On the initiative of SKOR (the Dutch Foundation for Art and Public Space) and in association with the organization, we explored whether it would be possible to modify and develop the Interactor for the lower years of secondary school (specifically at VMBO level: lower secondary vocational education). After an initial tryout at the Cinekid Festival, Face Your World was launched in the Amsterdam borough of Slotervaart in January 2005. In this instance the project was supported by the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK), the District Council, and de Dageraad housing association. Pupils from the Professor Einstein Elementary School and students from the Calvijn met Junior College (a VMBO secondary school) and residents of the Staalmanplein neighbourhood explored the surroundings together with Jeanne van Heeswijk and architect Dennis Kaspori. They were commissioned to design a public park of about 13,500 m2 that, together with the adjacent Brede School, is intended to serve as the district’s new public heart.
The design brief was relatively open-ended, because the main goal was to encourage the local residents to personally elaborate what facilities should be available in the park and how it should look. From January through July 2005, Face Your World had a gymnasium at its disposal, on the site where the future Brede School will be built. This presented the possibility of working ‘on site’. The gymnasium was transformed into the so-called StedelijkLab Slotervaart (‘UrbanLab Slotervaart'): a place where it was possible to discuss and work on the design of the park with students, local residents and other interested parties.
This learning environment was part of a public process, creating a space that functions as a physical place for meeting, exchanging ideas and dialogue. It provides a hub where plans for the neighbourhood’s future can be formulated together with local residents and other interested parties, as well as for the personal role that they see in this. Face Your World has therefore evolved into a process of ‘inclusive urban planning’ that strives to interrelate a number of complex issues, such as urban renewal, practical education, neighbourhood participation and the role of art in public space within the concrete context of a design task.