The Open Design Course began in 2016 by the initiatives of Bram Crevits, trying to formulate an answer to some urgent needs, but mainly as a way to offer support for an unseen influx of people fleeing war and seeking refuge in Europe. Due to regulations of higher education, it is almost impossible for most of the newcomers to start or to continue their studies as ‘regular students’ within the Belgian education system.
The Open Design Course initiative is intended to create a space within KASK, where it is possible to bypass the technical/administrative restrictions, to welcome refugees and asylum seekers, and provide them with a high-quality learning context. The course also reflects on the broader context of rethinking higher art education. The perspectives and motives that were behind the setting up of the Open Design Course are closely intertwined forms of dissatisfaction with education / or higher education. For it was felt that higher education is mainly organized to further sustain and reproduce this system, by mainly focusing on ‘innovation’; in order to further support a logic of endless economic growth. This is not only about pedagogy and content, but also the way higher education is governed and financed. In the same way, art education (and even art in general) is not immune to this logic of reproducing a failing system.