University of the Underground: Learn deviance in creativity

Experience designer and everyday astronaut, Nelly Ben Hayoun launches the University of the Underground to train up young designers as creative soldiers.

The University of the Underground is the world first postgraduate university based within a hidden network of urban spaces. A university made of creative soldiers, young experience designers that can infiltrate power structures, digital and scientific ecosystems and modify them through music, film, design, theatrical practices and politics.

The University of the Underground supports forms of deviance in creativity, the non-established and the unconventional, revolutionary practices, theatre of cruelties and musical concerts will be celebrated as they manufacture countercultures, radios, pirates utopias and experiences for power shifts.  

"Today, we are calling for all the Willy Wonkas of modern times, the contemporary Velvet Underground's and the Joy Division's, action researchers and designers, mythologists and makers of new worlds!" says founder Nelly Ben Hayoun, who spoke at Design Indaba Conference in 2011

With the aim of teaching students how to engineer situations and design experiences and events that best support social dreaming, social actions and power shifts within institutions, companies and governments, the University of the Underground promotes unconventional collages of references, interdisciplinary practices, chaos and experimentations at the start of any creative processes.

The University of the Underground is lead by a multidisciplinary team of "dreamers of the day", who believe that a positive inspiration and disturbance to the current cultural and educative system is required to best support the young generations in their creative and political endeavours. 

The University of the Underground exists at the nexus between critical design, experiential, theatrical, filmic, political and musical practices and it results in the design of experiences.

The University of the Underground is a part of Sandberg Instituut's MA Design programme. The Sandberg's Instituut is the postgraduate programme of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and the University of the Underground is developing Sandberg Instituut's Unconventional Research Practices Department that is aiming to provide PhDs in the near future. This programme will, therefore, emphasise research, critical theories and context within students' practices.

The University of the Underground is established as a foundation in Amsterdam, composed of a multidisciplinary team as part of its advisory board and managed by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios Ltd in London. The University of the Underground is based in Amsterdam and managed in London in the Village Underground by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studio Ltd. 

Watch the Talk with Nelly Ben Hayoun