Imagining Tomorrow 2019 was held at Karlshochschule International University from the 27th of May to the 6th of June. It is a two-week collaborative project between the students from School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Karlshochschule International University, HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture Karachi. 45 international students gathered up in Karlsruhe and worked in teams for external organizations such as Anne Frank Zentrum Berlin, Reet Aus and ZKM — Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe. Each organization brought its own so-called “wicked question” and students brainstormed together to generate creative answers for the question.
Working with creative methods to answer the “wicked problem” of the external clients
Students with different cultural and academic background were divided into 9 teams in total and 3 teams each were assigned to work with one client. Depending on the client, each team had different coaches to guide and advise them. For example, I was part of the ZKM team with other students from Chicago and the Netherlands. On the first day, we got the task from our client about creating its own public sphere and offering direct communication with its audience as a future-oriented museum. We had a discussion and brainstorming session to interpret the task in our own way. Our coach Kirsten Leenaars, a professor and also an artist from SAIC advised us to be critical about the task and suggested us not to be too solution-oriented from the beginning.
On the third day of Imagining Tomorrow, we had a debriefing session with the people from ZKM. Fortunately, we also had the chance to talk to Peter Weibel, the founder of ZKM who himself is also a media artist and activist. Through the de-briefing, the task became clearer and I felt deeply motivated to work on the project to support ZKM to be a cultural institution where people can address political agendas. For the rest of time after debriefing, it was mainly about group-work using different creative methods — design thinking, mind mapping, prototype cards, etc.
When art students meet management students – multidisciplinary approach is so crucial!
What made the whole project special was that the tasks and the students were very multidisciplinary. Management, architecture, graphic design, media art, film and even fine art students were there to work on different projects with a sustainable fashion brand, a non-profit organization, and museum. As a management student, it was inspiring for me to work with the art students and see different approaches.
On the last day of Imagining Tomorrow, every team presented the final results of this collaborative project. Many creative ideas came out and as our coaches suggested us to feel free about the format of presenting, the way of presenting was quite diverse. For example, one team for the ZKM project recreated the whole classroom like an exhibition using beam projectors, dreamy lightening, and visuals. Graphic design ideas, new logo, new platform, the magazine as well as campaign and communication strategies were suggested in the final presentation.
Above all though, the most interesting part was getting to know new people from different fields, sharing ideas and socializing with international people. Two weeks weren’t too short nor too long but we easily became closer to each other and made good memories in Germany. Especially as a management student who wants to work in the art management field in the future, it was an opportunity to actually work with the clients in the creative field. This kind of experience is crucial and precious. Imagining Tomorrow is part of our master’s degree program called ´Innovation Project’.
If you are looking for this type of experience, don’t hesitate to learn more about our master’s degree program!
Article by Hansl Chang *HC, Management M.A. (Karls Storytellers)