Ferals are back in March 2024. School of Feral Grounds works with peculiar, Krater-alike sites across European cities.
The School of Feral Grounds is an educational programme produced by Trajna as part of the Future DiverCities project. In a series of three interactive study modules, participants will dive into diverse topics of urban ecology and different perspectives thereon, together with inspiring guest speakers working in the fields of visual arts and curation, activism, geography, and ecology. The programme is developed and run by architect and theoretician Danica Sretenović and eco-social designer Gaja Mežnarić Osole, and is offered to the public free of charge.
The School of Feral Grounds situates cultural practices in the world in which capital-driven economies act as geological forces, terraforming the earth into a place where climate change, social inequality, and species extinction call for urgent collective action. The school acts as a forum for interchange, where reflections, concepts, case studies, and generative exercises invite participants to position urban ecologies within the field of culture by interlinking common notions of the urban and ecology.
Situated in the experience of running the production laboratory Krater and the Feral Palace urgent pedagogy, the school nurtures a collaborative learning environment for thinking and engaging with untamed urban sites. To support their eco-social regeneration, it works to enhance cultural workers’ capacities in regenerative place-making and place-keeping, artistic curation, programming, and advocacy.
The programme consists of three study modules:
SM1: Human impacts on urban ecosystems
A set of interactive lectures and live conversations with experts on practices that look at human impact at various scales: planetary, city, and site-specific.
SM2: Recontextualisation: tools of seeing site ecology and culture
A series of mapping and analysis exercises that explore the dynamics of the legal, organizational, more-than-human, and other constitutional bodies of the degraded sites.
SM3: Designing for regenerative landscapes
A cycle of talks and discussions with invited artists, designers, (landscape) architects, and ecologists to navigate the production of tactics & strategies for designing regenerative interventions.
Within the SM1, the following three lectures took place:
The Planetary Scale:
Short introduction to the Anthropocene
Before delving into the specific topics of urban ecology, the introductory lecture offers a set of philosophical concepts, scientific findings, and situated observations for understanding the contemporary planetary condition – the Anthropocene. Gaja Mežnarić Osole in conversation with artist Debra Solomon and lawyer Aljoša Petek.
The City Scale:
Feral urbanism for 21st century cities that were once cultivated and went wild
The lecture discusses often invisible though instrumental operations fuelling urban inequalities – physical manifestations of neoliberal governance models and policies, protocols of land trade, and the lack of legislation acknowledging multispecies spatial rights. How to treat such knowledge as the object of cultural politics? Danica Sretenović in conversation with artist Ibrahim Mahama and landscape architect Urška Škerl.
The Site Scale:
Feral ecosystems as laboratories for cultivating interspecies collaboration & care
As a consequence of diverse political and economic conflicts, our post-industrial cities are seeing a rise in neglected urban environments (e.g. construction sites, houses, factories, roads etc.) reclaimed by nature. Instead of treating them as precarious landscapes on the road to extinction at the hands of human-centric infrastructures, this lecture explores feral ecosystems as creative laboratories of multispecies encounters and care. Gaja Mežnarić Osole, Primož Turnšek and Danica Sretenović in conversation with landscape architect Violeta Burckhardt.
All the lectures were followed by a live discussion with invited guest speakers and participating members of the audience. Click to watch The School of The Feral Grounds video lectures!
Keep an eye out for the program of the upcoming modules, which will be announced in February 2024.
Upon commitment to the study programme, attendees are asked to actively participate in learning sessions, discussions, and the production of documentation by contributing with feral maps, producing site-specific IDs, and developing regenerative tactics and strategies. The process of collective knowledge production will set the stage for an ‘international feral movement’ dedicated to identifying, valorising, and regenerating feral sites across Europe and beyond.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or Creative Europe. Neither the European Union nor Creative Europe can be held responsible for them.