‘Unknown Grounds’ is a two-day performative symposium taking place in Leeuwarden on the 21st and 22nd of November that rethinks the traditional form of the academic symposium. We invite 25 participants to join a selected group of international researchers, artists and thinkers to explore the notion of ground. Through workshops, performances and guided conversations we will immerse ourselves in new forms of collective thinking. Together we will create a small community to nurture a space for reflection and exchange.

‘Iepen mienskip’ (open community) was the theme of Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. We feel that last year’s activities only scratched the surface of this concept. What does an ‘open community’ imply? This is why Art initiative VHDG and Frisian historical and literary centre Tresoar commissioned artist Flora Reznik to curate an event that will deepen the the inquiry of this theme. The aim is to create a platform for critical thinking in Leeuwarden.

'Ground' will function as an inquiry field, both literally and in the collective imaginary: it is the material we stand on and at the same time the site of intimate and collective memories, shared or conflicting dreams, exploitation and resistance. ‘Ground’ will be a fruitful point of departure for a discussion that tackles fundamental forms of our thinking and topics such as landscape, territory, identity and the commons, while also addressing pressing political issues. Both often deal with unexamined dichotomies such as inside/outside, certain/uncertain, practice/thought, politics/art, we/others, which we will explore.


Who will be the actors of future social transformations and how will their identity influence the nature of these transformations? A performer is someone ready to embody the challenge of making things happen. We are convinced that this must be a collective effort.

We invite you to a new experience where academic inquiry and performance arts come together. During this 2-day event a temporary community will exist. Through different activities we will explore texts provided by the contributors that present approaches from different disciplines and from their personal practices to the notion of 'unknown grounds'. But there will be no lectures to just sit and listen to: these texts will be a starting point for exploration. During the performances and workshops developed by artist Flora Reznik and the contributors, the group will experiment with embodied and experiential ways of researching and sharing. All of us will be performers within the realm of Unknown Grounds, but in this performative-symposium there will be no stage and no audience. The ultimate aim is to investigate free from habits and constrains of our everyday lives - to inhabit a safe space for experimentation.


We are pleased to announce the following list of contributors to Unknown Grounds 2019. Together they have prepared a full program of performances, discussions and workshops, making this event an unexpected fusion of science, humanities and art.

Andrej Radman (Dr. ir. Professor of Architecture TU Delft / HR), Sissel Marie Tonn (Artist & researcher /DK), Ribal (Photographer/PS), Theun Karelse (Artist & Researcher /NL), Masha Ru (Artist & PhD in Mathematics /RU), Bert Looper (Director Tresoar & Historian /NL) and Flora Reznik (Artist & Philosopher /AR)/

More information about the program soon.

Event: 21 & 22 November 2019.
Open call for participants: 9 September - 15 October 2019

Obe Lân fan taal
Heer Ivostraatje 1
8911 DP Leeuwarden


Price per person: €75
There are a total of 5 sponsored vacancies with a discount fee of €25: if you wish to benefit from this opportunity,
make sure to state this in your motivation text.

Includes coffee & tea, lunch, a simple meal, a printed booklet and a publication after the event.

This event is going to be in English.


About Unknown Grounds



Unknown Grounds