[Do it yourself institute]

Our experiences as a collective in projects such as Campo de Cebada, Esta una Plaza, Antonio Grilo, Cinema Usera and many other processes, raised the need to find a space or ecosystem where to connect the projects and learning acquired. In many of these cases we found methodological connections, similar research, replicable practices, communicating people and intermingled processes that we thought it was important to finish hybridizing from a position of critical pedagogy. On the other hand, we found the need to generate a network from which to connect knowledge, share knowledge and enable interconnection between the different experiences. This is how the Instituto do it yourself (IDYS) (Do It Yourself Institute) was started, a place where projects and processes could be connected to the knowledge acquired, allowing direct learning in connection with citizen initiatives and actions.

In our search for options to physically house this proposal, in 2015 we found an industrial building in Vallecas that connected us with a neighborhood we had been working with for years. This is one of the driving forces of the neighborhood movement in the city, which made possible the processes of social, neighborhood and urban transformation in the eighties. It is currently a neighborhood that concentrates a large amount of social and activist capital from these neighborhood movements. The work carried out in this first phase of the space was linked to neighborhood organizations, social movements, youth associations, schools and secondary schools in the neighborhood. Work was carried out in processes where the community built collectively around its needs in a learning environment.

This articulated and shaped our current pedagogical model that underpins IDYS, no longer as a space in itself, but as a working platform within the Espacio de Todo (Space of All), based on the combination of collaborative methodologies, learning communities and transversal capacities. These in turn create spaces in which distributed, transparent and horizontal learning takes place. Experience is promoted as a common thread where difficulties and knowledge are shared, as well as other elements that arise. In turn, this method has two lines of work: Learning by doing and Doing it together. Both consist of generating processes by creating and doing things with others in a collaborative way, generating ways of relating through collective work, and sharing successes and mistakes as part of the learning process.

Based on these ideas, the construction of consensus and common imaginaries is promoted through co-design: a process of creation that represents the values and interests of the participating community, from the very languages with which they identify; and the collective construction of devices, facilitated by designs that allow the development of skills and capacities. An open configuration that includes the greatest number of diverse agents, installing a more distributed learning framework that enhances the social and cultural transformations that these processes motivate.

Furthermore, it is proposed that this construction of devices and actions should be open source, with the process and results being freely available to the community for use, enabling instances of peer-to-peer knowledge transfer between the different agents involved in the projects.

Since 2018, this practice has shifted towards educational environments. On the one hand, there is an interest from groups working in public spaces towards these more institutional spaces, and on the other hand, we visualize the need to rethink school playgrounds, which to date are still mostly deficient in terms of quality. Thus, we have set ourselves the objective of promoting school environments based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination, redefining these environments towards cooperative spaces and favoring activities that encourage a more autonomous context for the pupils. This allows them to promote different types of activities, at different levels and intensities, and to reduce or eliminate structures that generate power relations and exclusion.

This implies new ways of promoting transformation through processes of active participation, as well as new models for generating knowledge that facilitate appropriation and a sense of belonging on the part of the educational community. To this end, we have proposed non-formal learning processes, with a proposal of radical pedagogy that is inserted into a formal education programme to open cracks of critical thinking inserted in the institution itself, and consequently in the students.

School playgrounds are one of the most important inter-relational and socialization spaces for children and young people, who spend many hours of their year and of their lives in them. Their design influences, conditions and shapes the type of relationships that take place in them, facilitating or hindering certain power dynamics, hierarchies, conflicts and pedagogical developments among the people who use them.

These have been built for some time from standardized and economistic approaches in which savings in their construction and maintenance seem to have been their main design guide. As a result, they are currently presented as spaces dominated by concrete, lacking vegetation, shade and climatic comfort, and lacking in elements and furniture that allow for different configurations for rest and interpersonal relations, as well as variety in their uses, such as play and the construction of critical thinking. It is symptomatic to see that a large majority of courtyards establish centrality around the sports courts, subordinating the rest of the possible uses to their periphery.

From architecture, specifically from tactical urbanism, some experiences have been developed to try to respond to the growing questioning of the educational environment. Nowadays, small-scale actions are proliferating and there is a growing awareness of the importance of transforming school spaces.  What we seek to do is to pay attention not only to how students want to learn and what they want to learn, but above all where they want to learn and how involved they are in creating those spaces. We want to focus not only on what is transmitted, but also on the architecture of these transmissions, to consider these spaces as a third teacher capable of containing pedagogical actions in their use.

Todo por la Praxis

© Todo por la Praxis

              Calle Manuel Laguna 19 CP 28018
Madrid. España

︎ espaciodetxp@gmail.com