Rose McGowan, Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces,  Peaches Christ, Damian Bradfield, Paola Antonelli, Tea Uglow, Jeremy Deller, Magid Magid and more are all announced to give online classes on University of the Underground digital platforms.

University of the Underground is to allocate its charity budget towards delivery of online classes in support of creative freelancers, nightlife artists and alumnis’


In these unprecedented times, in which the universities are closed and their students are confined to their homes, tuition-free university and charity University of the Underground announces the launch of a new online programme, ‘From the Underground to the Cloud’.

Initially intended for a research bureau between Georgia and Holland titled ‘If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution’, our repurposed programme will now bring together multidisciplinary practitioners investigating disciplines such as dance and other experiential mediums and their potential in building organised communities and reinventing politics within institutions and beyond. Of interest to this bureau are the opportunities for creativity and playfulness towards political, economic and sociological systems. We will also consider how creatives, organised communities and politics can inspire one another and what would happen if they merge: How do dance parades undermine power structures or create a blueprint for new ones?  What can politicians learn from musicians, magicians, drag queens, boxers and vice versa? How can new forms of debate develop from voguing; how will new systems of government and nation-states emerge from streaming and free jazz?

Some classes will be donated by the board of the University of the Underground charity (Rose McGowan, Jeremy Deller, Magid Magid, Ishmael Butler, Paola Antonelli, Tea Uglow, Damian Bradfield and more) and its teaching team. Others will be given by selected freelance creatives, practitioners, alumni of the University and others whose practice has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

These selected freelance creatives, freelance practitioners and alumni of the University will benefit from the support of the University of the Underground charity in delivering these virtual classes, tutorials and digital workshops. Today, University of the Underground calls for them to send them proposals for online classes. We also ask students and youths to register their interest and join the online programme.


Open Call Announced: Tuesday 24th March

Deadline for all sign-ups and proposals:  Friday 3rd April, 23:59 GMT

Results Communicated: Monday 6th April

Programme begins: Wednesday 8th April

End of Programme: TBC (likely end of June)

Please note; lectures, tutorials and workshops will be initially broadcast on Instagram Live and broadcast later to the public via our social media platforms in order to share the learning with a wider audience. Find the University on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.


  • Students (20+):

    Please register your interest in participating in this programme by email at hello@universityoftheunderground.org, a programme in which you will be offered to join in classes from the best teachers, unconventional thinkers, dreamers of the day and nightlife makers in the world today.

We ask that you send us:

  • A cover letter: tell us a little bit about yourself, the details of your engagement with communities and experiential practices (be that, music, film, theatre, dance, design of experiences, event design, set design etc), what keeps you awake at night and what you would like to see change in current systems. Be as precise as possible: develop your research questions and don’t do generalisations.
  • Your CV (or similar): to tell us a bit more about your activities to date.
  • Your online portfolio: by PDF or web link (max size 2MB).
  • NOTE: Please do label your files with your name. Once more, our email address is hello@universityoftheunderground.org
  • Parents and/or Teenagers:

  • We also are offering something exciting for you and your youths! Please register your interest in this programme by email at hello@universityoftheunderground.org. In January 2020 we launched High School of the Underground for 15 -18 years old. The program is a project-based after-school program for young creatives who are looking to learn, grow, and push the boundaries of their creativity while actively engaging in Amsterdam communities. High School of the Underground aims to maintain, support, and cultivate countercultures and communities that will reactivate the public’s interaction with institutions. Our first High School project, AFTERLIVES!, is written in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam’s Archeology department. Students will be learning about music/podcast production, visual design, and creative storytelling in practical, hands-on ways, to create a speculative fiction radioplay that reimagines and reinvents the world around us – and stands as a beacon of hope during these strange days.

We ask that parents and/or teenagers send us:

  • A cover letter: via email from you or your teenager, detailing their interests and creative practices (if any). We would love to hear why they want to join us today and details of their availability! Our email address is hello@universityoftheunderground.org.
  • Freelance Practitioners / Creative Freelancers / Freelance Educators:

  • Please register your interest in becoming a teacher on either of our programmes by reaching out to us by email at hello@universityoftheunderground.org. We are offering you the opportunity to teach our students, and to make up some of the lost income due to the spread of the coronavirus.

If you are looking to teach at the University of the Underground we ask that you send us:

  • A 200 word proposal for classes and workshops: state if you wish to join the University research bureau’s ‘If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution’ theme, or if you have another idea that is related to our interests. See more information about the research bureau here.
  • Your CV or similar: so we can see what you have been up to, to date.
  • NOTE: Please do Label your files with your name. Our email address is, once again, hello@universityoftheunderground.org

If you are a freelance educator, have experience working with young people aged 15-18 and are  looking to teach at High School of the Underground, we ask that you send us:

  • A brief (300 word) letter of motivation: Please highlight how you relate to the theme of speculative fiction as a means of empowerment.
  • Your CV or similar: So we can see what you have been up to, to date.
  • NOTE: Please do Label your files with your name. Our email, again, is hello@universityoftheunderground.org

University of the Underground charity will support 120 euros for an online class and 200 euros for a workshop. You can submit multiple classes.


******** Please note, University of the Underground is a very small charity. If you are not in need and you are currently in employment or have been provided with government subsidies during the coronavirus outbreak, please do not apply to this scheme. Of course we want to hear from you! But we are doing this open call for those of us for which 120 or 200 euros is actually supporting the cost of food on the table. We decided to shift our support scheme to benefit those in need and our creative communities. Please respect this, as our budget is extremely limited. We do know also that 120 euros or 200 euros is not much. This is a token of appreciation from us to our community who we wish to help somewhat in these different times.



“We founded the University of the Underground in 2017 as a free, pluralistic and transnational educational and cultural charity. Based in the basement of nightclubs- with headquarters in Amsterdam and London- we have actively worked with both institutions and nightlife. We are a charity, which hope to bring generations together to democratise access to public institutions and trigger changes and critical reflections through the use of creative and experiential practices. With an explicit focus on political theory and philosophy, design of experiences, music, theatrical practices, film, social actions and social dreaming; we aim to provide toolkits for members of the public and students to actively participate in revealing power structures in institutions. We have supported the development of experiential visions, audio broadcasts, magical or rational rituals, bodily protests, new power tunes and soundscapes, and new languages to empower countercultures now and in the future; we have provided space for experimentations around new systems of politics and worked to rethink education beyond national borders, building a federation of cooperative schools globally to support the development, identification and empowerments of countercultures in institutions. 

“We act within institutions and, to be frank, we have never been the ones encouraging online learning: we wish to see our students actively and physically engaging with experts around the world! However, times are now different: our community is facing a real challenge. In the midst of the rapid Coronavirus outbreak, many of us in the event industry, in nightlife, creative freelancers, freelance teachers and others, have lost our jobs and our contracts. It is a real struggle for us to maintain ourselves, let alone earn a living in these conditions.

“While we are all sharing positive energies online with free content, it is important for University of the Underground to acknowledge that we, as creatives, are not free workers. Our work has value and governments must realise how essential our social and cultural contributions are to human development and critical thinking. We must rethink our strategy and means of ‘active engagement’, even if this means these active engagements will happen through the underwater, internet, cable or the cloud!

“We usually put our charity budget into scholarships so students can join us in Amsterdam (or across the world) for the duration of our programmes. We have decided to shift this and allocate our small budget to freelancers from all over the world who will be delivering online classes for students.

“This is what we can offer now and what we will offer,” says Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun- Stépanian, Director of University of the Underground.

She also encourages others to donate to the University of the Underground charity so we can keep on offering teaching online, as a means of supporting both students and staff. 

We are living in unprecedented times,” says Alexander Cromer, program manager of High School of the Underground. “The ways we used to interact, communicate, and educate have instantly become antiquated. As weird as this situation is, there is a chance for us to redefine and reclaim spaces that we never thought were accessible. Now are the moments where we are better together, and I hope you join us as we discover and develop new ways to create, to challenge, and to thrive!”


Naja Orashvili – Filmmaker, activist, owner of Bassiani nightclub

Giorgi Kikonishvili – Promoter, activist, co- founder of Horoom Nights, queer party in Tbilisi.

Jeremy Deller – Turner Prize-winning artist and filmmaker- University of the Underground board member

Magid Magid – Activist, former Green Party MEP and 122nd Lord Mayor of Sheffield- University of the Underground board member

Ishmael Butler – Grammy Award-winning artist, Digable Planets and Shabazz Palaces- University of the Underground board member

Zach Lieberman – Artist and Co-founder, openFrameworks, School for Poetic Computation

Tea Uglow – Creative Director, Google Creative Labs, author, activist and trangender emoji creator- University of the Underground board member

Rose McGowan – Activist, artist, actress, filmmaker and author- University of the Underground board member

Peaches Christ – Filmmaker, cult leader and Midnight Movie Maven- University of the Underground board member

Paola Antonelli – Senior Curator, Architecture and Design Department, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)- University of the Underground board member

Hannah Parker – Director of Development, Donald Judd Foundation- University of the Underground board member

Damian Bradfield – Author and President, WeTransfer- University of the Underground board member

Fahmy Shahin – Artist and Co-Director, University of the Underground

Mariam Shergelashvii – Curator, State Silk Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia

Alexander Cromer – Project Manager and Designer, High School of the Underground

Vito – Movement Theatre, Tbilisi, Georgia; 2018 Bassiani Protester

Tamaz Sozashvili – Co-founder, Pride Tbilisi

Sarah Mann – Head of Programmes, Design Council- University of the Underground board member

Mirik Milan – Global Night Mayor advocate

Lauren Alexander – Co-Director, Foundland Collective- tutor University of the Underground 

Dr. Mijke van der Drift – Writer, educator and performer-tutor University of the Underground 

Emily Kendrick – Global Project and Event Manager, XL Recordings- University of the Underground board member

Bogomir Doringer – Artist, researcher and curator

Moon Ribas – Avant-garde artist and cyborg activist

Asmaa Jama – Poet, visual artist and filmmaker- alumni University of the Underground

Ibrahim Cissé – Artist, writer and curator- alumni University of the Underground

Amanda Fayant – Artist and First Nations researcher on Indigenous practices

Diana Raiselis – Director, dramaturg and nightlife and cultural policy researcher 

Prof. Fiona Raby – Designer, professor and educator- University of the Underground board member

Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun – Designer of experiences and tutor, founder University of the Underground

And more to be announced!