How are things made? What are the conditions of possibility and constraint? What are the intended or unintended consequences of what is produced? In its initial examination into the process of making, the Poiesis Fellowship will focus on cities. The choice of cities as an entry point is a strategic one: as cities are now home to more than half of humanity, they are both sites of global connections and interactions across basic lines of cultural and social difference. They reveal new forms of cooperation but also new conflicts. Poiesis Fellows will explore the juxtaposition of urban planning with spontaneous settlement and diffuse repurposing of the built environment. Furthermore, the study of cities from a multidisciplinary perspective has a analytic motivation: as hubs of innovative design and re-appropriation, cities must be thought about in terms of complex systems, not simply isolated buildings, and in terms of social forces, not only aesthetics or planning.
To understand the creative process requires creativity, and the Poiesis Fellowship aims to nurture this by bringing together a diverse group of young scholars, from artists to engineers, architects to physicists, to build collaborative relationships on an international scale. The Fellowship seeks to transcend existing academic disciplines or fields of professional and artistic practice to produce new knowledge and provide each other with multiple tools of understanding. The goal of convening such a group is to encourage new thinking outside conventional frameworks.
The Fellowship will provide support for collective activities including group meetings, opportunities to share work in progress, and publications. Approximately Ten Fellows are selected for each cohort. Fellows will normally have completed their doctorates or equivalent professional degrees or have comparable standing in field where degrees are less central credentials. They will normally be in the early stages of their careers. Each Fellow will be assigned an individual mentor from the group of Senior Fellows. Pairings will be made across fields and practice – an architect may be mentored by an expert in particle physics – with the explicit understanding that this will challenge disciplinary thinking. Mentors will also be encouraged to invite their Fellows to engage with their own work, and Fellows will have opportunities to inform current projects of their mentors.