Blog by Kristina Kasumović
Every year Veldacademie organizes a Student event. For the event we connect students across educational institutions (architecture, planning, sociology) for a pleasant afternoon of interdisciplinary learning. How can we foster collaboration and sharing knowledge across disciplines? I asked myself this question repeatedly while organizing this year's Student event.
The goal of the Student event is to create an open space for networking between Veldacademie employees, teachers and a variety of students. Every participant has different expertise, but with overlapping interests like feeling at home, health, circularity and housing. More importantly, the topics are connected to Resilient Delta innitiative that works on city-level resilience by designing solutions to societal issues in Rotterdam. My first thought is to create a game, forcing students to step into each other's shoes. But how can you do that? How do you make people think outside their own discipline? The end product ended up being very simple. By just talking to each other, sharing knowledge, ideas, skills and projects new perspectives emerged. This was accelerated through the Marketplace idea, which is basically a brown paper on a wall and post-it notes. Simple and fun but does the trick! How does this Marketplace work?
Each student prepared four presentation slides. They where asked to present who they are; the Veldacademie project they work on; their skills (what they can offer to the group); and what kind of help they need from the group. Before the event every participant receives a post-it note where they share their knowledge, offer their help or ask for help from the group. These post-its are placed on a large brown paper on a wall. During the presentations all participants write comments on Post-it notes, which are collected and placed next to the students' photos. As you can see in the photographs, this turns out to be a great way to make people connect without the pressure of speaking up. It is very impressive to see the willingness of all participants to expand their own knowledge base by collaboration.
The event makes me think: How can city life look like if planners regulary work across disciplines? Would public space feel more inclusive? Would the society be kinder or more accepting? Does it make you think in a different way when we share knowledge across disciplines in the beginning of our research process?