Land&Hand: the landscape, its materials and the craftsmanship of the future
Land&Hand programs are implemented by KETTER&Co. This collective of artists, designers and researchers take vocational students from around the Netherlands into collaborations with entrepreneurs, landscape organisations, craftsmen and policymakers. The projects connect students to their environment, local materials and crafts by using methods from art and design education that focus on activating different senses. Students learn about sustainability, circularity and creativity, while the diverse collaborations help create local networks.
It refers to other types of transformations (soft investment)
As a representative of an organisation
Name of the organisation(s): KETTER&Co Type of organisation: Cultural foundation First name of representative: Hannah Last name of representative: Sweering Gender: Female Nationality: Netherlands Function: Project manager Address (country of permanent residence for individuals or address of the organisation)<br/>Street and number: Gietersstraat 47 Town: Amsterdam Postal code: 1015 HB Country: Netherlands Direct Tel:+31 6 26116041 E-mail:email@example.com Website:https://www.ketterenco.nl/en
Land&Hand is a multi-year project, implemented in eight Dutch provinces, developed by KETTER&Co, a collective of artists and designers, that strives for a sustainable, circular and inclusive landscape and society. The project revolves around the interaction between local landscapes, its materials and the craftsmanship connected to it. Focusing on local agendas and practices, future generations are placed at the centre of the development of innovative, circular and aesthetic solutions to sustainability issues. The initiative aims to bond students to the landscape that surrounds them and to strengthen their understanding of sustainability, circularity and materiality. We do so by developing new learning environments and methods, using our expertise in art education, through which we teach students how to engage with their local landscape, the materials that are found in it and the local craftsmanship connected to it. The development of collaborations between vocational education, local entrepreneurs and landscape organizations results in cyclical awareness amongst students as well as an interdisciplinary and sustainable local network of students, craftsmen, businesses and policymakers.
The Land&Hand project is driven by an inclusive agenda. The project celebrates the work of craftsmen and highlights the importance of craftsmanship in an increasingly industrialized and globalized world. In line with this, it acknowledges the distinct value of vocational education, a value which is largely overseen in the knowledge economy that characterizes the Netherlands. Vocational schools educate the craftsmen of the future. The Land&Hand project offers these future craftsmen perspectives and practical design-driven skills to interpret the environment that surrounds them. Through a practical project at a physical location with a set framework and toolbox for teachers, students enter into a relationship with the landscape and the associated manufacturing industry.
Due to industrialization, globalization and the cheap transport of goods, our relationship to the local landscape and the materials that are found in it has nearly disappeared. In the past, craftsmanship was linked to materials available in the local area. The work of craftsmen reflected the surrounding landscape, with materials within walking distance. But this symbiosis with the materials that surround us has faded. Yet, today's sustainability challenges require a shift in mentality, a reappraisal of local production and a reconnection to nature. This calls for a reorganization of existing systems and production methods, and a renewed relationship with nature. By focusing on education, local craftsmanship and local expertise, our project aims to convert this observation into actionable perspectives.
By working with vocational schools, we take aim at the systems that educate and prepare the craftsmen of the future. By initiating design-based hands-on practical projects, founded in local environments, we affect bottom-up structural change within the educational system. Practical projects provide students with real-life local and sustainable inspiration and help students reflect on their relationship with the landscape and its raw materials. By connecting vocational schools to local experts we aim to showcase the interconnectedness of systems and the value of working together.
In Flevoland, the project focuses on how the rigid division between nature and agriculture can be converted into a system in which nature is integrated into agriculture. In this quest, Land&Hand aims to promote circular cooperation by connecting education, innovation, and sustainable agriculture. This revolution in thinking and acting, towards sustainable use of the landscape, requires consumer awareness, the greening of education, but also cooperation between all those involved. By letting students tell the story of the landscape, they develop new ways of relating to it.
Land&Hand's goal is to inspire a new relationship between hand, head and heart, by encouraging dialogue, working with the environment and by connecting these ethics to aesthetics and experience. We are constantly seeking for a language with which to communicate, bridge gaps and find common ground. Therefore, all our projects are tailor-made and designed with care. In the case of Land&Hand, the starting point of each project is an experience in the landscape. The future of learning lies outside, in the landscape, with the people working in it. Land&Hand uses various tools, largely adopted from art and design education, that focus on learning through activating different senses. Students gain a cyclical and local awareness. The information found and collected in the local landscape inform the manufacturing process. Each part of the process is documented and presented and tells a part of the story. We mainly work with graphic design, product design and web design. Through documenting and valuing each part of the process, and not just the end result, both circular awareness and material consciousness are established in students.
There is a clear connection between the care for aesthetics in all our designs – from our booklets, website, maps to exhibitions – and the experience of the students we work with: they feel valued and seen. Aesthetics is our messenger and means to get the message across. Which is why we strive to ensure that care and maintenance run through all our projects – from the designs we make to the networks we build and the materials we use. In transitioning to a sustainable, circular model, the creativity, imagination and transcending discipline of artists and designers are of the utmost importance. Fonds21 supports the project and calls it "an innovative education project in which design techniques and ways of thinking the basis for students to relate to sustainability issues in the local landscape".
The Dutch knowledge economy, which holds little space for the appreciation of craftsmanship, is reflected in the country's educational system. The current educational system was set out in the 'mammoetwet' in 1968. This law firmly centered theoretical education and devalued practical education. Thereby legalizing the assumption that the two cannot coexist. A binary distinction between 'higher' and 'lower' education was also born with this law and, as a result, devalues and practically excludes people without a theoretical background. The Dutch emeritus professor Piet de Rooy calls this “the overvaluation of theory”.
KETTER&Co strives to remove this hierarchy in language. But even more so, strives towards a revaluation of vocational education and craftsmanship. Especially those with practical and material education are needed in our common quest for more sustainable and nature-inclusive systems. The Land&Hand project, in the context of sustainability, traceability and an appreciation for locality, sets out to re-establish the appreciation for hands-on practical education. It does so by including and valuing those with practical education and skills, which also happens to be the most diverse and largest segment of society, and by putting them in their strength.
Each project has a local manifestation, a real-life physical result that showcases the research and insights of the students and connected partners. This research becomes a "real" functioning project to which the school and associated partners can continue to add. For example, a garden was created in the province of North-Holland, around the parking lot of a fort owned by the provincial landscape government. This garden filled with indigenous edible flowers was researched, designed and is maintained by students from a local ‘green’ school. Instructed by experts and guided by their teachers, these students design a location that can be admired and visited by the public. The story of the local landscape is conveyed to a wider public, making the local environment accessible for everyone.
In line with social constructivist learning, students are taken into the surrounding landscape to experience the possibilities of their own environments. Under the guidance of local designers, students visit (cultural) entrepreneurs and landscape organizations. The students learn how artists and designers view and question the world and how they can arrive at new ideas and rich experiences from there. They learn how to analyze their context, use hands-on approaches, experiment and develop a vision. Step by step, the students carry out assignments and learn to develop new insights, ideas and elaborations themselves.
For example, the Land&Hand project in Limburg focused on food production in the province. Food production used to be local, yet the chains have become unprecedentedly long. How does the food on our place relate to the surrounding landscape? Limburg has a distinct culture of flans which the project focused on. In collaboration with students from a Healthy Living program in Venlo and local entrepreneurs, we mapped out the food chains of the flans and developed flans for the four seasons. The ingredients come from local farmers and producers.
Land&Hand projects are implemented and tailor-made per province. Which means that a specific set of stakeholders is designed per project. Yet stakeholders always involved in a Land&Hand initiative include:
• Vocational schools (which are very involved as the program will be implemented into their curriculum)
• Nature organizations
• Local businesses
• Knowledge institutes
How these partners are involved in each part of project implementation is context-specific and differs per province. Next to this standard set of partners, other stakeholders have been involved in the design and implementation of Land&Hand initiatives. In the province of Zeeland, we worked together with the municipality and the provincial department of Culture and Education. In the province of Noord-Brabant, we worked with national theatre festival De Parade, which showcased the projects of the Land&Hand students at the festival.
Furthermore, we collaborate on a national level with different stakeholders to showcase the results and insights of the projects. We have been invited to conferences on the role of art in education by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Furthermore, we are constantly looking to share our insights on the years of experience we have working together with the vocational education system, and the ways we see that this can be improved. We have been invited by the Embassy of Health to talk about this during the Dutch Design Week and we are currently starting talks with the vocational education council and policymakers within the schooling system to share our input and experiences. Finally, we are supported by national funds, such as Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, Fonds21 and Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, on a multi-year basis.
We are constantly looking to build new collaborations and involve more parties in existing Land&Hand projects. They are truly a collaborative effort.
Our main goal is to establish new learning environments, inspired by art education, that pay attention to natural systems and materials in our local environment and that value handicrafts. In this quest, we bring together people from different fields – arts, education, policymaking, business. These joint efforts constitute a pronounced interdisciplinary aspect, with different parties offering different expertise. We believe that everything is connected and that a circular approach is needed: the student with the landscape, the farmers, the entrepreneurs, the nature organizations and the networks around it.
Land&Hand merges different parties, expertise and disciplines. Entrepreneurs might have differing interests from schools, designers and landscape organizations. But by acting as a constant
bridge-builder between these players, we communicate and connect the different interests of the parties involved. The collaborations that we set up not only ensure a relevant project, focused on environmental, social and economic sustainability, in the local context but also contribute to the support for vocational education in the province. These joint efforts constitute an interdisciplinary aspect, with different parties offering different expertise. In addition, these collaborations lead to local partners developing a common language over time and a continuation of the project without KETTER&Co's active involvement.
Connection and collaboration are at the heart of this project. KETTER&Co sees connection as both the question and the solution. We develop projects and methodologies that bring about sustainable change through the inclusion of other perspectives. Our starting point is always the local context with specific attention to social, societal and natural ecosystems. In the Land&Hand project, by linking students to their environment, connecting schools to local entrepreneurs and bringing on provincial and nature organizations, we have set up projects that are relevant, local and meaningful. This bottom-up approach ensures that the project responds to local challenges and ensures support from the parties involved. Connecting groups that do not normally engage and building interdisciplinary collaborations is one of Land&Hand's innovative aspects.
Land&Hand aims to increase circular consciousness in order to restore respect towards one another, our environment and our landscape. By encouraging students to think about their relationship with the landscape and raw materials in the world of tomorrow, we strive to make vocational education future-proof. This also contributes to a revaluation of vocational education in the long-term. Land&Hand bridges the gap between social innovation, manufacturing power and sustainability, with education as the important link.
Our objective is that Land&Hand is ultimately a method with a strong structure and with sufficient freedom for its local applications. Once the project’s intent stands, local partners can take on the project in conjunction with the school, making it autonomous in the long term. This approach shares the results and benefits of each local project. Furthermore, the project has a ‘toolbox’, a set of steps, tools and methods which are intended to share the legacy of thought with a broader audience. The design-driven method, with a strong structure and with sufficient freedom for local applications, is set up in such a way that it can be used by schools across the country and continent.
Working with local designers ensures the aesthetic, local partners care for the site-specific knowledge and local schools provide the (often local) craftsmen of the future. Working with local entrepreneurs, nature organizations and the manufacturing industry ensures an anchoring in society and the local environment. Hereby teaching material becomes tangible for students, connects entrepreneurs to a younger generation and brings innovation from the region to the forefront. Our method, which constitutes of the use of a ‘toolbox’ and set framework, allows for the project to be shared with others. Our design-based perspectives are broken down into practical hands-on programmes that can be replicated by others, allowing the project's legacy of thought to grow and lead to further structural change.
The intention of the Land&Hand project is precisely to transfer learnings and knowledge and to inspire cross-pollination. Which is why all individual local projects are merged onto a map of the Netherlands and its findings and outcomes are accessible on the project website: https://landenhand.nl
The ambition is always to design a project for several years and to embed the Land&Hand objective and methods in the school's curriculum in a sustainable way. Collaboration with schools is essential in this. The aim is then to fit the standing projects into education in a relevant way.
Every Land&Hand project starts with a concept developed by KETTER&Co, based on local research and discussions with involved partners. This 'personal' approach provides a clear framework with plenty of room to identify sight-specific questions and issues to address and around which to build a dialogue. In the development stages of a project plan, a link is often made with a relevant project in the region.
After conversations on the set-up of the education program, in consultation with a local vocational school, the project follows the following structure:
• research and excursion
• mapping and analysis
• concept / translation / design
Each project works towards a final presentation, a manifestation of the concept where the students can connect the practice and the learning process. Hereby the teaching material and months of work become tangible; it becomes an experience. Eventually, KETTER&Co writes itself out of the script of the Land&Hand projects, trusting that the learnings of the project will continue without close involvement of the cultural foundation. The circular set-up of the Land&Hand project is designed in such a way that after a year or two, ideally, as KETTER&Co seizes to be actively involved, the methods and approach of the Land&Hand project will be thoroughly implanted in school curricula. This is the handover period of the project.
The Land&Hand project can be viewed as a large collaborative study that helps us answer climate issues and provide local solutions through the use of art education and the creation of new learning environments with a renewed appreciation for craftsmanship.
Historically, nature and culture were inextricably linked. Craftsmanship was linked to materials available in the area and the work of craftsmen thus became a reflection of the landscape. Due to industrialization, globalization and the cheap transport of goods, that relationship has almost disappeared. By taking students into the landscape, connecting them to the businesses that make our products, students become familiar with the cycles of the manufacturing industry. What materials and machines are used, who are involved in this process? From that awareness they can start to reassess their relationship with the landscape and its materials and, in collaboration with our partners, come up with local solutions to challenges such as the scarcity of raw materials and the decline in biodiversity. In the province of Overijssel, students developed a wellness spa inspired by and produced with the peat landscape of the region. In North-Holland, students are using testing grounds to investigate how indigenous species can strengthen the soil and biodiversity and how those flowers and plants can find their way to consumers.
By valuing craftsmanship and vocational education, and local initiatives and collaboration, Land&Hand creates shifts in sustainability – within students, partners but also in the audiences it reaches.
The initial idea for the project started with the film 'Hands-on', which portrays European crafts connected to their landscape, such as cork, marble or flat. With industrialization moving industries overseas, demands for these European crafts and materials declined; the connection with the landscape was lost. The project's ambition is to map out Europe's manufacturing and material industry.
It started close to home, in 2018, when KETTER&Co developed Land&Hand. Since then projects with different foci have been set up in 8 Dutch provinces: Noord-Holland, Zeeland, Noord-Brabant, Limburg, Friesland, Flevoland, Drenthe, Overijssel. The research projects (26 up until now) and education programs (5 completed) that have or are currently implemented in these provinces are continuously published on https://landenhand.nl
With each local project, we find that schools have existing ambitions for change and are actively looking for feasible and practical opportunities to act on these ambitions. It is no coincidence that we are part of several workgroups within schools for innovation and have seen changes in the curriculum in response to our projects. Our experience with schools showcase an eagerness for clear, honest and practical solutions that can be implemented with consideration of their local needs. One teacher from the Scalda College in Zeeland exclaimed: “this is the new form of education!”
This initiative provides the vocational education system with an impulse for a new way of connecting to the outside world, thereby contributing to the transition set in motion by the education system itself. Equivalents to professorships have been set up within the vocational system, with a focus on finding connections to the practical. This network provides the project with broader access to the restructuring of the educational system at a national level. It is important for projects like these not to remain incidental, but to lay a solid foundation.
The Land&Hand approach uses various activating methods that are relatable for the student and specific to the local context. These methods are largely adopted from art and design education and often focus on learning and experiencing through the different senses. In addition, working methods are used to further develop reflection, critical thinking and communication. Excursions to companies and landscape organizations are part of each project. We opt to involve the whole system in our quest to install sustainability values in students.