De Appel

Talk by David Smeulders


A part of the school projects of De Appel Education Programme, this project investigates the needs and concerns of the schools in Amsterdam Nieuw-West regarding contemporary arts education. Based on these, in collaboration with four schools, De Appel developed a programme that will expand over the next two years and possibly beyond. Kentalis / Signis is an elementary school for children who are Deaf or hard of hearing and in the framework of the Sound Gestures, it hosts three artistic projects over a period of three school years, each of which investigates sound and the ownership of sound.

The first project of Sound Gestures focuses on the artistic practice of Christine Sun Kim. Christine Sun Kim explores the medium of sound through technology, performance, and drawing. For this school project the focus is on the distinctive ways in which the artist, who has been deaf since birth, understands the concepts of sound and listening. The starting point of the project was a Skype meeting between the entire school and the artist.

De Appel Education Program is part of De Appel, Amsterdam-based contemporary art institute that brings together people, objects and ideas to explore the unknown. With an experimental, open-minded and inclusive focus, the programs of De Appel serve the intellectually and emotionally curious, (non-)specialized art enthusiasts as well as seasoned art professionals. De Appel organizes exhibitions, performances, film screenings, lectures and gatherings that cross boundaries between the arts and other disciplines. These programs facilitate artistic and socially relevant dialogues with various cultural and societal organizations, both in Amsterdam and beyond. In addition, De Appel is home to a world-renowned curatorial programme and houses an extensive archive and library. De Appel is continuously developing its programs and goals in order to remain critical towards its changing societal and cultural contexts.

Through its educational programme, De Appel aims to create non-hierarchical modes of dialogue between people, objects, and ideas, and to stimulate different forms of learning. This method of learning is ideally always in a state of becoming, and prioritizes sharing and collaboration in its process. Individual programmes frequently utilize different learning environments to generate new forms of exchange, stimulate critical thinking, and produce knowledge through contemporary art and culture.

David Smeulders is the Curator of Education at De Appel in Amsterdam. He holds a Master’s degree in Educational Sciences from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels specializing in contemporary art and art education. Previously, David devised educational programmes for a number of art institutions, including Documenta 14 & MHKA. From 2011 until 2017 David worked for Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial for Contemporary Art, where he developed different educational programmes in Belgium, Russia and Switzerland.