TRADERS Open School is a 10-day academy that brings together art and design thinkers, practitioners and various publics to critically engage in urban processes and discourses through the lenses of agency, participation and public space. The event is premised on the notion that ‘things can be otherwise’, it acts as a challenge to rethink and conceptualise potential urban futures by way of art and design. To do this, the Open School is structured as an academy, a place for learning. Accepting that knowledge is not only held in the head but being actively constructed in situ and practice, we see the academy as moving from a celebration of genius to a focus on the creation of what Brian Eno termed ‘scenius’, the intelligence that comes from a collective ecology of thinkers.
The structure of the 10 days intertwines practice and theory, established thinkers and students, emergent practices and traditional methods, in what we consider an experiential and cognitive generative dance. This dance is a key metaphor for the academy’s organisation, which creates an environment and structure for ideas and practices to come together in dialogue without an overly curated programme, instead ‘thinking on our feet’.