The open raumlabor university is a fictional institution offering workshops, excursions, and open discussions as educational formats. Founded in 2015, it builds upon a long history of learning related formats by raumlaborberlin at the same time offering a new framing for the many participatory and exchange oriented formats of the work. The ORU is part of a wider move to shift from project to practice and essentially seeks to open up a common space for exploration, improvisation and collective experimentation.


2017, Halle, Germany
Benjamin Foerster-BaldeniusChristof Mayer
With AnnettJacobJanLauraLorenzMarkNikosSarahTimmVeronica

We are in the age of the second great migrations. People come and go in large groups from one land to another. A new supergau in Japan in 2025 will trigger a wave of compassion in Halle: What remains of Neustadt and Silberhöhe will be handed over to Japanese refugees. The former Karstadt-departmentstore becomes a huge Asia supermarket and at the Saale, the first Halle – hot springs are opened: the Saale Onsen.
Raumlaborberlin built a temporary hot bath in the middle of the winter with 10 experimenting and building enthusiasts, hard-boiled artstudents. According to the motto: As if doing as if was not doing as well, we built this Asif installation for one day – no more and no less – as a test field for a new urban practice.


2016, Witten, Germany
Markus Bader
With Kim-Fabian von Dall’ArmiMascha FehseRosario TaleviSébastien TripodSuzanne LabourieValentina Karga

HOT STUFF – an AS/IF Installation conceived and developed by artist Valentina Karga for the Urban School Ruhr.
AS/IF INSTALLATIONS serve as theory in the practice, testing new concepts in space. Installations can be approached by anyone, and be set up anywhere: for example, in empty shops or public institutions – especially where there is a window display – they can be built for days and suddenly disappear, AS IF nothing ever happened.
HOT STUFF is an exercise in using open source internet knowledge for the making of an offline shared public space.Rocket mass heaters are a very efficient technology that utilises small amounts of fuel (wood) for a maximum output. With the rise of open source knowledge and the online DIY scene, ‘how to built a rocket mass heater’ became an internet phenomenon. Participants were invited through a series of workshops to learn and experiment together with forming such a heater into a hot bench, do ceramic tiles in nerikomi style, build their own DIY Rocket stove and finally learn how to conserve the bricks employed for the hot bench. Furthermore, the Open Programme aimed at activating the public space in front of the USR storefront.


2016, HattingenWitten, Germany
Markus Bader
With Kim-Fabian von Dall’ArmiRosario TaleviSuzanne Labourie

Throughout 4 days of intense engagement, USR essentially seek to open up a common space for exploration, improvisation and collective experimentation around the topic of learning and its spaces. With Ethel Baraona Pohl (dpr Barcelona), Antoine Aubinais (Bellastock), Hendrik Sturm, Laura Lovatel & Federica Menin, Isshaq Al-Barbary (Campus in Camps), Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga.


The Urban School Ruhr is organized in three different departments: Spaces of Learning, Practices of Commoning, and Intervention as a Strategy. Its 2016’s Open Programme was developed in autumn throughout five sessions taking place in the cities of Witten and Hattingen. In addition to the departments, the programme is amplified via cooperations with associated tutors and educational partners. Each session comprises of different learning formats:
ON-SITE WORKSHOPS are conceived as a three to four days opportunity for participants to explore diverse approaches and engage with activities within the urban environment. By allowing practice to inform theory, we will be learning by doing.
ASSEMBLY SEMINARS provide a discussion-oriented learning format, where anyone interested can join and exchange experiences and thoughts.
DISCURSIVE DINNERS Understanding the kitchen as a site of dialogue and reciprocity, attendees cook and eat together. During the dinner, invited speakers do a short presentation – in between courses- followed by an informal discussion.

What should we be learning, and how should we be learning it? Spaces of Learning aims at the creation of critical learning environments and experiences that are breaking away from the established and regulated environments of knowledge production.
The following activities unfolded during the session:
On-Site Workshop with Laura Lovatel & Federica Menin: Learning f(r)o(m)r what? Learning f(r)o(m)r whom? investigated the idea behind “learning” as a preparatory moment and as an emancipatory practice. Visiting alternative educational initiatives throughout the Ruhrgebiet – such as a Waldorf school, a youth centre and commune- the workshop provided an opportunity to reflect on these not only as learning spaces but as living models that offer unending education.