• Raise Your Voice: Trajectory & Participants 

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    Posted: 3 April 2024

    Raise Your Voice is a 5-month coaching trajectory initiated by Baltan Laboratories in collaboration with the alumni department of Design Academy Eindhoven and Master Institute of Visual Cultures of St. Joost ‘s-Hertogenbosch. This coaching trajectory is funded by KunstLoc Brabant (Impulsgelden) and Stichting Cultuur Eindhoven.

    The initial open call invited proposals from artists, designers and researchers based in the Netherlands with the motivation to adapt and learn from their environments, discovering mediums and methods to tackle social, ecological and political challenges in different ways. With the selection process coming to an end, we had our group of 15 participants who kick started the first session of RYV on 14th March.

    The first session took the shape of a round table conversation with Lorenzo Gerbi (co-director, Baltan) giving everyone a glimpse into the foundation of the organization, into his role as a practitioner and introducing the participants to the coaching trajectory and the details of what is to come as we meet every Thursday.

    While the first session followed the theme of introductions and was a more general getting to know each other moment, the participants were asked to reflect on four broad questions that could guide their introduction through whichever format felt natural and comfortable to them.

    ‘What kind of practitioner would you like to be/become? What are your current struggles in your practice? What brings you joy in your practice? What would you like to learn in this learning trajectory?’

    The group introduced themselves and their work following these questions. It was interesting to see the participants use different mediums to introduce themselves. Some followed the format of spoken word, inviting their peers in through poetry and anecdotes while others used visual culture through drawings and postcards.

    Through its weekly meetings over 5 months, Raise Your Voice will host a total of 9 sessions divided into ‘Content’ and ‘Practical’ themes. Through this the aim is to help the artists understand the overlap between these themes while working independently within the cultural sector in the Netherlands. The program structure includes an international trip to Milan during Design Week and will culminate with a collaborative public zine made possible with the contributions from the participants.

    Participants of Raise Your Voice (from left to right in the picture below):

    Miguel Teodoro (back-left) is a visual artist and design researcher. His research-based practice examines the interdependencies of materiality, geopolitics, ecology and visual culture through site-responsive and media-specific spatial interventions. He holds an MA in Geo-Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven (NL) and a BA in Fine Arts – Sculpture from the University of Porto (PT).

    Echo Wang (front-left) also known as Naza Løtus in drag, is a Taiwanese multidisciplinary designer and drag artist. They are a founding member of the House of Lostbøis, the first drag king house in the Netherlands. Naza Løtus's drag performances blend East Asian culture with themes of spirituality, history, and queerness.

    Ra’fat Ali (back-left), born in Damascus, Syria in 1991. As a Palestinian refugee in Syria, he didn’t hold a Syrian ID but identifies himself as Syrian as well. The war disrupted his pharmacy studies in Syria, leading him to pursue fine arts upon moving to the Netherlands in 2017. He completed his bachelor's degree and later obtained a Master's in Visual Arts and Post-Contemporary Practices. In his practice, Ra’fat explores the notion of hybrid identity in connection to land and language, researching the complexity of navigating the sense of self upon immigration. He aims to question the components of a film to create a state of identity confusion similar to the one he’s experiencing away from Damascus and the Arabic language.

    Thomas Eekhof (back-left) is an artist that likes to use visuals, sound and spoken word to highlight the importance of softness, learning from pain and expression of your ‘true’ inner world. Nature is the best mirror for this — his greatest inspiration.

    Teresa Carvalheira (front-center) is a multidisciplinary designer, project manager, seamstress and ‘upcycler’ interested in intersectional environmentalism, craftivism and social design. She is focused on process-based research on the global contamination and transmission of vernacular textile practices.

    Maurik Stomps (back-center) works through storytelling, making and critical thinking. His projects stem from a personal wondering, outrage, frustration or curiosity and often encompass broader societal themes such as the inclusivity of public space, individual freedom in an increasingly dense urban environment, and the role design can play in this context. He does this empirically, meaning that through creating and placing objects in the city, he reacts to his environment and seeks interaction or confrontation with the subjects of his work.

    Paola Zanchetta (front-center) is a distributed designer and researcher who focuses on open-source projects utilizing waste materials. Her work promotes regenerative, collaborative, and ecosystemic practices, transforming waste into valuable materials and products while raising circular awareness and critical thinking.

    Johannes Equizi (back-center) is a cross-disciplinary artist and designer interested in questioning and re-imagining how humans inhabit environments and come together as a society. His world-building practice combines storytelling, architectural installations and role-play games to create counter-narratives and speculate on alternative forms of co-existence grounded in solidarity.

    Eva Oosterlaken (front-center) is a multidisciplinary designer. She is the co-founder of Futurall, a creative studio active in the Netherlands and the UK. With Futurall, she designs experiences that give space for people to (co)imagine alternative futures and to engage with social and environmental crises in personal ways.

    Lucy Schreurs (front-center) as a lens-based artist, is intrigued by polarization. Grounded in analogue photography, their work questions how we’ve become polarized and what could reconnect us. Through personal narratives, their intimate interactive installations challenge viewers to engage with societal tensions and complexities.

    Paul Staring (back-right) strives to create immersive experiences that weave intimate connections between all that lives. This takes the form of stories, rituals, audio walks, games and other interactive media. With his work he tries to apply his experience with immersion and interaction to create experiences that don't distract you into a digital world, but that ground you in reality.

    Ishani Chatterjee (front-right) uses the medium of spatial negotiation and performance design to create counter-narratives within political activism. Journalistic investigations and the power of communal interventions play a very important role in her practice that starts with the embodiment of triggers while trying to scale up to reach a wider audience outside the realm of design.

    Leif Czakai (back-right) explores eco-social themes through participatory actions, events, and audiovisual narratives. He integrates his passion for sociolinguistics with a background in design, food, and the cultural sector to contribute to community development and investigate the influence of language on individuals, groups and their environments.

    Vinicius Cardoso Witte (front-right) passionately shares his expertise to foster understanding, empathy, and growth through creative expression. He is a graphic designer and co-host of "Content Care," ongoing decolonial workshops. As a graphic designer he has already collaborated with art institutions such as the Foam Museum, Stedelijk Museum, and VU University.

    Noé Cottencin is an artist. Starting from drawing, his work expands to films, performances, installations and publications. Focusing on the notion of group and community, he creates narratives where humor and derision is used as a tool to shift our contemporary perspective and bring out the hidden magical aspect of everyday life.


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