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#32 Crosslab

Speaking: Wiesje Peels and Anke van Iersel

Crosslab by guest lecturer Anke van Iersel, online. photo Anke van Iersel

As a result of the coronavirus, Pennings Foundation has been closed since March 13. However, there is one activity that is still taking place, the Crosslab. Be it in an adapted way.

Wiesje Peels is a photographer (see blog #19). She is also a lecturer at the full-time study for Teacher of Fine Arts and Design at Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Tilburg. Wiesje, together with colleague Eline Ceelen, is coordinator of the Crosslab course. The aim of the Crosslab course is that the students work out practical assignments and thereby gain experience in the field. During the first, second and third academic years, they choose various crosslabs and thus gain experience in various disciplines.

Currently there are 6 Crosslabs organized at various cultural institutions, including EKWC in Oisterwijk, MU in Eindhoven, Artfact in Tilburg, previously also the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. They are crossovers to other institutions, hence the name Crosslab. The assignments vary widely, from the development of a cultural program for children of primary school age, to the construction of a materials library and the organization of an art auction. The requests have of course been formulated in collaboration with the institutions. In this way, the knife cuts both ways: the students gain experience, in return the institutions receive advice in the form of a detailed plan or product.

Wiesje Peels tells about the crosslab course. screenshot during Facetime

Pennings Foundation is participating for the first time. Petra Cardinaal asked: “Make an exhibition for young people in their early twenties.”

Ria Hermanussen, board member at Pennings Foundation and responsible for the education projects at Pennings, adds: "The underlying idea was: Give us advice on how we can reach this group."

Petra: “We notice that young people who have just left high school do not visit our exhibitions, lectures and workshops. How can we reach them?”

12 students from the first, second and third academic years participate in the Crosslab. The project started at the end of March and will continue until the end of June. The aim is for the students to arrive at an exhibition concept. The pitches are by the end of June. A follow-up project will start in September and run until the end of November. One of the concepts will then be developed into a real exhibition, which will be shown in the side space of Pennings Foundation. The only condition is that the exhibition shows lens based art, so photography, video art or new media art. The students can act as curators but also as artists.

(The Crosslab consists of two periods of 10 weeks. The students 'grow' after the summer holidays. The 1st year students become 2nd year and the 2nd year students become 3rd year. New 1st year students are therefore entering. After the summer, 3rd year students become 'project leaders' and then follow the XL version within the crosslab, where they are assisted in applications for subsidies and budget management, among other things.)

The students for the Pennings Crosslab would meet every Thursday at Pennings Foundation. Due to the coronavirus, education is now necessarily offered digitally, including the Crosslab. Photographer Anke van Iersel has been hired by Fontys as a guest lecturer. She acts as an intermediary between the study program and the foundation.

From home Anke van Iersel teaches and supports the students

Anke: “We planned to meet every Thursday from 9:00 to 15:00 at Pennings, but that is not possible now. We are now meeting online, via Teams (from Microsoft). We start the day with a group meeting. Then I will discuss what we are going to do that day. Then the students work in small groups. I can always dial in to a group online and see how the group is progressing.”

The teaching material has been compiled by Wiesje and Anke. “I provide information and provide support and make the translation to the project at Pennings. The day ends with another group meeting, during which the research results are discussed. Teaching online is a fun experience, but I really miss the body language, because you can't really see each other physically.”

The first assignment to the students was to determine a calibration person, a stereotype. What does a visitor in their early twenties look like? Each group has created its own calibration person. What is this person doing? Is he/she a student, just like them? What are his/her interests?

Anke: "Creating a stereotype is a marketing tool that helps you further, in our case it helps to create a concept for an exhibition."

That the students themselves are also in their twenties means that they only have to look at their own perception. Ria, who joined in as a listener, heard one of the students remark: “When we think of exhibitions, we think of still images, but we don't really like that.” In short, other forms of presentation are also being considered.

We are curious about the concepts for the exhibition. The students will pitch these concepts at the end of June. We are also curious about the exhibition at the end of November.

A Crosslab Release Party is also planned for late November, with all 6 crosslabs presenting themselves at Pennings Foundation.

To be continued.

Students about the Crosslab course (2019):

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