Daily Archives: October 9, 2008

Amsterdam Over Winter Term?

Courtesy of Susan Umbenhour


Travel Project – 2 weeks – from January 8th- 22nd, 2009


Informational Meeting for students – Wednesday, October, 15th 4:30pm South Dome behind Clarence Ward Wing

Twelve students from the Art, Art History and Environmental Studies departments, led by Don Harvey and Susan Umbenhour, will travel to Amsterdam, Holland to engage in a two week workshop with Carolyn Strauss. As architect and designer, Strauss is an emerging leader in the sustainable design movement, the founder of Slowiab and one of the major international proponents of Slow Design whose principles have been around for five years and are now recognized in the seminal Design Dictionary published by Birkhauser. These students will become immersed in Slowlab’s philosophy through a series of presentations and dialogues, site visits, studio exercises, and other creative explorations—using local people, settings and projects to stimulate their understanding of slow design as a form of creative activism and a valuable path to sustainability. Her colleague and partner, Allastair Fuad-Luke are the momentum behind a group of cutting edge designers, artists, and architects and have grounded themselves in creative activism, a slower pace pathway to sustainable living and design.

Her movement shares principles and motivation with the Slow Food movement, which has been around for 17 years and is more widely known. The slow movement in general is a reaction against things like fast foods; the homogenization of cultures; the risks of monocultures in both agricultural and natural realms; the commercialization of daily life on a global scale. In turn, it champions local and regional differences and specificity; diversity in all forms of cultural activity and identity; small scale enterprise; and activities designed to bring people together in community oriented actions. A major focus of the workshop will be to build a continuing relationship with a design organization which offers a paradigm to assist Oberlin students in developing strategies for implementation on the Oberlin Campus.

The first six days of the workshop in Amsterdam will serve to introduce the six sustainable principles of Slow Design and discuss projects that are relevant to each principle. The next 3 days will be spent in Friesland (Eco Cathedral / Time Foundation)and the northern island of Terschelling studying further projects. The last three work days will be spent back in Amsterdam working on projects/strategies to bring dialogue and intervention to the Oberlin campus when students return for Spring Semester.

This latter aspect of the project is one we consider of highest importance.

By creating the necessity that students conceive and execute projects, we help assure that the information they gain is consolidated and assimilated by putting it into practice, and we allow the students to become ‘ambassadors’ for what we hope will become a joint research initiative for Studio Art, Art History/Architecture and the Environmental Studies curriculums.

Students interested in NETHERLANDS WT experience


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