The Global School in 10:
A Q&A Manifesto
1. What is TGS?
TGS is a China-native institute for design and creative research dedicated to the species and spaces of the 21st century.
In the thickening emergence of transdisciplinary and transectorial intelligence networks that are distinctive of our current era, TGS performs as an aggregating platform of investigative methodologies and modes of production tasked to generate paths of knowledge in and around a new distributed sense of place and global know-how.
Constituted in a tripartite ecosystem, TGS is a production hub, a training lab and a culture centre, invested in shaping actionable scenarios of urban and social change through the power of the creative and scientific imagination.
The Global School: Ideas Made-to-Use
2. Why calling it a school if it is not exactly one?
We believe in education as innovation and that educational empowerment is foundational to all ventures that take an interest in the edification of novel urban commonwealths and aspirational advocacies of sharing in our times.
We believe in perpetual training and aim at fostering a cultural ecology of thinking, living and making in the present mobilized on the scale of communal action and an enquiry-based approach of reciprocity and trust.
We believe that if a global project is to follow the modern one, it cannot be defined by ‘disruption’ - an amicable connotation when suggestive of systemic change through creative agency, but one that offers no epochal resolve or inspiration to the wildly divisive impetuses that instead characterize our profoundly troubled times.
We are constantly linked, but never whole. We need a new syntax, new tools and conduits of expression for social and cultural sentiments enmeshed in this ‘global condition’ to become blueprint for reflection and application of true expanse, from any of the radically localized positions it has itself created.
TGS motivates encounters among people, companies, organizations and initiatives that share a drive for ‘research in action’.
We believe in perpetual training.
3. Why Beijing and why now?
TGS addresses social and environmental urgencies, and common preoccupations, through its situated access to their world’s largest incubation outlet – if China can be assumed as a form of globalization’s incomplete project, the ensuing challenges and ambitions are unprecedented blueprints for design futurity to find concrete application.
TGS is a product of its own immediate environment, an observational and processing engine that seeks channelling the contradictions of doom and ultra-futurism often associated to the Chinese context into viable and aspirational design programs that can forego cultural stigmas and thereof impact/inform far reaching scenarios confronted with similar phenomena of uneven growth.
TGS is a cultural celebration of ‘exceptionalism’ produced by the creative resilience of individual thought experiments as much as the alacritous teamwork found in grassroots intelligence or the enlightened pragmatism of corporations.
It looks for that kind of innovation that reproduces itself at the global crossroads of human engagement with shared real-life predicaments.
A global classroom in an elective geographical incubator.
4. So, what does TGS do?
TGS is an experiential theatre of research/education/culture production that through its three core units orchestrates integrated processes of testing, development and dissemination of projects via its own networks, activities and assets. TGS is an institute of happenings that explore and probe new horizons for living scenarios - tools, spaces, products, services and intellectual paradigms of the ‘future collective’.
TGS deploys research programs and teams throughout the concrete development of real-world projects, from the speculative horizons of conceptualization to their real-time implications, and in so doing enmeshes all aspects of learning within the practical goals of the design delivery.
Individuals, groups, initiatives that join our program are invited to reflect on intangible and practical life implications to elaborate actionable ideas of urban and social impact which, regardless of scale and origin, can find practical application in either immediate or further flung futures.
TGS nurtures contemporary innovation intended as a form of collective, process-based work entailed by specialized micro-enterprises of knowledge, connected beyond the geographical borders and governmentalities of given environments.
TGS is the first organization offering a place for these visions to co-act and confront each other towards possible and impossible scenarios of application.
TGS is an experiential theatre of research/education/culture production.
5. How is the program structured?
TGS works every year with chosen themes individuated by its Collegium of Directors, the Experimental Research Bureau and TGS board of advisors. The themes also inform activities of the culture centre and thus public programming.
Each year commences in June with an opening season of cultural extravaganza, creative brainstorming and academic debate coinciding with the B/Side Design Festival, an initiative organized by TGS.
The two semesters are made of interwoven labs, classes and lectures, demonstrations, field work and on-site production to the delivery of specific projects/outputs at each year end. Such projects will be developed in groupwork and in a process of active professional exchange with different teams in TGS. Mentoring and advising sessions with noted professionals in relevant fields necessary to the incubation of the projects are arranged every month.
The knowledge areas that TSG is engaging in its first two years of operation are 7 and they are: Spatial Practice + Tangible Lab (architecture & urban practice + material studies and histories) – Craftworks & Narrative Spaces (grassroots heritage and material research) – Visual Scapes (graphics and visual systems) – Product Systems (integrated, digital, industrial, textile engineering) – DataDataData (interaction, data analysis, predictive analytics) – Impact Lab (social engagement, community building, urban curation) – Media (broadcasting, communication and production) with disciplinary metissage brought about with tutors and international networks that will range from the visual and cinematic arts, to theatre and music.
Each area program will be shaped in concert with the others, local and international tutorship from a variety of adjacent, complementary fields of study (economics, finance, social studies, engineering, literature, etc.) - these are a mainstay of TGS inclusive and radically collaborative programming.
The Global School: the other kind of education.
6. Who is involved in its making?
The activities and programs of TGS are shaped by the Experimental Research Bureau, a creative think-tank made by an international team of China-based (and/or China-savvy) design explorers and lateral thinkers of different background and provenience – TGS is collaboratively led by professionals with track records of experience that have cultivated an understanding of how to inject ideas and innovation in unchartered territories of operation.
TGS board of advisors is composed of individuals from the corporate, institutional, governmental and public sectors, that are active interlocutors and leaders in both local and international debate.
A Tutors Club of local professionals is involved in the programming and range in diversity and expertise with real-world needs.
An International Network of affiliated experts, schools, companies and organizations of world renown is called upon every year to contribute to our quests.
An international network of design explorers and lateral thinkers.
7. What happens in TGS on a regular basis?
There is nothing regular at TGS! We are a 24/7 operation with multiple activities running at the same time. While the production and training hubs host programs with lectures, hands-on material experimentation, digital and tangible labs, readings, demonstrations of machine and human interactions of various kinds, the culture centre is active with variety of public programs ranging from exhibitions, to small salons, on-stage productions, screenings and workshops.
TGS space is made in clusters of transparency, where groups of affinity and common interests can constantly reconfigure, from the open areas for work and discussion to the private labs with rapid and digital production facilities.
A canteen open to members of TGS and others sits at the centre where a series of food labs are also organized. A media room in the public area is devoted to building a new media platform for education and knowledge dissemination called Design Broadcast. We are looking now for partners to incubate this project.
24/7 Research in Action.
8. Where is TGS?
Physically the first TGS will open in Beijing but sports already a variety of partners in China with whom programs and research will be co-actualized in various locations. A number of institutions have already joined the project starting from the launch of the first edition of B/Side Design Festival in June 2018.
This site is a weblog to share our journey.
We are present offline, online and on site at a variety of collaborating and partner organizations, companies and institutions, in China and abroad. You will see us to a near location soon!
Everywhere, seen from the vantage point of China.
9. How do you fund yourself and who will pay?
TGS is a private initiative and it operates with individuals as much as companies, for profit and charitable ventures, public or private organizations, institutions or governmental bodies. While we will work to offer individual and groups fellowships in the future, we do need to consider the context where we are operating from and build steps towards establishing a venture of shared values and a new ethics of participation in the urban realm.
TGS is an engine for communication that aims at building connections among disciplinary environments and various stakeholders from private to public and governmental actors, down to the individual sphere. While an exuberant entrepreneurial culture is in formation in China, and generational change is bringing new meanings to social and civic participation, there is an ostensible lack of connective platforms among professionals and between them and larger publics. TGS aims at catalysing material and intellectual resources for the common benefit of all partners involved.
We aim at financing education through the development of corporate innovation and enlightened economies of inclusivity.
10. Ask your own question: write to us via the contact page!