The Workshop and Cultural Production
Anja Groten contributes the essay 'The Workshop and Cultural Production' to Amsterdam-based publication platform 'Open!'
Essay: The Workshop and Cultural Production
The workshop is a popular framework in cultural production that brings together groups of people from different fields in order to (co-)produce knowledge. Situated between work and leisure, workshops are organized within extra-curricular activities, such as symposia, incubator programmes, and innovation labs. Those activities emerge from public cultural institutions, for-profit festivals and congresses, academic conferences, and small non-profit initiatives. Buzzwords like ‘rapid prototyping’ or ‘agility’ promote high-velocity technological development and imply that the workshop format is a highly productive one.
From the perspective of design practice and more specifically, by looking at collaborative approaches to technology design, this essay explores the workshop’s capacity, or lack thereof, to create critical, constructive conditions for designing technology.
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About Anja Groten
Anja Groten (1983, DE) is an independent designer and researcher based in Amsterdam. Investigating the possibilities of frictional encounters as part of design practice, she designs collective moments of critical making, aimed at discussion, confrontation and contingency. Groten's design practice evolves around the cross-section of digital and physical media, design and art education and her involvement in different interdisciplinary collectives. Groten works on (self-)commissions and besides tutors at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, and the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2013 she co-founded the initiative Hackers & Designers, attempting to break down the barriers between the two fields by enforcing a common vocabulary through education, hacks and collaboration. Groten has lectured and given workshops at several art and design schools in the Netherlands and abroad, amongst which Changsha Normal University, City Design School and CAFA Beijing (CHN), Krefeld University of Applied Sciences (DE), University of Westminster (UK), Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee (DE), OCAD University Toronto (CA), Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles (US), and University at Buffalo (US).