open set lab
design program

september 2017 - january 2018
in the netherlands and online anywhere

For 2017 Open Set is offering a new programme in design, film, and humanities titled Open Set Lab. The Lab runs from September 2017 until January 2018 and consists of lectures, interactive real-time sessions, and group critiques led by notable Dutch and international figures in design, art, and research. The program offers a unique opportunity to dive into more than a million hours of media heritage represented by the archive of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision; in its content and backend.

The line-up of mentors who will guide this research and project development process includes:

Arne Hendriks (NL)
Mishka Henner (UK)
!Mediengruppe Bitnik (DE-CH)
Noam Toran (UK)
and many more to be announced soon.

Open Set Lab offers participants flexibility through an innovative, hybrid learning environment: the programme operates in the online and physical realm, with dual headquarters at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision at the Media Park in Hilversum and at the St. Joost Master Institute in Den Bosch.

The real-time working sessions and group critiques will take place every two weeks on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Lab is addressed to International designers, media artists, film makers, photographers and other cultural producers. Being oriented towards analysis of the visuals and algorithms of the archive, Dutch language is not a barrier for participating in the project.

program benefits

– unique opportunity to have a full access to the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision Archive via an online interface, and to be supported by the experts and researchers of the Institute;

– solid grounding in design theory, contemporary practices, and trends in visual communication;

– ‘one-on-one’ interaction with and guidance from designers as well as artists, critics, and academics who are notable figures in today’s cultural field;

– experience in developing a project from start to finish, contextualized around the Archive of Sound and Vision and executed in collaboration with an international network of young creative professionals. Such final projects can be models and prototypes of moderation, selection and publishing of an archive, visual and speculative essays built on the content of the archive, analysis on the visual strategies and ‘codes’ that are used in the Dutch television for more than a century, etc;

– opportunity to present the final projects during a public conference in the end of the program and in the online publication;

– the online environment ( Open Set Dashboard, Google G Suite, Milanote, etc.) allows participants to fully interact with their peers and tutors from anywhere in the world, while receiving all the benefits available to the physical attendees. This includes access to live feedback sessions and lectures, as well as the possibility to present their research during public events, in the Online Reader, and via other channels.

content & theme

The Open Set Lab programme continues the international cultural dialogue that was initiated with our 2016–2017 research theme, ‘Memories of the Future’. The theme explores how the past—history and collective memory—influences the formation of alternative approaches towards an uncertain future. The Lab investigates design’s potential to create new tools, logics, and visual or performative narratives that can change the way we inhabit challenging realities and open up new possibilities for the future.

The programme will be contextualised around, but not limited to, one of the largest audiovisual archives in Europe: the archive of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. The Institute manages over 70 percent of the Dutch audiovisual heritage and consists of more than a million hours of television, radio, music, and film, collected starting in 1898 and continuing until today. In the context of the Open Set theme, the archive represents a source for the moderated representation of historical events, facts, and collective memory, which determines our vision of tomorrow.

Focusing on the video archive, Open Set puts the moving image in the spotlight— namely, its value in the news, its role in fact production within television history, and its contemporary urgency within the social media landscape. The Lab emphasises the relevance of the moving image for the contemporary design, media, and communication fields, where film is one of the most dominant and effective mediums in design and art.


The program consists of several thematic trajectories that are developed and led by tutors; each trajectory addresses one of the interconnected sub-themes:

1. the backend of the archive — its algorithms for content selection and its infrastructure;
2. the content — visual strategies and patterns that have been used in the visual rhetoric of the materials.

Participants are invited to develop and present their own projects within one of these trajectories, with the aim of unveiling, appropriating, or speculating on discoveries and findings from the archive.

tuition fee & application

To apply for the programme, please send a motivation letter accompanied by your CV and portfolio to apply@openset.nl or opensetschool@gmail.com.

Deadlines for applications:
Early Birds – May 22, 2017; final date – June 26, 2017.

Full programme fee: 900 euro (800 euro for Early Birds).

A maximum of 32 applicants will be accepted.

open set
dutch graphic design
summer school 2016

*event closed; in 2017 check above the Open Set Lab; next summer school coming in 2018

theme – memories of the future (vol. 2)

The theme of Open Set 2016 (both for the events in Seoul and Rotterdam) is ‘Memories of the Future,’ and it explores how the notion and perception of memory can be used to stimulate alternative approaches towards the future.

How are memory and the future connected? When we construct the future we are using the same process as when we reconstruct the past, because we can’t imagine the future in a vacuum, separate from our own experience, and cultural and historical references. We re-contextualize our previous experience (as individuals and as collectives), give it new meaning based on the conditions of a present moment, and transform it into a future possibility.

We would argue, therefore, that memory should not be seen as an archive of references or stock of information, but rather as a verb, an action, a process, that helps us reach the future. But how do we activate memory? Is memory something set by our cultural frames of reference? Or are memory and heritage, as well as the future, concepts which can be brought to a public debate?

In this context, design and art can be seen as agents, while proposing visual narratives, experiences or group actions, through which the future and memory can be observed and discussed by large audiences.


– gaming and fiction as strategies to imagine and rehearse alternative futures
– visual journalism and narratives as strategies to organize, discover or forget our memories
– new medium, form and function of (visual) identity
– selection and linkage of information and artifacts in archives
– meaning and function of archives in possible futures
– emerging (online, digital or hybrid) environments for publishing, communication and interaction
– new aesthetics in the Internet and virtual environments
– the creative process: roles of competition, space and movement.


This year we invite designers, artists and researchers to contribute to the event with simultaneous workshops, public interventions, film-screenings and lectures, representing various kinds of expertise as: graphic, interactive and critical design, curating, participatory design and art.


time event location
23 jul
Welcome drinks WORM (foyer, downstairs)
24-26 jul
Workshop ‘Let’s Go Camping! Prospective Memory and Design’ by Dr. Sebastian Groes (UK) & Maki Suzuki (Åbäke, UK) TENT/ CBK Rotterdam
27 jul
Symposium. Speakers: René Boer (NL), Max Bruinsma (NL), Theo Deutinger (NL), Prof. dr. Ben Schouten (NL), Josephine Bosma (NL). Moderator Nadine Roestenburg (NL) Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art
28 jul

Workshop ‘Diving into One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Archive’ by Olia Lialina (RU-DE)/

Workshop ‘One Day Collection for a Future Project’ by Joanna van der Zanden (NL)
V2_Institute for the Unstable Media

TENT / CBK Rotterdam
29-31 jul
Workshop ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Decoding Information for Future Communication’ by Liza Enebeis (Studio Dumbar) & Rejane Dal Bello (BR) & Bruno Setola WORM
01 aug
Workshop by Caetano Carvalho (BR)/

Workshop ‘A Sense of What’s to Come’ by Mike Thompson, Susana Cámara Leret (Thought Collider) & Dr. Alexandre Motta (researcher specialized in the field of immunology)
Showroom MAMA

V2_Institute for the Unstable Media
02 aug
Workshop ‘Greatest Hits‘ by Na Kim (KR)/

Workshop by Bik Van der Pol (NL)

Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art
03 aug
Workshop ‘From Cabin to Castle to Capsule: the End of Design’ by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (KR)/

Workshop ‘Web-to-Print-to-Street’ by Paul Soulellis (USA)
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art

V2_Institute for the Unstable Media
04-06 aug
Workshop ‘Staging the Message. Strategy, Method and Language Use’ by Rick Poynor (UK) & Els Kuijpers (NL) Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art

* On the days of 28 july, 1, 2 and 3 august there will be two parallel events/day in different locations. In the Symposium day, doors open at 12:30.

tuition fee & application

The deadline for the Early Birds applications is the 1st of May, 2016. The final deadline for applications is extended till 1st of July 2016.

Application requirements: portfolio, CV and few lines of why you'd like to attend Open Set.
Send your application at: apply@openset.nl

(for portfolios bigger than 10MB please send also the application at opensetschool@gmail.com to be sure we receive it)

Full course fee: €800 early birds (before 1st of May)
€900 (after 1st of May)
3 days workshop: €300 early birds
1 day workshop: €100 early birds

Within one week after the application you will receive a confirmation email only if you are admitted. To be officially registered as a participant, you must pay the enrollment fee. A maximum of 25 participants for the full program will be accepted for this year's edition.

For the full summer school you'll have to choose between parallel workshops where it is the case. It's not possible to attend to both workshops which take place the same day. Places for single workshops are limited in favour to the full summer school applications. All workshops will be held in english and participants will have to bring their own laptops. Applicants are expected to have fluency in English sufficient for engaging in meaningful dialogue with other participants.

Accommodation and transport are not included in the course fee. For the Open Set participants we've arranged a special rate for the full course attendants with our partner Student Hotel in Rotterdam. Please, mention that you are interested in this accommodation when you apply and we'll send you a promo code for the reservation with the special rate of € 38 per night. The price includes a private room with bathroom, shared kitchen and bikes. Find more information on the website of The Student Hotel.

past editions

During the last four editions we were honored to host workshops by 37 tutors and have participants from more than 35 countries. Below you can see a short video overview of the past editions. Check the 'past editions' section in the menu for more details.


Open Set is hosted by Kunstblock Rotterdam, – a cooperation between different cultural institutions located on the Witte de Withstraat (Showroom MAMA, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, TENT, WORM, V2_Institute, CBK Rotterdam).

What these institutions have in common is that they all are focusing on the contemporary cultural debate in relation to social realities, and at the same time, focusing on completely different mediums, means of production, professional networks and target audiences. Using art and culture, Kunstblock aims to make new connections on both Witte de With street, municipal, national as well as international levels, engage various interest groups with the street and contribute to the street’s extraordinary character.

As our bigger host, the city of Rotterdam may crown itself as the best European city of 2015. The award was given by the international Academy of Urbanism from London. Have a look here and see you in the summer!


Open Set 2016 is made possible with the generously support of Creative Industries Fund NL , Kunstblock Rotterdam and many others. The public symposium is organized in collaboration with the Institute of Network Cultures (INC).


© Open Set 2012-2016