A School of Schools is a multi-platform biennale that 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.
The amount of information in the world is more than doubling every two years. People know more than ever before. Lifelong learning is touted as the only way to keep a job and keep your head. Chalk and talk, and reciting multiplication tables has no chance against the animated distractions in our pockets. Meanwhile, the machines themselves have started learning too. What will be left for humans to do and which mental faculties remain irreplaceable are hot topics. Is it time to go back to school – and redesign it?
Alternative design education initiatives have consistently provided a brave space for experimentation and new knowledge, from the Bauhaus to Black Mountain College, and from Global Tools to the Sigma Group. These initiatives have not only helped design evolve, question itself and push its own boundaries, but also education and learning in general. Not only concerned with design, many of these experiments have also tested alternative ways of living, working, and connecting with each other and ourselves. Through this process-based experiential research, new manifestations, meanings, and implications of design have surfaced.
Today, design has become a form of enquiry, power and agency. It has become vaster than the world and life itself, permeating all layers of everyday life. As design becomes pervasive, the discipline can no longer claim to offer solutions to everything. In fact, the one-size-fits-all approach of many universal global systems is showing its cracks and exclusions. Similarly, design education – where the field and its practitioners have traditionally been reviewed and refined – now finds itself navigating new constraints and challenges regarding relevance, adaptability, accessibility, and finances.