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From our Co-Create Workshops at CIVIC.

  • Jun 07 2024
  • Foreign Legion
    Matylda Krzykowski, Vera Sacchetti
    with Ananda Jade, Maria Inés Plaza Lazo and James Taylor-Foster, for

    "We are Foreign and we are Everywhere: Networks for Systemic Change"
    A Workshop during the Co-Create Week at CIVIC at Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW, April 2024. Streamed by Radio Ohr, hosted by CIVIC, and supported by Swiss Arts Council ProHelvetia

    With students Sarina Boehler, Moa Bomolo, Matilde Arianna Condei, Cindy Gloggner, Bada Kuenzi, Lena Lazarevic, Janine Yanie Lienhard, Hannah Maywald, Alberto Papparotto, Lorena Schulthess, Olivia Vidovic, Julia Wawrzak, Martin Wöllenstein, Quentin Yorke.

    This workshop was held during the Co-Create Week at CIVIC, Streamed by Radio Ohr, hosted by CIVIC, and supported by Swiss Arts Council ProHelvetia.

“Staying with the trouble” is what art schools need to do these days. Early April, students of the Basel Academy of Art & Design discussed with practitioners invited by Foreign Legion – a collective driven by systemic change and led by Vera Sacchetti and Matylda Krzykowski, lecturer of the institution – the ways to break close distances when networks are polarized. The discussions revolved around three questions framing the workshops:

What are the strategies for systemic change?
Why should we learn from each other?
How can we establish networks of care and support?

The second question seems to be the hardest one to answer. A report.


Fig 1.


A blue, curvy fluid table extends in a cozy corner of an open, luminous space. On the table, several items are placed, such as a big branch-like root, books, and coffee cups. The air is filled with various scents, food from the cafeteria, a woody note of incense, and fresh air from outside occasionally flowing in when the sliding door opens. It's a calm atmosphere; a stage for intimate conversations with different agents – individuals, a museum, a magazine, a collective, a school and students – happening here and disseminated through online radio. 

Fig 2.

During a week in early April 2024, these conversations among BA students from different departments focused on otherness and access, collaborative practices and “staying with the trouble”. Under the umbrella of the title We Are Foreign and We Are Everywhere, they took place at CIVIC, an educational and experimental environment at Basel Academy of Art and Design, which provides opportunities for participation, contribution, and exchange for and with students, researchers, employees, and the public, to promote an understanding of the relevance of art and design to society. 


Fig. 3


Organically, questions keep coming to the table – 


How do you show up in a group? 

How much do you want to give?

How open can I be in certain situations?

Can you address your problems within this institution?

Are you being forced to think in a certain way? 

Are you respected by your classmates? (Respect does not necessarily mean friendship.) 

Are you disregarded when you address a problem?

Did you ever have a problem you wanted to address but did not feel comfortable doing so? 

Do you feel tension? 


From self-expression to self-reflection, live!

Fig. 4


That day of exchange was marked by the exercise of moments – and movements – of collectivity. Among them, the cypher. The participants of diverse origins, geographies and backgrounds were brought together by their connection to the notion of foreignhood and its manifestations – as  otherness, queerness, indigeneity, migration. Participants explored the nuances of communication and the role of non-verbal cues in fostering understanding. They examined the emotional significance of spaces, emphasizing the interplay between sensory experiences and well-being. Deliberations extended to community-driven initiatives and the necessity of unlearning entrenched societal norms for systemic transformation. Discussions also touched on adaptability, softness as a metaphorical concept, and the long-term implications of human actions on the environment. 

Fig. 5

Following Sara Ahmed's work around complaint in institutional settings – and acknowledging that to name the problem is to become the problem –, the conversation called for the need to hold space for this discomfort and work through it. Further into the talk, somebody emphasized the interconnectedness between personal narratives and collective efforts, while another person stressed the significance of acknowledging realities and tensions. The conversation, and the day’s sessions, come to a conclusion by underlining the value of both shared experiences and the daily collective practice of resistance. During the day, CIVIC became a threshold between the academic and public space, where thoughts on systemic change and resilience to oppression appear, softly. Broadcasting the conversations, the student-led, mobile online radio Radiohr adapted to the form and shape of the moment. You can also answer these questions and join us in this continued reflection and practice. 


Fig. 6






  • Photos: Julia Wawrzak, Courtesy of CIVIC, 2024




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