More information

Some more info about Open Design, our specific methodology and the support we offer for refugees and asylum seekers.

Course description


This intensive course will provide practical and theoretical competencies, and aims at a higher education learning level. It offers a broad and general overview of Open Design as a contemporary sociotechnical phenomenon, and facilitates individualised indepth and practice based learning of specific Open Design strategies and tactics. The course requires participants to attend classes 3 days per week.


The methodological approach of the programme is based on peer learning and co-creation. We strongly believe in embedding the core principles of Open Design into the very structure of the programme.

Students are expected to bring their own knowledge and skills to the course, and engage thoroughly in sharing and collaborating with each other. For this approach of cooperative learning we seek to create a group of students maximising complementary expertise and creative talent, bringing together basic and highly specialised skills.


In order to establish an interesting, valuable and unique learning environment, candidates are selected based on a carefully managed admission process. This process does not only try to identify skills and knowledge, but will also focus on your ability to share your expertise with others.

Image: Open Design course 2016 ART, INNOVATION AND ENGAGEMENT

The course will theoretically and conceptually contextualize Open Design as an innovation practice and as a practice of artistic expression, as well as a practice of civic engagement.

This course will introduce and discuss a broad spectrum of tools and methods and their underlying narratives. For this, Open Design is approached as a possible basis for various related fields in art and design. You will explore examples from participatory design, social design, critical design, speculative design and experimental media art (art and technology, art and activism, bio-art,...).


Introductions are offered in free and open source software tools (for networked communication, media creation and digital modelling) as well as open hardware and digital fabrication tools (Raspberry Pi, Arduino, 3D printing, laser-cutting). You will experiment with these tools and learn to implement them in your own design and creation process.


Although the phenomenon of open design is heavily inspired by digital tools and the internet, we do not restrict our focus to the digital world only. To the contrary, part of the focus of this course will be on the way digital tools can inspire traditional ways of creation, and vice versa. So we really welcome people with diverse maker skills. From traditional handicrafts to agriculture.


The course has a simple structure, with the initial month emphasizing ‘input’ and the final month focusing on ‘output’. During the ‘output month’ you will translate your obtained understanding of Open Design and new media and technology skills into proper design projects.


We foresee a wide range of possible outcomes which can include: media creations or publications (books, magazines/editions, texts, videos, audio-works,... ), digital creations (websites, apps, software), speculative design (objects, prototypes, visualisations,...), interactive objects or installations. But there is much more, and this is really up to you.


Final evaluation of the candidates is based on self-assessment. You will be evaluating your own and your fellow participants’ achievements. Moreover you will be asked to evaluate the course and help us refine it for future candidates.


Please note that this is not an officially accredited course programme. Participants do receive a Certificate of Completion, but for now this is not related to an official degree.


The course is coordinated by a core team of teachers representing the design and autonomous arts departments of our faculty. Additional teachers of the faculty may be invited as guests during the course should this be required, as well as invited guest lecturers external to the school (designers, artists, scientists, technicians, craftsmen).



The Media Art and Printmaking studios will host the course. These studios offer shared working stations (Linux/Mac/PC), audiovisual facilities (studio, recording and editing equipment), a fab lab (3D printing, laser-cutting), large format digital printing, silkscreen printing etc. If necessary, access to other studios and facilities of the faculty can be requested (wood-workshop, textile studio,...). The campus also provides with lending facilities for borrowing equipment.

The studios are located at an 8 minute walking distance from the train station (Gent Sint-Pieters station).


Participants of the open design course can get support by the Student Services department of the School of Arts Ghent. We provide participants with information, advice and support on administrative, social and financial level. Specific study or travel expenses to the course can be compensated.

A member of the student affairs department will be present during the admission interview for specific information about your administrative situation as a participant.

If you already have questions about financial, social or administrative aspects you can contact a member at the Student Services department at (This is not the email-address for information about the course content, only for advice on social, administrative and financial issues)

Image: Open Design Course 2016