Seasonal Neighbours is a long-term research project on seasonal migrant labour. Unlike the mainstream debate that focuses mainly on labour conditions and rights, the research explores the interpersonal aspects of this temporary cohabitation through art and design interventions, critical conversations, and written research. Seasonal Neighbours looks at the evolution of the metabolism of horticulture, the rural landscape and European labour migration stories to formulate questions in relation to the economy of scale in the agriculture sector, domesticity, public space and representation, and new forms of citizenship.
In 2017, the project was initiated by Ciel Grommen, who worked side-by-side with Polish and Bulgarian migrants in her former hometown Borgloon, and traveled home with some Bulgarian women. In 2018, Dieter Leyssen enlarged the scope of the project within the context of seasonal migration in Europe through an academic research at LSE. Maximiliaan Royakkers joined the team in the realization of the pavilion ‘House for Seasonal Neighbours’ in summer 2018.
In 2020 a second phase of this project is planned. Other agricultural regions will be explored, more European workers will be met. We are searching for designers and fieldworkers to join our team. If interested, don't hesitate to check our open call.
Project supported by the Flemish Government, Z33, Ar-Tur, boerenbond, Vocatio fund, Plan B and many others.
Ciel Grommen (1989) extended her training in architecture at the University of Leuven with a master in contemporary art at the HEAD in Geneva. What follows is a trans-disciplinary research practice from which she creates frameworks that addresses social, political and environmental issues. Intense fieldwork is central to her methodology. Through maps, images, instructions and installations she subsequently invites the public to imagine another perception of space.
Works have been exhibited in Artsonje Art Centre, Seoul; Live In Your Head Gallery, Geneva; Luma foundation Arles; Zolder Luchtfabriek; Beursschouwburg Brussels; Z33, centre for contemporary art in Hasselt... Works even more often appear in the “real” world, such as Petit Chateau, asylum centre in Brussels; the post box of her neighbour; online; on the Aldi parking lot of Borgloon, ... In 2015, she was selected for the BNP Paribas Fortis New Heads art award with her research on freeports and warehouses in Geneva.
Maximiliaan Royakkers (1988) graduated as a MSc in Architecture and Engineering at the KU Leuven and holds a master from the Studio for Immediate Spaces at the Sandberg Institute. He is working in the expanded spatial field between architectural production, artistic research and educational experiment. In 2014 he joined forces and fields with Annee Viken to form Albergo Rosa, with whom they were residents at the Jan Van Eyck academy in 2016. Between 2014 and 2016 he was part of the public school for architecture Brussels, an autodidact educational framework that offers the opportunity to negotiate public space beyond the limits of current architectural practice. Currently he is a collaborator at the architecture o ce V+ and teaches an architecture studio at the University of Antwerp.
Dieter Leyssen (1989) holds a MSc in Architecture from the KU Leuven and is candidate MSc in City Making and Social Sciences at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since 2013 he is member of international architecture and urban practice 51N4E in Brussels. Both in practice and writing, he developed a specific interest in collaborative processes that improve, strengthen and interrogate socio-spatial transformations in society.
In 2013, he was awarded the Flanders State Architect’s prize for young graduates and in 2018 he received the Young Planner Prize from the Dutch and Flemish Planning Association. His work was exhibited in Metropolitan Exchange (US), DeSingel International Arts Campus (BE) and the Dojima River Biennale (JP) and published in Architectural Re- view Magazine (UK) and ARCH+ (DE) amongst others. He is co-editor of FoUL, an independent magazine on urban practices founded at LSE.
Filip Jakab (1992) graduated from MA in Visual Arts at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (CZ). He works as a gallery assistant at Super Dakota, Brussels. He is engaging in multifaceted art communications, social rhizomes reflected in contemporary art culture and shift-orientated curatorial practices. He juxtaposes his experiences, gained in the gallery field with a focus on a growth of a new generation of emerging artists. He was assisting to curate exhibition 'The power of Identity' at Czech Centre in Tokyo (2017). He was part of collaborative projects intertwining fashion and dance performance at Czech Centre in New York ( 2016). He is currently preparing curatorial film and performance program at Super Dakota, Brussels.