London’s leading creative hub Village Underground announced its century-long year commitment to host the University of the Underground. Village Underground is a non-profit cultural hub for creative communities in East London providing collaborative studios for artists and a multi-purpose performance venue for concerts, exhibitions and theatrical performances. Village Underground was founded in 2006 with the mission of making affordable space for artists and creative entrepreneurs struggling to survive in London. Their main centre is housed in a renovated turn-of-the-century warehouse and they transformed four recycled railway train cars into rooftop artist studios that have become one of the premier indie studio and co-working spaces in London. Now, Village Underground is opening up its doors to students from the University of the Underground who will have the opportunity to work there for a maximum of three months every year with a professional team of top event managers and a community of multimedia artists.

“Because we believe in social dreaming, social actions and the value of experiences and arts for the new generation, we have committed to join the University of the Underground and its unconventional research practices programme for the next 100 years,” said Auro Foxcroft the director of Village Underground. “This way we support the new generation now, the new generation of tomorrow, and each new generation over the next 100 years.”

“It is a fantastic honour and a burst of pure joy to be joined in our educational endeavour by such incredible professionals and disruptors such as the visionaries behind Village Underground,” commented Nellv Ben Hayoun, course director of the University of the Underground. “They managed to make tube carriages fly on rooftop housing in the heart of Shoreditch. Now we will work together to make them fly. At the University of the Underground we believe social dreaming becomes the fuel for social action through the design of experiences, and Village Underground represents exactly the type of creative multi-faceted space in which we want our students to experiment with such a concept.”

Since its launch on February 2nd, the University of the Underground has been calling out to all the Willy Wonkas, contemporary Joy Divisions, and modern-day Marie Curies—all the designers and artists who don’t have a name for their ambitions, the critical explorers, action researchers, mythologists and makers of new worlds. Its application process is still open until 1st April 2017.

With the aim of teaching students how to engineer situations and design experiences that ignite social dreaming, social actions, and power shifts within institutions, the University of the Underground is based in a subterranean network of unusual, subversive urban spaces across the globe chosen to promote unconventional collages of references, interdisciplinary tools, and the power of chaos and experimentations at the start of any creative process.

The University of the Underground responds to the current trend of increased fees for postgraduate programmes by proposing a business model in which students are provided with full scholarships to cover all their tuition fees. By hosting the University of the Underground, Village Underground and Sandberg Instituut are making steps towards a new, ambitious model for financing education. In the near future scholarships will be provided to students through the support of philanthropists (80%) and government grants (20%). The University of the Underground aims to offer a new model for arts education of what can be achieved through coordination, long-term partnerships, and passionate belief in the next generation, and hopes to create many more education programs worldwide with the same 80%-20% financial structure.

The University of the Underground is Sandberg Instituut’s MA 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 is developing Sandberg Instituut’s Unconventional Research Practices Department that is aiming to provide PhDs in the near future. The programme will emphasise research, critical theories and context within students’ design practices. The University of the Underground is established as a foundation in Amsterdam, composed of a multidisciplinary team as part of its advisory board, directed by Nelly Ben Hayoun and managed by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Ltd in Village Underground in London. The University of the Underground is based in London at Village Underground and in Amsterdam under the night club De Marktkantine.