“On the roof of the Blaak building of the Willem de Kooning Art Academy, you can find the Rooftop Garden, a place to hang out and get your hands dirty.”1
The Rooftop Garden project was initiated a few years ago by students to address the need for more biodiversity and a connection to nature in an urban environment, and was later taken over by the SPIN collective. The space invites students, teachers, and staff to gather and garden. The garden itself is in process, currently you can find a variety of herbs, flowers, vegetables, and berries there. As much as being a physical space, the Rooftop Garden is a student-led curriculum that consists of events that explore different topics and focus on building community. It aims to foster moments of collectivity and care, and accommodate different interests, approaches, and concerns. In its process, it deals with the self-organisation of students and learning to navigate the institutions’ regulations and power structures.
The Rooftop Garden events are organised around Pagan festivities, emphasising the connection to natural cycles. They consist of workshops, informal presentations and conversations with invited guests, rituals, soup, and music. During past events, we explored the space with our bodies during a movement workshop, discussed food and its politics, read about sleep as resistance, listened to a presentation about seeds and their colonial history, speculated about gardens as sites of learning, and learned about student-led initiatives and the struggles they face. The events are occasions for students to get to know each other, learn from one another, and experience moments of joy and bonding, and through dinners and concerts.
1 SPIN collective. “Rooftop Garden.” SPIN, https://spin-collective.com/rooftop-garden. Accessed 29 May 2022.
Above: Van den Ende, Jasper (photographer). The Autumn Equinox Event on the Rooftop Garden. 22 September 2021.
Above: Arcos, Carla (photographer). Plants thriving in the Rooftop Garden. June 2022.