open set
dutch graphic design
summer school

24.07 – 06.08.2016
kunstblock, rotterdam

memories of the future
(vol. 2)

The Dutch Graphic Design Summer School Open Set 2016 is a two-week thematic program consisting of a series of intensive one or three day workshops, symposiums and film screenings, led by Dutch and International designers, artists and researchers.

Our goal is to promote and enhance the social value of design by facilitating debates around the chosen theme from a rich diversity of perspectives, design trends, traditions, and cross-disciplinary cultural practices. The event aims to offer international participants a studio environment where they are inspired to step out of their comfort zone and question the conventional ways of working, experiment with different strategies, techniques, ideas and cross-sector collaborations in order to develop their own practices with confidence.

Open Set is aimed at international graphic designers and the broad range of creative sectors including artists and researchers, and it is also open to non-designers who are interested in the research topic and can contribute from their professional perspective.

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the past, because we can’t imagine the future in a vacuum, separate from our own experience, and cultural and historical references.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.

tuition fee & application

The deadline for the Early Birds applications is the 1st of May, 2016. The final deadline for applications is on 1st of June 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