Today, we take you to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, also known as SAIC. We’re here to meet participants in Imagining Tomorrow. The yearly experiential learning opportunity brings together students from schools in the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Pakistan. During each two-week seminar, they gather in a different host community to envision possible futures through design thinking. The clients are local organizations who ask the students to imagine solutions to real-life challenges—such as environmental sustainability and immigrant integration.
Chicago-based artists Kirsten Leenaars and Laura Davis co-created this international project. A lecturer at SAIC, Leenaars introduces us to three students who have experienced Imagining Tomorrow in Utrecht, Netherlands and Karlsruhe, Germany. Their studies range from film, animation and video to architecture and fashion. In our conversation, you’ll hear how in a range of cultural contexts, students and educators alike forge meaningful relationships and learn to navigate business and government protocols. Crossing international borders to collaborate and innovate, students bring creativity outside the classroom—engaging with communities and learning to lead.
Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio courtesy Imagining Tomorrow
View the Episode Transcription Here: SAIC Imagining Tomorrow Transcript
Related Episodes: Wayne State—Designing for Urban Mobility, OCAD University—Curating in the Digital Realm
Imagining Tomorrow is a two-week international seminar in which students from schools in the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Pakistan come together to collaboratively address questions about future design thinking. They work with clients from international public and private organizations to propose interdisciplinary solutions to real-life issues. Participating schools: HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands; SAIC, Chicago, USA; Karlshochschule International University, Karlsruhe, Germany; Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi, Pakistan. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago will host the 2020 seminar.
Kirsten Leenaars, an interdisciplinary video artist based in Chicago, lectures at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Various forms of performance, theater, and documentary strategies make up the threads that run through her work. She engages with individuals and communities to create participatory video and performance work. Her work oscillates between fiction and documentation, reinterprets personal stories and reimagines everyday realities through shared authorship, staging and improvisation.
Laura Davis is a multi-disciplinary artist interested in objects and craft. Her works both present their own histories but easily adapt to how Davis recontextualizes them. She wields and contradicts assumed archetypes of gendered roles, reimagining new relationships by creating handcrafted metal sculpture combined with gender specific readymade objects. Her interactions disrupt notions of value at the intersections of art, design and craft.
The Student Edition began in 2019, with visits to art schools and universities in the United States and Canada, where we began recording voices of the future. In 2020, we present the first episodes in our Student Edition—conversations about creativity with emerging makers and producers. Given opportunities to explore and experiment, students are discovering how they can shape the world they live in.