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Baltan Academy #1: Make Economy Yours Again

We are excited to announce the first edition of Baltan Academy, a new series of educational trajectories distilled from Baltan cultural programs, in this case Economia Festival. The first trajectory Make Economy Yours Again (MEYA) is an online learning community that will gather weekly for 6 weeks, with the purpose to create a new knowledge base for developing an activist toolkit about alternative economic narratives. The toolkit will be shaped according to participants’ backgrounds, interests and their existing initiatives.

Economic crises, the effects of the COVID pandemic, growing (social) inequality, climate change, the increasing extinction rate of species and the exploitation of the planet, show us that our economic system needs to change. How can we go beyond capitalism in re-thinking today’s economy? Are western value systems sufficient when exploring a new relationship with nature? Can feelings enable us to develop agency towards the economy? How can we make the economy our economy?

Rational arguments and logical thinking aren’t enough to push public discussion in a polarizing world. The challenges we face are so complex that we cannot understand them in a logical and rational manner. Should we address the belly in order to mobilise people to take responsibility?

One of the outcomes of MEYA will be creating a manifesto, the starting point of every movement: it’s not just a declaration of intent, but a tool to align a diverse group of people and put their beliefs into action. The aim of the manifesto is to collectively formulate your vision, by responding to the content presented in the trajectory.


Week 1: Assumptions and conventions / May 27th

The first session dives into the assumptions and conventions that frame our understanding of economy. We will consider the importance of language and how it is designing our economy, but also how it could change it. We will particularly focus on the notions of growth and nature.

Week 2: Expanding the horizon / June 3rd

To imagine a more equal, just and fair economy we look at non-western and indigenous knowledge systems. If we listen, what could we learn from other perspectives? Could these be leading in reimagining our relationship with each other, with other species and with the planet?

Week 3: Intuition, emotion and feeling with Meredith Degyansky / June 10th

We pretend to be rational beings, acting in a logical and efficient manner. But what about our gut feelings? Could we rely more on our bodies to feel the complexity of the world? Can intuition, emotion and feeling help us to take responsibility and change our behaviour?

Guest lecture by Meredith Degyansky. In her practice, Meredith is thinking about, looking for, and organizing other worlds and ways of being that pull us away from the exploitative and extractive practices of settler colonialism and capitalist modernity.

Week 4: Strategies and tactics with The Yes Men / June 17th

Guest lecture by Igor Vamos aka Mike Bonanno from the Yes Men. Igor Vamos is best known as a founding member of The Yes Men, an activist duo known for pulling off meaningful mischief to embarrass powerful corporate and government predators. Their tag line is “sometimes it takes a lie to expose the truth”. Their current project is the Trickster Academy, which helps activists develop actions, with trainings on key trickster skills and on the strategizing that makes actions useful. The lecture will be followed by a feedback session with Igor on the manifestos.

Week 5: working on the campaign (no collective gathering) / June 24th

Groups work on their manifesto. Group tutoring sessions on the development of the content and design of the campaign. In addition each group will get graphic support for the design of their campaign by graphic designer Gabriela Baka.

Week 6: Campaign (final presentation of the manifestos)/ July 1st

A final presentation by the groups. Groups will present their campaign based upon the manifesto they developed.


Language: English

Tutors: Lorenzo Gerbi (curator Baltan Laboratories), Marlou van der Cruijsen (program leader Baltan Laboratories) and Leif Czakai (Community manager Baltan Laboratories).

Guest design tutor: Gabriela Baka
Guest lecturers: Meredith Degyansky and Igor Vamos (The Yes Men)

Dates: May 27 / June 3 / June 10 / June 17 / June 24 (group work)/ July 1. Time: 18:00 – max 21:00 CET on zoom (with 15 min break)

Workload: +/- 1.5 hours homework per class (excluding final assignment)
Fee: €160 / students € 95 (NL participants will receive a printed copy of the publication: Economia – Methods for Reclaiming Economy)

Registration: Please send you registration, using the google form, by May 10th 2021 (Deadline postponed May 17th). For questions please contact Loreto Bazo (coordinator)

Participants: We have a maximum amount of 30 participants, the academy will start with a minimum of 10 participants.


Baltan Laboratories initiates experimentation on the crossroads of art, design, science and technology, evoking inquisitive ideas and insights by bridging the gaps between disciplines. The lab functions as a collaborative mindset and network, connecting curious individuals and organisations. By placing art and design research at the core of its activities, Baltan explores the implications, promises and pitfalls of our technological society.

Economia – The Limited Edition presented unexpected and playful approaches looking at the foundations of our economy, establishing a fresh point of view on the notion of value and economic growth. The program consisted of online lectures, workshop/game sessions, a conference, an exhibition and a publication. The edition of the festival took place from June – November 2020. Make Economy Yours Again is compiling and (re)structuring the reflections and learnings of the 6-month program of Economia festival into a dedicated learning community.

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