innovation, social engagement and community participation form the basis of new thinking, CxI will be supporting SEW through project definition, academic discourse and design prototyping with the aim to lead the cultural imagination, enhance community wellbeing for the local environment whilst influencing and interacting globally through leadership, partnerships and collaborations.
Professor Stephen Loo, Director, CxI