Insurgent Storytelling

How can storytelling support the emergence of a humane urbanism?
How can different artistic languages facilitate dialogues between social movements?
What are the multiple positions arts can assume in planning processes?

In Spring 2017, engage in a 3-months discovery-driven/action/collaborative learning project with a passionate and diverse group of people.

Through four phases of a semester long studio members will develop their own artistic expressions, learn about insurgent planning, get in contact with social movements in U.S. and abroad, and develop various skills.

Applications and Ongoing selection: December 1st – January 5th/ until the openings are filled.
We are a group that intends to explore the intersection between arts and urban planning through multimedia productions including but not limited to live performances, videos, music, theatre, spoken word, visual storytelling, and artwork.


It is a three-month community learning experience where each person will collectively produce her/his own art work around the theme of insurgent planning.

Phase 1: Find

This is not a selection process where we are going to test you. It is a call for people who have a sense of urgency and purpose to explore storytelling and the transformation of the urban space. We are looking for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as anyone who identifies herself/himself with this proposal.

How it works?
First, if you read about the project and want to participate, access this form to give us some basic contact information and answer some questions. After this, we will contact you and schedule a conversation (Skype or in person) where we can meet to discuss mutual interests, clarify doubts, and multiply questions. After the conversation you will have three days to think about it and confirm if you will be engaged.

Since the learning you are going to get is a result of the energy you will be able to dedicate to this process, we are looking for people who are available, open, passionate, and committed. We are starting not from a paradigm where people are going to be tested and evaluated. Rather, we want to experiment with a process where each person will honestly find by themselves if they are ready and willing to be in the position proposed by this project. It is an exercise of autonomy and trust.

For this reason we have some clear guidelines about what this position means:
To be available to participate in the entire process, from the beginning (January 15th) to the end (May 15th).

It means the participation in Phase 2 (32 hours), in the 2 workshops during the weekend.
It means the participation in Phase 3 and 4, engaging in the creation of the projects, being present in the weekly meetings on _____ at ____, and dedicating a minimum of 3 hours a week to your own project.
to understand that the participation is totally volunteer, and the project does not provide funding for traveling…etc

Phase 2: Play

Workshop 1: Social Theater
January 22th and 23th, 9:00am to 5:00pm. (16 hours)
The group will be engaged during the weekend in a series of body based practices to develop the group as a collective body. We believe that collaboration is an intentional process that requires a good start: a context where people feel safe and comfortable to express themselves, and the group as a whole has the ability to listen and respond to collective processes and goals. For us, collaboration is an embodied process.

Workshop 2: Insurgent Planning
January 29th and 30th, 9:00am to 5:00pm. (16 hours)
The second workshop will introduce the conceptual framework of insurgent planning, facilitated by professors in the Urban Planning and other departments. The group will explore the connections between storytelling and planning, both in theory and in practice. Also, the group will be introduced to organizations involved in insurgent planning.

At the end, each member will start to design his own learning plan for the semester: How do you want to be at the end of the process? What do you want to produce? Which skills do you want to develop? How are you going to move outside of your comfort zone? What are the qualities in this process that you need to nourish to keep yourself inspired? What gifts you bring to contribute to this process? What are your biggest challenges?

Phase 3: Create

The purpose of this phase is to create, in collaboration with others and the movements, projects that explore insurgent practices.
Each person will engage in three projects and have the opportunity to present his/her work in the final public exhibit, which also will be designed, organized, and produced by the group.

The group will meet once a week, on Thursdays at 12:00pm until 2:00pm in a studio to work together in the projects. Since it is a very person-centered approach, the format of these meetings will depend on the directions defined by the group. So it can, for example, assume more of a peer-learning to develop skills, or to explore more theories, or workshop, etc. The weekly meetings are important because we see these projects as an opportunity to learn through dialogue and collaboration.

Projects guidelines

The Short Project
February 1st – 15th
The group will have 2 weeks to create the first short projects.
Score: Based on the contact with the movements and their archives, create a piece that provokes both the movement and the general public to rethink their roles. Work in pairs. Use any media/language you want.

The Intermediate Project
February 15th – March 15th
The group will have 1 month to create the intermediate projects.
The scores for these projects will be defined according to each person’s learning plan.

The Final Project
March 15th – April 15th
The group will have 1 month to create the final projects, with the exhibit in mind.
The scores for these projects will be defined according to each person’s learning plan.

Phase 4: Give

April 15th – May 1st
The group will have two weeks to synthesize the process, design and organize the Exhibit.
The exhibit will take place, in the format the group define, between May 1st and 15th.

Conceptual Framework

Insurgent Planning
1 paragraph + video about it.

Popular Education
1 paragraph + video about it.


About the Project

Transnational Dialogues for a Humane Urbanism, or Insurgent Midwest, is a project sponsored by Humanity Without Walls. The project has three main objectives: _____(research), (dialogues), and (storytelling).

The research component includes _________. Thesis, Archives (available on…).

The dialogues component includes _________. Forum, Tour, etc. Dates…

The storytelling component includes this pathway (producing stories, public exhibit).


About the movements

Mexico Solidarity Network

La Roja

Housing Assembly



(1 paragraph for each of the professors/students)

Closing phrase