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Research Week February 2021

Meanwhile at Luchtbal

8-12 February 2021

Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp
with UA Design Sciences
International Design Workshop week

Download the brochure

The second Research Week from 8 to 12 February 2021 will focus on the Luchtbal district of Antwerp. About fifteen different workshops are organised by UA and the Academy as part of the International Design Workshop (IDW) week of the Faculty of Design Sciences. Just like last year, IDW 2021 will be working on what is considered to be Antwerp's most epic building project in the XXI century: the capping of the Antwerp ring road. The story of this capping talks about solutions for the traffic around Antwerp, better liveability in the city through better air, more green areas, connecting neighbourhoods that are now separated by the Ring. But also about a long period of 10 to 15 years of construction time before the canopy will be ready. So what happens in the meantime? These ten tot fifteen years is about the timeframe during which a child becomes an adolescent and an adolescent an adult. Can we make good use of this ‘intermediary’ time? How can this time span be given meaning in creating a better future for this area and its inhabitants? This is the question that art students at the Academy and designers-in-training at UA will address, in mixed groups and together with (young people from) the neighbourhood.

This edition IDW2021 focusses on culture - culture as an emanation of what was and what is, but also as a space where future is made. Culture is performative. Cultural “performance” gives exposure to both “what lives among people” and “how the world could become”. How then can the long term of the construction works become a period of meaningful transition and empowerment, rather than a temporary, but one decade long, nuisance and burden? What is to be contributed when this issue is explored this from an artistic or design practice?

In the International Design Workshop Week, ‘design’ is understood as a process of identifying available resources, actors and ideas, and bringing them into a new constellation, in order to reveal something better than could be expected so far, and meant to be owned by someone else (a product developer conceives a new product but is not the user; an (interior) architect designs a house but is not the one who will inhabit it; the artist realizes a work of art in order to be experienced by others...).

The 5-day working week closes with the ‘Festival of the meantime’. The festival is seen as an offer for local groups and communities to speak up and claim space. As the designer is not the owner of the artefact that is designed, so is IDW2021 not the owner of the festival. The actors are locals, the acts are performed by locals. The aim of IDW2021 is thus rather to design a set of acts, devices, services and places, that can seduce locals for participation, performance and place making.


Five-day working week with workshops in mixed groups with students of Fine Arts from the Academy and students of UA Departments of Architecture, Product Development, Interior Architecture and Heritage.

For whom?
For Master students of the Academy who included 'masterclass 2' (3STPT) in their study programme. There will be no theory lessons nor studio work in these weeks. This allows participating masters to make time and space for new experiences.

Programme & practical info?
Find here the complete program of eighteen interdisciplinary workshops.
The workshops will take place on campus (Mutsaard), on site (Luchtbal) and online with specific timeslots per locations which will be communicated in advance in an timing and planning per workshop, taking into account the COVID-situation at that time.

Composition of the groups?
Each workshop has a fixed number of places reserved for students of the Academy and of the university disciplines, thus creating interdisciplinary groups of 15 to 18 places per workshop, of which two to three places will be available for Academy students.

How and when to register?
You can register online from Monday 1 February - 12 noon (link follows via your e-mail address) based on the 'first comes first served' principle. As it is the intention that the groups represent a balanced mix of art students and design students, only a limited number of places can be reserved for Academy students in each workshop. Once the choice for a specific workshop has been registered, that choice can no longer be changed by the student. Workshops that are full can no longer be chosen.

More information on IDW2021