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 met with the local students:

Business school students

Then we went outside the campus for an urban exploration in a migrant village with the social innovation team, we have noticed that people lived in total poverty and dustiness. (kids always smile to life and they even came to us 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.

If a social innovation group have to find solutions for the migrant village they ABSOLUTELY need to have vernacular feedbacks. Collaboration is key.

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

The 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 in academia

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, inspiring, collaborative and reproducable…

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

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, hope we can make this happen soon again and bring more anti disciplinary ninja spirit to Shenzhen.

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