Yes, we disagree. But could we be better at it?
/ Five-week Live* Online class begins 4. May ends 1. June
/ Every Tuesday, 6pm-8pm, CET
/ Small class of participants
What role does disagreeing play in our lives? What power does it hold? (When) could disagreeing be easy and soft? Or desirable? Would the ideal be to not disagree at all, or to learn to disagree differently? Can disagreeing be both necessary, and inflammatory? How do inclusivity and neurodiversity tie into everything? This course is an open proposal to take on all of these questions and more.
We will work together towards creating a comunal virtual safe space for discussion and active listening. We will use concepts from cognitive neuroscience to explore themes such as: the connection of disagreeing to progress, the difference between individual scale and group scale, the role of empathetic listening in a disagreement, the importance and impact of individual safety and belonging, the significance of context, the labeling of something as controversial - or tabu - and even how to coexist given disagreement.
Each week, there will be some theoretical techniques, models, and concepts, and we will use contemporary examples to exemplify and explore, from the technology world or beyond. There will be room for flexibility based on your preferences and interests, but also many examples prepared, such as a detailed incursion into the recent debates surrounding Cryptoart.
There is an open invitation for each person to work on a mini research project on the theme of Disagreeing - however, the course will be enjoyable, rewarding, and complete even if you only wish to engage in the class-time discussions.
If you do decide on a project, there will be plenty of support available, for each step: we will have techniques to help define a topic, choose a method of exploration (for example, exploratory reading, artistic research, cognitive science survey, etc), and decide on a method of presentation that works best for you and your project. There will be guiding exercises, suggestions, and example projects during sessions, homework invitations, and weekly office hours to help support you in your process. No specific experience is necessary, simply curiosity.
Week 1: Beginnings
We say hello. We set together intentionally inclusive foundations for our discussions to come. We dive right into what disagreeing is for each of us, and what our map of topics and themes and questions - from burning, to mildly curious - is. We take the week to observe and explore further how disagreeing is embedded into our everyday lives.
Week 2: Text and Context
We ask what good disagreeing is, or could be, and think about neurodiversity, apparent decisiveness of science research, and about being wrong. We pick themes that call to be explored further - for me, it will be cryptoart - and we look at the context around our themes, both personal and conceptual. We find or explore how we situate ourselves within this context - and we keep exploring, and learning more throughout the week.
Week 3: Form and forum
We think about community, inclusivity, and freedom. We look at the forums that harness our disagreement - be them physical or digital, private or public, intimate or foreign. We pay attention to -how- we disagree and if it changes in the function of -where-. And we look at examples of all this from the micro-universe of cryptoart. We think about our themes: of all you learned so far, of what you’d like to learn further, and of -how- you’d like to tell us about it (creativity highly encouraged).
Week 4: Empathy and perspective
We explore techniques from interdisciplinarity on handling tensions between ideas, we think about macro versus micro perspectives, we dive deeper into cognitive biases, and we dissect examples of visualising disagreement. We talk about cryptoart in the context of empathy and scale. We save room for open questions about your projects and lingering curiosities.
Week 5: Together
We celebrate: what you’ve learned, asked, explored, created. What we’ve disagreed - and agreed - on. We listen in, with the passion and curiosity we’ve heightened over the weeks, to the variety of projects and ideas you have put together. We discuss and share our questions, and take stock in how our relationship with disagreeing has maybe shifted.
Who is this class for?
This course is designed to be a welcoming space for any thinker. It’s an invitation for anyone intrigued (or even disheartened) by how we, as individuals or society, disagree and by the role and scale disagreeing occupies in our everyday lives. It is an opportunity for guided exploration via creative research, interdisciplinary questioning, intimate curiosity, and openness. No particular background or experience is required. Aspiring or experienced facilitators are highly welcome.
About live classes*
Classes are 'live' meaning that you can directly interact with the instructor as well as with the other participants from around the world. Classes will also be recorded for playback in case you are unable to attend for any reason. For specific questions, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
Artist / Student (Full Time)*
Generous Supporter Ticket*
We realise we're living in uncertain times. During this time, we are offering a limited number of pay-what-you-can solidarity tickets for this online class. These are reserved for women, POC, and LGBTQ+ who would otherwise be unable to attend. We are a small organisation with no outside funding and like many, we are also in survival mode and we ask you to consider this when making your donation.
Note: Due to the fact that we are receiving way more requests for Solidarity tickets than we can accommodate, we ask that after you have taken 3 that you please purchase a regular ticket in order to make them available to other people. Also, please note that we may send a follow-up email asking you to confirm your eligibility for these tickets. We are trying to make our classes accessible to as many people as possible and greatly appreciate your understanding and support.
Ioana Ferariu (msha.ke/ioana/)
Interdisciplinary researcher, technologist, poet, dancer, life-long curious person and, as my LinkedIn used to say, full-time human. I studied Cognitive Science as an independent concentration at Princeton University, working in a question-first methodology, first by looking at language from multi-disciplinary angles (linguistics, philosophy, psychology, machine learning, neuroscience), and further expanding to topics in media theory, architecture and history.
In search of translating the Cognitive Science topics into applied everyday settings, I’ve been working as Product Manager and User Experience Researcher at companies big and small in the US and Europe, leveraging each position to be a strong advocate for integrating diverse and collaborative perspectives at each step of design and development.
As a complement to this, I’ve spent a year discovering and exploring movement research and dance improvisation (most of it in Berlin), an experience that has influenced and nuanced my approaches on community and individuality, and on what it means to be an inclusive teacher. I’m currently pursuing an MBA program, continuing my independent research, and setting up programs to provide accessible, personalized guidance for small businesses and (women) founders.
My interest in the topic of this course is very personal and quite rooted in my identity. I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with people from many fields, industries, cultures, and backgrounds, and navigating tensions and disagreements via leaning into their beauty and richness has been at the core of each experience. I look forward to exploring further with you.
Opportunity by School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe
Project by School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe
Opportunity by School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe
Type: offering / offering
Deadline: Thursday 1 July 2021 at 00:00h