An urban education model that responds to the crisis in community participation and political representation by circulating different ways of thinking and making
Mixplace Studio is a collaborative project that provides an urban education model in order to address the crisis in community participation and political representation. The project aspires to enable conversations between individuals and institutions within West Philadelphia to circulate different ways of thinking and making, linking the knowledge of communities with the knowledge of institutions.
People's Emergency Center (PEC), Slought, and PennDesign are the primary Philadelphia institutions who are coming together to form this urban education model. The primary collaborators are neighborhood youth and university students, who are interacting with a diverse faculty of curators, community activists, artists, architects and researchers. The initiative is developing in dialogue with Teddy Cruz at the Center for Urban Ecologies at the University of California, San Diego.
The curriculum, social contracts, and public programs of the Studio are guided by a steering committee, whose permanent and rotating members represent the constituencies that are involved.
Six principles, representing the aspirations of the constituencies involved, guide our activities and hold us accountable:
Mixplace wants to enable a space outside of school that talks about the pressures of this world and how to overcome them.
Mixplace wants to enable a common language across ages, neighborhoods, and institutions.
Mixplace wants to enable exchanges between individuals and institutions, to negotiate the borders that define Philadelphia.
Mixplace wants to enable a process through which all individuals and institutional partners will learn from each other, contributing to a renewed sense of trust and the development of a new civic imagination.
Mixplace wants to enable neighborhood development and political representation by amplifying and archiving community voices, local histories, and everyday experiences.
Mixplace wants to enable a space and provide tools for this conversation to take place.
We began Mixplace Studio with the construction of the Urban Table, which redefined the front gallery of Slought as an unfolding exhibition in time.
The table is composed of fourteen mobile segments, each printed with high-resolution satellite imagery of Philadelphia, that combine to form one seamless surface. The table orients the studio in Philadelphia and frames our activities, and functions as a curricular tool that enables conversation and collaboration. It enables group activity in a variety of scales and configurations, as well as a sense of collective ownership and identity within the city.
It was designed by Estudio Teddy Cruz in San Diego and Slought, fabricated by Draftworks, and collaboratively constructed by youth researchers from West Philadelphia, PennDesign students and faculty, and People's Emergency Center (PEC) staff.
Interested in designing and constructing an urban table? Download an assembly kit
Learn how our activities are structured
Learn about associated programs