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Applications open for the 2021 practice-based research residency

Urban Practice is at its best when holding the complexity of the city. A practice of transformation and in constant renegotiation,  deeply rooted in the arts, Urban Practice works to intersect the  spheres of the socio-political, the spatio-cultural, the ecological and the pedagogical. It can be understood as a transversal approach to envisioning and enacting urban transformation. 

Floating e.V. is pleased to announce the 2021 open call for Urban Practice. We invite berlin-based practitioners to apply for  an action-research residency at the Floating University Berlin. We welcome proposals that engage directly with the site of the  Floating University and with the city of Berlin at large while  they question, challenge and expand the notion of urban practice. Applicants are encouraged to consider hybrid modes of  thought, research and practice. We favour experimental for mats and forms of expression that transcend disciplinary  boundaries. Proposals can range from performance to walks, urban games to sculpture, installations to projections, texts to  podcasts, research-based, process-based, perhaps open to participation, perhaps recurring on site.  

Selected practitioners are expected to develop their proposal within the period March to October 2021. The practice based  research period culminates with a public presentation. Throughout the residency period, practitioners are invited to  work on site and follow the ethos of Floating e.V. that is a self  organised space and group, where practitioners from a wide  range of backgrounds meet to collaborate, co-create and imaginatively work towards futures. Residents will have full access  to the site of the Floating University, curatorial guidance and  production support depending on needs and availability. Each proposal is awarded with a 6.000€ grant that covers fees and production costs.  

Floating e.V. does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, skin color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ableism, national origin. We are actively taking steps to meet our commitment to diversity and to building an inclusive environ- ment for people of all backgrounds and ages. We especially encourage members of historically underrepresented communities to apply, including FLINT*, BIPoC, LGBTQIA+ people  and people with disabilities. 

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The selection process is two-tiered: Applicants submit proposals online. A short-list of five proposals will be selected by an  internal committee from the Floating e.V. Finalists receive  400€ to further develop their ideas for public presentation at an  online jury session. In this public session, an international jury  in debate with members of the public will decide upon two  winning entries. The public session is envisioned as a space for  dialogue designed to enrich, nurture exchange and continue to  build on what Urban Practice is, should be or strive to do.  

Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria: their relevance to the site of the Floating University - both to the character of the water basin and relation to the host association; the  contribution of the proposed project to the field of urban practice; and on its aesthetic merit - either as a form of knowledge or aspect of design.  

Jury members will be announced early in January 2021. The public jury event will take place online on February 15th.  

Phase 1: Short-list nomination 

Deadline: January 15th, 2021 

  • A written description detailing your planned  research/work (max. 500 words) 
  • CV (max. 2 pages) 
  • Portfolio (max. 10 pages - 5MB) 
  • The application process is entirely online,  

Please use the online form 1Short-listed  

Proposals will be informed on February 1st, 2021 

Phase 2: Jury session (online) 

February 15th, 2021 6pm (CET) 

The five finalists are invited to elaborate their planned proposal in an online public jury session. Each finalist is remunerated  250€ (Brutto) for their presentation.  

Phase 3: Residency 

March-December 2021, dates negotiable 

The two selected residents receive a one time prize of 6000€ (Brutto) for the duration of the residency to cover fees and pro- duction costs.  

For further questions about this open call, please inquire via email: 

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  1. Practices / Disciplines / Approaches / Processes: Not necessarily a fixed set of tools, Urban Practice plays with  all transgressions of disciplinarity: inter / multi / trans / extra /  anti and non-disciplinarity as they are applied to forms of mak ing and thinking. Drawing on complex and relational defini tions such as Critical Spatial Practice (Rendell), Social Prac tice or Socially-based Art (Bishop), Urban Practice is  comfortable being associated with most artistic fields in rela tion to the city. 

  2. Site / Scale / Ecology / Labour / Material: Urban Practice is always grounded on a site, and on a growing  expanded notion of site-ness. A site is more than its geo-loca tion and its material reality. A site acts on a multitude of scales:  objects, bodies, buildings, cities; the human, the urban and the  planetary. Sites have affect and agency on practices and practi tioners. The process of being on a site, and working with a site,  is the process at the heart of urban practice.  

  3. Collectivity / Publics / Values / Forms: Urban Practice is convivial and collective. It provides a public  stage for communities to encounter, collaborate, debate and ne gotiate differences. Without the public, Urban Practice remains  speculative. Urban Practice engages the public through solidar ity networks, investments in long-lasting relationships and  commons-based, peer-to-peer exchange.  

  4. Concepts / Theories / Discourse / Critical Thinking:  Urban Practice builds upon multiple lineages of critical think ing and applies these to the making process. This thinking-making relay is supported by theories of ethics of care; right to the  city, right to repair, decolonial studies, post-human thinking, ecological awareness, the commons, critical spatial practice  and institutional transformation, among others. Urban practice  dismantles knowledge hierarchies by equally embracing em bodied, situated, applied and site-specific ways of knowing.  

  5. Context / Situation / Relation / Imaginaries: Often, Urban Practice challenges rigid hegemonic narratives.  Operating as a critical mode of practice, building on contextu al, relational and situational logics, Urban Practice creates al ternative imaginaries for a place, a community, a city or a society. This requires that urban practitioners recognise visible and  invisible dynamics, intervene in material and immaterial con ditions, navigating between the private, the public and the com mons.  



On the site of the Floating University, a diverse range of animals, plants and algae have taken root and given birth to a  unique landscape: a man-made environment reclaimed by nature where polluted water coexists with the relatively new presence of the university, forming a natureculture or a third landscape. 

The site was designed in the early 1930s as a rainwater retention basin to serve the Tempelhof airfield and adjacent avenues, and it remains today as a fully functioning infrastructure.  It is surrounded by a “Gartenkolonie” – an allotment or community garden – and is therefore almost invisible to passers-by.  The allotment garden was introduced in Germany during the 19th century as a means of enabling the new urban poor, who  had been dispossessed of their land, to grow their own food within the city. 

After the Tempelhof airport closed down in 2008, the city’s  redevelopment plan proposed to relocate the basin as a pond  situated within the 300 hectares of remaining parkland. This  would have transformed the 24000 m² area of public land occupied by the basin into a valuable, profitable asset for Berlin’s  real estate portfolio. However, in the Tempelhof referendum of  2014, Berliners voted against the city and prevented any kind of construction on the airfield. The result of this referendum not  only protected the unique inner-city green space, but also provided protection for the basin. 

The basin plot was closed off to the public for over 60 years,  and when Berlin-based architects raumlabor opened up the site  as the Floating University in 2018, it was in solidarity with the  history of the space and with the lineage of alternative narratives for urban development. The Floating University was established as a temporary urban laboratory for collective learning, and situating a pedagogical experiment in this location was a deliberate form of political engagement. 

Since 2018 the Floating University continues to grow into a site where heterogeneous interests translate into projects, interven- tions, events and installations. Becoming the Floating Univer sity is a constant process of searching, discovering, figuring out  and paying knowledge forward. 



Floating e.V. is a self organised space and group, where practi tioners from a wide range of backgrounds meet to collaborate, co-create and imaginatively work towards futures. 

In 2018, Floating University Berlin was initiated by raumlabor as a temporary inner-city laboratory for collective, experiential learning and transdisciplinary exchange. The founding year of the Floating University saw a diverse breadth of visitors in 

volved to varying degrees with the activity on site, creating a unique ecosystem. The program consolidated a network of  practitioners, who towards the end of 2018 decided to continue  the experiment by transitioning from a ‘temporary’ project into  an association: Floating e.V. 

It is in solidarity with the history of the site and with the lineage of alternative narratives for urban development that the Float ing e.V. situates its mission: to open, maintain, and take care of  this unique site while bringing non-disciplinary, radical, and  collaborative programs to the public. In other words, it is a  place to learn to engage, to embrace the complexity and navi gate the entanglements of the world, to imagine and create dif ferent forms of living. 


Andrea Hofmann, Anna Kokalanova, Alexis de Raphelis, Bea trice Davies, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, Benjamin Frick,  Benoît Verjat, Berit Fischer, Camilla Bausch, Carla Kienz,  Christof Mayer, Dorothee Halbrock, Erika Mayr, Florian Kur zenberger, Florian Stirnemann, Florian Kurzenberger, Felix  Wierschbitzki, Gilly Karjevsky, Gülsüm Güler, Hannah Lu  Verse, Inci Güler, Jeanne Astrup-Chauvaux, Joanne Pouzenc,  

Jöran Mandik, Katherine Ball, Katja Szymczak, Laura Raber,  Lorène Blanche Goesele, Lorenz Kuschnig, Maddalena Por naro, Markus Bader, Martin Kaltwasser, Martina Kolarek,  Mauricio Corbalan, Nina Peters, Raul Walch, Roman Karrer,  Ronja Schratzenstaller, Rosario Talevi, Sabine Zahn, Sarah  Bovelett, Serena Abbondanza, Sophia Tabatadze, Stefan Klop fer, Stefan Kreft, Teresa Huppertz, Ute Lindenbeck. 


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