We were part of the RITCS Winterschool. In collaboration with Christoph Meierhans we enlivened the revolutionary spirit in the students wih R.adical I.deas T.o C.hange S.chool.
Working, eating and discussing together: that is the RITCS Winter School. The annual event brings together artists and arts students around a central theme for a two and a half-week interdisciplinary research module. This year’s edition of the RITCS Winter School focused on the topic ‘Any Change Calls for Resistance’ curated by Christoph Meierhans. In the course of the Winter School workshops and an evening program with discussions and lectures were be held at various locations in Brussels.
Together with Christoph Meierhans we framed and guided a trajectory that sought to see what students thought really had to change at the RITCS. Christoph drafted an agreement which was signed by the director of the school stating that she would take the demands serious and negotiate about their possible realisation. With the students we did exercises to find out what are the desires, needs, and things that really need to change. From practical proposals like having more vegetarian options in the canteen to more broader ones like reconsidering hierarchical relations in the school.
We considered and discussed political action and negotiation, the tension between realist and utopian change, the difference between policy and politics. From these discussions the fragility of their negotiating position came to the fore, if they demand something practical and concrete their demands would be easily met, whereas a more structural change would demand more leverage than just a contract signed by the director saying she would consider it. The result was a layered proposal by the students which demanded for a deconstruction of the current (power) structures. This broader demand was supported by an unexhaustive list of steps aiming at different layers and aspects of the institute that should be taken to meet the demand, from a more diverse passage of teachers and coaches to a more diverse curriculum.
We want to thank the students for their engagement and insights. We also want to thank Tim Martens and Christophe Meierhans for their support and trust in us.