Throughout 4 days of intense engagement, USR essentially seek to open up a common space for exploration, improvisation and collective experimentation around the topic of learning and its spaces. With Ethel Baraona Pohl (dpr Barcelona), Antoine Aubinais (Bellastock), Hendrik Sturm, Laura Lovatel & Federica Menin, Isshaq Al-Barbary (Campus in Camps), Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga.


The Urban School Ruhr is organized in three different departments: Spaces of Learning, Practices of Commoning, and Intervention as a Strategy. Its 2016’s Open Programme was developed in autumn throughout five sessions taking place in the cities of Witten and Hattingen. In addition to the departments, the programme is amplified via cooperations with associated tutors and educational partners. Each session comprises of different learning formats:


ON-SITE WORKSHOPS are conceived as a three to four days opportunity for participants to explore diverse approaches and engage with activities within the urban environment. By allowing practice to inform theory, we will be learning by doing.


ASSEMBLY SEMINARS provide a discussion-oriented learning format, where anyone interested can join and exchange experiences and thoughts.


DISCURSIVE DINNERS Understanding the kitchen as a site of dialogue and reciprocity, attendees cook and eat together. During the dinner, invited speakers do a short presentation – in between courses- followed by an informal discussion.


22-25.09.16 – Session II
Spaces of Learning


What should we be learning, and how should we be learning it? Spaces of Learning aims at the creation of critical learning environments and experiences that are breaking away from the established and regulated environments of knowledge production.
The following activities unfolded during the session:


On-Site Workshop with Laura Lovatel & Federica Menin: Learning f(r)o(m)r what? Learning f(r)o(m)r whom? investigated the idea behind “learning” as a preparatory moment and as an emancipatory practice. Visiting alternative educational initiatives throughout the Ruhrgebiet – such as a Waldorf school, a youth centre and commune- the workshop provided an opportunity to reflect on these not only as learning spaces but as living models that offer unending education.

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Lernort als Ressource. An Assembly Seminar conducted by Hendrik Sturm. Participants studied USR’s campus in Witten as a cognitive resource for the learning itself and questioned the relationship between content/programme and place.

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From Demolition to Deconstruction an Assembly Seminar by Antonie Aubinais and USR’s Mobile Aula first pubic appearance! The Assembly Seminar happened at the threshold of Witten’s main shopping area- and explored the idea behind Bellastock’s method of “reuse”.

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The discursive dinner tackled different approaches to unconventional educational practices such as Campus in Camps – an experimental educational program in Palestinian refugee camps- presented by Isshaq Al-Barbary; The Public School Berlin and The Public Library presented by Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga and Ethel Baraona Pohl’s Alchemy of the Classroom.

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USR last Assembly Seminar took place atop a shopping mall in Hattingen during a warm Saturday afternoon. Together tutors and participants created their own space for learning: the “Tragluft Klassenzimmer” (a.k.a. the bubble) hoping to engage together with Ethel Baraona Pohl in the exercise of publishing. However, it was so hot inside the Bubble and participants were so tired after four intense days of non-stop activities, that it was decided spontaneously to reflect on what had happened rather than to force production for the sake of fulfilling a previously designed programme.

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