Drawing on the history of radical pedagogy, ORU asks questions about how we might learn about the contemporary urban condition and the relation of the subject within it.
By Markus Bader
Open Raumlabor University (ORU) is a self-organized, non-institutional framework offering workshops, excursions, conversations, collective situations and living experiments as learning formats. Founded in 2015, it builds upon a lineage of educational strategies undertaken by raumlaborberlin based on informal networks, the nurturing of friendships, investment in time-intensive encounters and commons-based, peer-to-peer exchange.
Drawing on the history of radical pedagogy, ORU asks questions about how we might learn about the contemporary urban condition and the relation of the subject within it. It also posits future imaginaries of urban/spatial practice, asking how and what it might mean to become such a practitioner, and the agency of such practice.
ORU takes responsibility by actively getting involved in processes of spatial production and urban transformation while questioning the role of the school in creating long-term impact.
ORU is not fixed in time and space, and its structure and methods vary within the context of each iteration. To date, these include Osthang Summer School (2014), Urban School Ruhr (2016-17), The Floating University (2018) and Making Futures Bauhaus+ (2018, in cooperation with the University of the Arts). Each variant transcends the boundaries of institutionalized education by involving local and international partners – both experts and amateurs – in configurations where everyone involved co-produces a space for critical exchange and shared knowledge.
Markus Bader is co-founder of Raumlabor Berlin, which focuses on urban strategies and procedural urban development, as well as curatorial and spatial installation work on the intersections of art and the city of Berlin.