March 14, 2022

Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab

Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm

Carole Douillard, Idir (still), 2018. Film, in collaboration with Babette Mangolte. © Carole Douillard, Babette Mangolte.

Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab is a one-year international course for professional practitioners in art, architecture, and related fields, especially those interested in, or working with, visual and spatial practices. Working with practice-based thinking and making, we experiment with artistic strategies and language in our common spaces—beyond commissions. This methodology becomes a way of insisting that artistic language and voices play an active role in critically rethinking the values our society is built on, taking part in proposing alternative imaginaries and narratives.

We meet every four weeks at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm for a session of five days, with intensive programming that includes practice-based work, developing working methodologies, workshops, lectures, seminars, site visits, group discussions and coaching.

Theme and content
Each year we take a starting point in the development of a certain area in Stockholm, treated as a case-study. These studies are all rooted in a long-term commitment to a site in Stockholm where a completely new district will emerge during the coming ten years. Here the participants of OPI Lab explore how we as practitioners—with local engagement and with the help of experimental interdisciplinary artistic methods—can contribute to a reinterpretation of the area, its public life and the future development.

Everyone contributes in their own way, approaching from their own practice and with their own sensibilities. We work in small interdisciplinary teams of four to five people. OPI Lab participants should be interested in working with others to create and develop new projects in an experimental and interdisciplinary setting through peer-to-peer learning and unlearning.

OPI Lab has ongoing access to a space located in the neighborhood of the case-study. We aim to make use of this from time to time as a starting point for engaging with different publics. With the help of artistic strategies which can function as a way of making “propositions”, we intend to pose questions and initiate discussions with these publics.

OPI Lab offers a platform that serves not only as a one-year advanced course but also builds a hub for new collaborations, with the intention to make actual projects happen in the near future.

Course structure
The course hopes to gather a diverse group of people working with different approaches. We believe different backgrounds and life experiences enrich the learning experience and the discussions that can take place, and significantly, that a diverse group of voices is essential in creating alternate imaginaries which can shape our public spaces.

The Lab’s five-day blocks at Royal Institute in Stockholm are mandatory, with a minimum of 80-percent attendance required on site. However, during recent years the OPI Lab has developed effective and adaptive methods for teaching that takes place online and on site in parallel. Those methods could easily be adapted, should external factors force us.

Between the blocks the participants independently develop their work and arrange sessions to work together within their smaller teams (online or on site). The school facilities can be used during the entire academic year.

OPI offers access to an international network of professionals, institutions, and guest lecturers. Invited guest voices we have previously listened to and spoken with include:

Raqs Media Collective, Sumayya Vally, Joar Nango, Hanni Kamaly, Katie Paterson, Assemble, Nato Thomson, Cooking Sections, Jill Magid, Johanna Gustafsson Fürst, Céline Condorelli, Sudarshan V. Khadka Jr and Alexander Eriksson Furunes, Wael Al Awar, Jumana Manna, Unscene Architecture (Manijeh Verghese & Madeleine Kessler), Marjetica Potrč, Anne Beate Hovind, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Ken Lum and Paul Farber of Monument Lab, Ed D’Souza, Goldin + Senneby, Mary Ellen Caroll, Juan Canela, Olivia Plender, Joanna Zawieja, Runo Lagomarsino, Lea Porsager, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Lisa Tan, Studio Ossidiana, Magdalena Malm, Theodor Ringborg and Kieran Long.

Responsible teachers for the course: Professor and artist Jonas Dahlberg, junior lecturer and curator Jasmine Hinks.

Read more and apply.

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