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Radical Imagination

With complex and wicked problems like the climate crisis ever present in the public eye, academic teaching can no longer permit itself to be conservative; teaching only existing methods, theories and viewpoints. Radical Imagination aims to offer students transgressive and radically new insights into existing issues on man and the planet.

In this course, you are invited to explore urgent themes from a radically new perspective. You will explore four topics:

  • The position of the modern human
  • How we produce and consume food
  • How we relate to nature 
  • How we live in cities

Inspired by guest lectures from internationally-oriented artists and academics, you will work on your own portfolio and research proposal with artist Arne Hendriks to challenge yourself and to develop radical new ideas on existing issues.


Merel Talbi MSc & Njal van Woerden MA.

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the student can:

  • Develop his or her imagination in 4 urgent themes: being human, food, cities, and nature.
  • Reflect on his or her own imaginative process through introspection and debate
  • Demonstrate the connection between his/her imagination and science
  • Identify and interpret insights from selected artists and scientists on complex problems and their possible solutions. 
  • Reflect on given topics and devise relevant questions for further scientific research
  • Verbalise reflections on given topics in academic writing and (b)logging
  • Integrate imaginative practices (from art-based research) with academic research and perspectives on given topics
  • Compose new insights into a scientific research proposal, beyond existing insights provided by the lecturers and presented study materials. 

Entry requirements

Open to second and third year bachelor students.


This course is open for UvA students and other parties, such as contract students or students from other institutions. You can register from 3 December until a week before the start of the course. 

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: Keuzeonderwijs-iis@uva.nl 

Teaching format

  • Lecture
  • Seminar
  • Fieldwork/Excursion
  • Selfstudy
  • Presentation/Symposium


The schedule for this course is published on DataNose.

Study materials

Literature will be selected by the guest speakers and presented on Canvas.


See website

Number of participants

Max. 60


With every new theme, students are invited to reflect upon the presented ideas and materials in an assignment, inspired by various artistic disciplines. Students finish the course with an imaginative research proposal.

Radical Imagination
Vorm Kortlopend
Studielast 9 EC,
Voertaal Engels
Start Februari