4th Istanbul Design Biennial – A School of Schools
A Biennial about Design as Learning, and Learning as Design.

A School of Schools is a multi-platform biennale that will use, test, and revise a variety of educational strategies to reflect on the role of design, knowledge, and global connectedness in contemporary Istanbul and beyond.

The amount of information in the world is more than doubling every two years. People know more than ever before. Lifelong learning is touted as the only way to keep a job and keep your head. Chalk and talk, and reciting multiplication tables has no chance against the animated distractions in our pockets. Meanwhile, the machines themselves have started learning too. What will be left for humans to do and which mental faculties remain irreplaceable are hot topics. Is it time to go back to school – and redesign it?

Alternative design education initiatives have consistently provided a brave space for experimentation and new knowledge, from the Bauhaus to Black Mountain College, and from Global Tools to the Sigma Group. These initiatives have not only helped design evolve, question itself and push its own boundaries, but also education and learning in general. Not only concerned with design, many of these experiments have also tested alternative ways of living, working, and connecting with each other and ourselves. Through this process-based experiential research, new manifestations, meanings, and implications of design have surfaced.

Today, design has become a form of enquiry, power and agency. It has become vaster than the world and life itself, permeating all layers of everyday life. As design becomes pervasive, the discipline can no longer claim to offer solutions to everything. In fact, the one-size-fits-all approach of many universal global systems is showing its cracks and exclusions. Similarly, design education – where the field and its practitioners have traditionally been reviewed and refined – now finds itself navigating new constraints and challenges regarding relevance, adaptability, accessibility, and finances.

As a space for critical reflection on design established in a historically rich context, the Istanbul Design Biennial offers the opportunity to question the very production and replication of design and its education. In 2018, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial builds on the legacy of previous editions, in order to reinvent itself and become a productive process-orientated platform for education and design to research, experiment and learn in and from the city and beyond.

Titled A School of Schools, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial will stretch both the space and time of the traditional design event, manifesting as a flexible year-long programme within which to respond to global acceleration, generating alternative methodologies, outputs and forms of design and education. A School of Schools manifests as a set of dynamic learning formats encouraging creative production, sustainable collaboration, and social connection. Exploring six themes, the learning environment is a context of empowerment, reflection, sharing and engagement, providing reflexive responses to specific situations.

Can the biennial use, question and reframe previously tried-and-tested education models – from the museum-as-encyclopedia to the laboratory, the studio and the academy – to create a setting for meaningful dialogue and design? Can design itself be a brave space for people to share their knowledge and ignorance, their experience and curiosity?

Engaging multigenerational, transdisciplinary practitioners from Turkey and abroad, A School of Schools brings together old and new knowledge, academic and amateur, professional and personal, focusing on the process as much as the outcomes. Together, agents in this complex and ambitious ecosystem will create new knowledge, search for alternatives to implemented systems, and with radical diversity, push the boundaries of the design discipline.


The call for applications ended on 15 December 2017. We received more than 700 applications from 41 countries.

A School of Schools needs learning! Learning from all ends of the planet, from all manner of perspectives and experiences. Learning that goes outside standardised models, both existing experiments, and ideas for new approaches. Learning that brings us together physically or connects us online, learning that happens in Istanbul or beyond. A School of Schools is about learning from learning.

An open call is extended to all designers, architects, scientists, engineers, chefs, craftspeople, activists and everyone else. Fuelled by a research and process-orientated approach, A School of Schools will manifest in a variety of formats in many locations, in addition to the six-week intensive in Istanbul from 22 September to 4 November 2018.

Divided into a call for ‘schools’ and a call for ‘learners’, the open call is twofold. The format of a school is open for interpretation – from a one hour class or tutorial, to an online network or alternative university; from in situ observation and other methodologies, to critical schools of thought. The learners are anyone who would like to participate in a school, and can demonstrate an openness to discovery and transformation, regardless of design expertise, background or experience. The biennial will endeavour to address matters of financial support and other accessibility issues but encourages resourcefulness.

Both learners and schools are urged to connect their applications to one or more of the themes under scrutiny for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial. Besides those who demonstrate a capacity and passion for learning, A School of Schools will give preference to proposals that are committed to not only learning but translating the learning into a communicable form.


Biennial participants include;

AATB (Switzerland/France);

Åbäke (France/United Kingdom);

Aformal Academy (Turkey/Netherlands);

Ersin Altın, Burçak Özlüdil, Augustus Wendell, Amy K. Hoover (Turkey/United States);

ARK.AMSTERDAM (Roosje Klap & Pauline Le Pape) (Netherlands);

Bakudapan (Indonesia);

Kerim Bayer (Turkey);

Cihad Caner (Turkey/Netherlands);

Ali Murat Cengiz (Turkey/Netherlands);

Taeyoon Choi (United States/Korea);

CMP OFFICE (United Kingdom/France);

Commonplace Studio (Netherlands);

Jesse Howard (United States/Netherlands) and Tim Knapen (Belgium);

Danilo Correale (Italy/United States);

Amandine David, Esmé Hofman, Joris Van Tubergen (France);

Teis De Greve (Belgium);

Derya Irkdaş Doğu (Turkey);

Eat Art Collective (Netherlands);

Ecole Mondiale (Belgium);

FABB (Turkey);

Studio Folder (Italy);

Avşar Gürpınar and Cansu Cürgen (Turkey);

Mark Henning (Netherlands/South Africa);

Nur Horsanalı (Turkey/Finland);

Ils Huygens (Belgium);

Navine G. Khan-Dossos (United Kingdom/Greece);

Peter Lang, Stalker (Rome), Royal University of the Arts (Stockholm);

Pedro Neves Marques (Portugal/United States);

Margarida Mendes (Portugal);

Alexandra Midal (France);

Carlos Monleón (Spain/United Kingdom);

Gökhan Mura (Turkey);

Martina Muzi (Italy);

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios (France);

New South (France);

Camilo Oliveira (Brazil/Italy);

ONAGÖRE (Okay Karadayılar & Ali Taptık) (Turkey);

Thomas Pausz (France/Iceland);

Ana Peñalba (Spain);

Juliette Pepin (France); (Argentina/United Kingdom/Netherlands);

Emelie Röndahl (Sweden);

Helga Schmid (UK/Germany);

Judith Seng (Germany/Sweden);

SO? (Turkey);

Studio Legrand Jäger (United Kingdom/Germany);

Studio Makkink & Bey (Netherlands);

SulSolSal (Netherlands/South Africa/Brazil);

Jenna Sutela (Finland/Germany);

Jennifer Teets and Lorenzo Cirrincione (United States/France);

Unfold (Belgium);

Ottonie Von Roeder (Germany);

Henriëtte Waal and Studio Klarenbeek & Dros (Netherlands);

Mark Wasiuta, Farzin Lotfi-Jam (United States);

Lukas Wegwerth (Germany);

Nina Wiesnagrotzki (Germany);

Pınar Yoldaş (Turkey/United States);

Peter Zin (Netherlands/Portugal).

More names will follow.

AKBANK SANAT (UNMAKING SCHOOL) İstiklal Cad. No:8 34435 Beyoğlu-İstanbul
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ARTER (EARTH SCHOOL) İstiklal Cad. No:211 34433 Beyoğlu-İstanbul
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PERA MÜZESİ (SCALES SCHOOL) Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:65 34430 Tepebaşı - Beyoğlu - İstanbul
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SALT GALATA (TIME SCHOOL) Bankalar Caddesi 11 Karaköy 34420 İstanbul
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STUDIO-X İSTANBUL (DIGESTION SCHOOL) Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi 35A 34427 İstanbul
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YAPI KREDİ KÜLTÜR SANAT (CURRENTS SCHOOL) Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat İstiklal Caddesi No: 161 34433, Beyoğlu / İstanbul
→ more


Encouraging visitors to take a closer look at the exhibited works and the conceptual framework of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, guided tours are held every day except Mondays throughout the duration of the biennial at Akbank Sanat, Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, Pera Museum, Arter, SALT Galata and Studio-X Istanbul.

The guides, trained under the supervision of scholar and museologist Mine Küçük, provide in-depth commentaries on the theoretical framework of the biennial, exhibited works, and specific themes assigned to each venue, and answer questions during this hour-long tours per venue.

Turkish guided tours: Every day except Monday 11.00*, 14.00, 16.00

English guided tours: Every Wednesday 11.00 (Akbank Sanat), 14.00 (Yapı Kredi Culture Centre), 16.00 (Arter) / Every Thursday 11.00 (Pera Museum), 14.00 (SALT Galata), 16.00 (Studio-X Istanbul)

*Guided tour at 11.00 on Sundays at the Pera Museum is not held since the museum is closed until 12.00.

Tulip Card members can get their tickets with discounts up to 25%.


In addition to venue-specific guided tours, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial offers guided walks between venues located on two different routes in Beyoğlu and Karaköy for more engaging visitors seeking for an extended biennial experience.

Akbank Sanat
Yapı Kredi Culture Centre
Pera Museum

SALT Galata
Studio-X Istanbul

The Beyoglu Route, which is held every day except Monday, starts from Akbank Sanat at 11.00. The tour includes four venues (Akbank Sanat, Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, Pera Museum, Arter) and takes approximately four hours.

The Karaköy Route, which is held every day except Monday, starts from SALT Galata at 11.00. The tour includes two venues (SALT Galata, Studio-X Istanbul) and takes approximately two hours.

The Beyoglu Night Route, which will be held on Friday, 28 September and Friday, 26 October, will start from Akbank Sanat at 18.00. The tour includes four venues (Akbank Sanat, Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, Pera Museum, Arter) and takes approximately four hours.

The Karaköy Night Route, which will be held on Thursday, 27 September and Thursday, 25 September, starts from SALT Galata at 20.00. The tour includes two venues (SALT Galata, Studio-X Istanbul) and takes approximately two hours.

Tickets can be purchased via Tulip Card Communication Centre (+90 850 755 02 60),, Biletix sales points, and the box office of İKSV –with no service fee. 


Design Biennial Special Ticket rewards you as a supporter of the exhibition with special opportunities and benefits:

- Be among the biennial’s guests at the preview days on 20–21 September 2018.

- Get the A School of Schools Agenda for free.

- Receive an invitation for the biennial’s opening reception on 20 September 2018.

- Participate in a guided tour in a venue of your choice, from 22 September 2018 onwards.


Jan Boelen (b. 1967, Genk, Belgium) is artistic director of Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt, Belgium, and artistic director of atelier LUMA, an experimental laboratory for design in Arles, France. He also holds the position of the head of the Master department Social Design at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Since the opening, Z33 House for Contemporary Art has been fashioning projects and exhibitions that encourage the visitor to look at everyday objects in a novel manner. It is a unique laboratory for experiment and innovation and a meeting place with cutting-edge exhibitions of contemporary art and design. With Z33 Research, design and art research studios established in 2013, Boelen is transforming Z33 from exhibition-based to a research-based institution. At the initiative of Z33 and the Province of Limburg, Manifesta 9 took place in Belgium in 2012. As part of his role at Z33, Boelen curated the 24th Biennial of Design in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2014.

Boelen also serves on various boards and committees including the advisory board of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee in the UK and Creative Industries Fund in the Netherlands. Boelen holds a degree in product design from the Media and Design Academy (now the LUCA School of Arts) in Genk, Belgium.


Taking place since 2012, Istanbul Design Biennial aims to bring together a diverse cross section of design ideas once every two years, exploring a wide range of fields concerning design. Seeding ideas and fostering dialogue and intersections within the creative and academic community, the biennial operates on a network of national and international collaborations with cultural agents, institutions, universities and companies. Using the city as a dynamic space for projects, actions and interventions, the biennial tackles global design problems, brings the notion of design into scrutiny, stimulates critical debate, foregrounds underexplored or overlooked aspects of society and prompts further investigation into and exchange about emerging conditions of the world. In addition to its biennial exhibition and various activities, Istanbul Design Biennial seeks to ensure a long, deep and interdisciplinary conversation that will help rethink the question of design by multiplying the number of voices and assembling an inspirational design archive. Committed to design as a tool for understanding its complex role in today’s society, the biennial as a progressive discussion platform is in permanent transformation.

Istanbul Design Biennial is organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV).


Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) is a non-profit cultural institution that was founded in 1973. The general objectives of the Foundation are: to make Istanbul one of the world’s foremost capitals of culture and the arts; to create continuous interaction between national and universal values and traditional and contemporary values via culture and the arts; and to contribute actively to the development of cultural policies.

IKSV was organising a single Istanbul Festival in the 70s, a festival that presented examples of different cultural and artistic disciplines. Over time, groups of events from different disciplines evolved into distinct festivals and biennials. Today IKSV organises the Istanbul Festivals of Music, Film, Theatre and Jazz, as well as the Istanbul Biennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, Leyla Gencer Voice Competition, autumn film week Filmekimi and one-off events throughout the year. The Foundation hosts cultural and artistic events at its performance venue Salon, located at the Nejat Eczacıbaşı Building. IKSV also organises the Pavilion of Turkey at la Biennale di Venezia and coordinates an artist residency programme at Cité International des Arts, France. Furthermore, IKSV conducts studies and drafts reports with the aim of contributing to cultural policy development.



Exhibition and Project ManagerMerve Yücel

Communication and Operations CoordinatorBahar Türkay

Fundraising CoordinatorEzgi Yılmaz

Editorial CoordinatorCan Koçak

Production AssistantBaşak Tuna
Hashim Sarkis
Deyan Sudjic
Alexander Von Vegesack
Mark Wigley

Editorial CoordinatorErim Şerifoğlu

EditorMerve Evirgen

Senior Prepress Graphic DesignerFerhat Balamir

Graphic DesignersEsra Kılıç
Ayşe Ezgi Yıldız

WebmasterSezen Özgür
İKSV STUDIO DirectorSelçuk Metin

AssistantsEbru Gümrükçüoğlu
Kamil Kulaksız
SPONSORSHIP PROGRAMME DirectorYasemin Keretli Çavuşoğlu

ManagerZeynep Pekgöz

CoordinatorsZeynep Karaman
Yeşim Birhekimoğlu

AssistantZeynep Bilgihan

Membership Programme CoordinatorsYıldız Lale Yıldırım
Gülce Şahin

Sales Operations CoordinatorNeva Abrar

Sales Operations AssociateItır Sevig

Operation AssociateIşıl Öztürk

Sales Operations AssistantsYeliz Vural
Çağlar Koca
Erim Pala
Canan Alper
FINANCE ManagersAhmet Buruk (Budget and Accounting)
Başak Sucu Yıldız (Finance)

Accounting and Finance Operations AssociateDeniz Yılmaz

Accounting and Reporting AssociateKadir Altoprak

AssistantsÇiğdem Arslan
Gözde Yılmaz

Human Resources SpecialistEren Ertekin

Human Resources AssistantEkin Kayhan

Strategic Planning SpecialistEzgi Yılmaz

Building Administration and Security ManagerErsin Kılıçkan

Reception OfficerDilara Çetin

Warehouse OfficersMuzaffer Sayan
Şerif Kocaman
Sercan Dericioğlu

ServicesÖzden Atukeren
İbrahim Çakmak
Aydın Kaya
Hayrullah Nişancı
Serap Sürgit
Müzeyyen Öztürk

AssistantBurak Akgün

Associate Curator Vera Sacchetti

Assistant Curator Nadine Botha

Visual Identity Offshore Studio

Exhibition Design Aslı Çiçek
Lukas Wegwerth
Selva Gürdoğan
Nikolaus Hirsch
Justin McGuirk
Meriç Öner
MEDIA RELATIONS DirectorAyşe Bulutgil

Managers Elif Obdan Gürkan (International Press)
Ayşen Ergene

Coordinators Ayşen Gürkan
Zeynep Topaloğlu
Berk Çakır

Visual Archive AssociatePoyraz Tütüncü

Visual Archive AssistantOzan Şahin

AssistantAyşegül Öneren

Archive Photographs Benek Özmez
Ersin Durmuş
Archive Videos Hamit Çakır
MARKETING Directorİrem Akev Uluç

Communication CoordinatorCansu Aşkın

Creative Services CoordinatorMeriç Yirmili

Field Operations CoordinatorSezer Kari

Field Operations AssistantOrçun Karamustafa

Digital Media CoordinatorBahar Helvacıoğlu

Social Media AssistantEce Kartal

CRM CoordinatorÖzge Genç
PRODUCTION Production ManagerErdal Hamamcı

AssociateBaşat Karakaş

AssistantAli Uluç Kutal

AssistantsSelin Gül
Çağla Gönül
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Head of Finance and AdministrationAhmet Balta
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES System AdministratorKadir Ayyıldız

Information Technologies AssistantTahsin Okan Erdem


Design Biennial Sponsor

İKSV Founding Sponsor

İKSV Official Sponsors

Theme Sponsors

Workshop Sponsor

Panel Sponsor

Design Walks Sponsor

Special Project Sponsor

Children and Youth Workshop Sponsor

Contributing Corporations

Contributing Institutions

Press Sponsors

TV Sponsors

Magazine Sponsors

Radio Sponsors

We acknowledge their kind support towards the promotion of Istanbul Design Biennial.


T: +90 212 334 07 00


To receive professional, media or academic accreditation for the opening programme of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools: Orientation on 20-21 September 2018, please submit the online form no later than 14 September 2018. Accredited guests will receive an invitation via e-mail prior to the opening. Personal QR codes on the invitation need to be presented at the venues on the preview days.

Media members are encouraged to contact İKSV Media Relations team at, while professionals and academics can contact Istanbul Design Biennial at for further inquiries.


T: +90 212 334 07 00
Funda Küçükyılmaz at Flint Istanbul:
Emily Saunders at Flint London: