Shenzhen journey at tsinghua university

and the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI-Paris)

I was invited by Tsinghua university and CRI to animate a team of ‘’Ninja’’ during OPEN FIESTA event. The goal was to create a small agile group that could cross-pollinate all the other groups, and to have some sort of spy agents so we’ll be able to facilitate communication between all the groups. I had no idea what we will come with. Improvisation and serendipity to the fullest.


I would then invite them in my Hotel room to have some drinks and to talk about what happened in the day.

We also went to get Chinese noodles near the farmer market

After realizing that communication between cultures and languages was not that easy our serendipituous heads from CRI came up up with drawings process so people would actually communicate better with drawings and laughing :-)

During the workshops we walked around to visit the campus and we realized how privilege the students were…

Business school students

During an urban exploration in a migrant village with the social innovation team (the only REAL innovation possible must be social) we have noticed that people lived in total poverty and dustiness. (kids always smile to life and they even came to me and started talking ‘’hello my name is’’… )

approaching these populations is really hard, we needed to have some sort of preparation or gamification process to build a dialogue between students and migrant people.

They also never seen any tourist in their neighborhood, our presence was getting a lot of attention. Unfortunatly the social innovation group was not able to encompass foreigners (educated kids in a slum can be disturbing but it’s all ready a big step that this exploration happened)

If a social innovation group have to find solutions for the migrant village they ABSOLUTELY need to have feedbacks with the local so they dont do bad innovation or useless architecture. Collaboration is the key. Unless we just dont give a damn about the locals…

Making a fun and open dialogue between students and local immigrant people?

My idea was to MAKE the students COLLABORATE with the locals and get inspiration from them. After all the goal is to redesign the migrant village? How could OPEN some kind of dialogue?

So we decided to print the most powerful photos that we collected from our previous exploration. For this purpose we found a perfect print shop at OCT -LOFT in Shenszen’s post industrial area.

James Carlson and Francois Tadei

After printing the photos we went back to the teachers and academics people

The proposal was to go in the migrant village with the ‘’ninja’’ student and paste some photos with the locals. The idea was not well receive by the university (it could have been taken as propaganda or publicity for the university).

So we sticked them inside the campus and builded a proof of concept just to make people realized that the all process was fun, agile, inspiring, collaborative and the most important was CREATIVE and out of the class ( because it was realy cold in this library…people in China actualy never had this cold since 60 years haha).

Maybe the next time we will try to make the migrant and illegal people take the pictures themselves and paste the pictures on the wall all TOGETHER with the students…. JR have proven that this inclusive technique works pretty well.

We bought some glue and mixed it with water. took us about an 20/30 minutes. Everyone taking responsibilities and had a painting brush in their hands (so much better than the class room)

And here is the result

So the next step is to go to the Mayor of Shenzhen and ask in a proper way some kind of autorisation to go and collaborate with the locals. I really hope the University can facilitate this specific transdisciplinary creative approach.

We even featured a reportage on Chinese Television : D

Thank you all the students and academics (Luping, Francois, James and Ariel) who made the all thing happen. Amazing experience I must say, hope to make it happen soon again and bring more anti disciplinary ninja spirit to Shenzhen.