Calling out to all the Willy Wonkas of modern times, the contemporary  Joy Division’s, JG Ballard’s, Marie Curie’s and Rauschenberg’s, action researchers and designers, mythologists and makers of new worlds! With the aim of teaching students how to engineer situations, to design experiences and events to best support social dreaming, social actions and power shifts within institutions, companies and governments; the world’s first University of the Underground, based in the underground of the urban space, promotes unconventional collages of references, interdisciplinary practices, chaos and experimentations at the start of any creative processes.

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In the University of the Underground we believe that it is most urgent to equip young creatives with the learning that allows them to use their knowledge of the material world within the navigation of governmental systems, institutions and power structures. We are concerned with the modelling and physical existence of students’ dreams, beliefs and myths. We believe in social dreaming becoming the fuel for social actions. In the punk tradition we believe that there are no more heroes and we wish to democratise the experience of the institution. If nothing else, experiences and events make you feel alive and connected to the world around you. Music can do just that, but many other artistic forms too, and it is within this realm that we will be experimenting with in the University of the Underground.

Students have rarely before been finally provided the tools and means to learn to understand their profession as the increasingly multi-facetted and malleable role it assumes in today’s world (which is ever changing and disorienting) – where designers and creatives enter the realm of authors, directors, politicians, planners, dreamers, activists, mythologists and musicians. We encourage students to use their own voice, style, tone and aesthetics as manifested in final outcomes of performative product scenarios, products embedded in the context of the built environment and the institutions, or the tangible experience and its implications now and in the coming years.

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Partners in Crime

The University of the Underground is lead by a multidisciplinary team of ‘dreamers of the day’, who believe that a positive inspiration and disturbance to the current cultural and educative system is required to best support the young generations in their creative and political endeavours. This university is bold, ambitious and unapologetic.

The University of the Underground is Sandberg Instituut’s MA Design of Experiences programme based in the underground of cities. The Sandberg’s Instituut is the postgraduate programme of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. The University of the Underground will also be developing Unconventional Research Practices that are aiming to provide PhDs in the close future. The programme will therefore emphasise research, critical theories and context within students’ practices.The University of the Underground is established as a foundation in Amsterdam, composed of a multidisciplinary team as part of its advisory board. It is directed and managed by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Ltd in London.

We take 15 students every two years for classes in Amsterdam and London (to start with). The applications are now closed for 2017-2019. Next round of applications will be in 2019.

The University of the Underground is based in London in the Village Underground and in Amsterdam in De Marktkantine (open 24 hours).

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