FO.R.E.ST calls for a community that over time grows its self-organisational capacity – on both, the organisational as well as the material level.

The wish is to collectively generate and embody knowledge across and beyond disciplines, and beyond common ideas of expertise and associated authority.

As an initiating gesture, whilst FO.R.E.ST is in conceiving stage, the first few seasons propose the invitation of Co-Conspirators and Complotters. It’s up to Conspirators to decide whether to keep it this way or not.

(Please find further below a glossary for these terms)

Each season approx. 10 Conspirators come together for 6 weeks at a time (a season) to study and practice together.

Additionally Co-conspirators are invited to get involved with short (3-6 days) interventions every other week. Co-conspirators will be people whose practice dives deep into a particular field of knowledge. At this point in time Co-conspirators are curated and announced ahead of the start of a season.

In order to support the collective learning situation considering material and social needs – and stimulate experimentation where desired – Complotters will accompany each FO.R.E.ST season for longer duration. These are people who have been engaged with previous situations of collective knowledge production in MASSIA and other contexts.

With this initial set-up FO.R.E.ST tries to grow a soft, dynamic structure – negotiating carefully the difficulties that come with both, absence and presence of structures, and the hierarchies they produce – and one that grows with emergent desires and sensitivities over time; like a mycorrhizal network grows where it makes most sense at any particular moment and changes shape and direction within changing needs and desires.

However, this structure poses multiple problems. We want to name them here for transparency, and also in order to enable those of you who are considering conspiracy to a long term vision that is guided by change as a constant and responsiveness as intention. 

The financial possibility for FO.R.E.ST will be given through contributions paid by Conspirators (see here for details). These contributions cover the usage of the building and at least travel cost for Co-Conspirators and Complotters.

These differing material conditions privilege one category of participants over another and introduce the very hierarchy FO.R.E.ST wants to undo. The reason why we propose the current structure despite this paradox are:

FO.R.E.ST is at conceiving stage and, at this moment in time, it is an idea that will only materialise once people engage/conspire with it; hence this structure is meant to be an initiating gesture that we hope will shift over time.

FO.R.E.ST is a demanding proposal that asks for time and resource commitment and takes place in a cultural context, in which power structures inform and in/validate knowledge production and how one engages with it.

With FO.R.E.ST growing, Conspirators are encouraged to organise the study themselves, including inviting Co-conspirators and the allocation of budget for this – and changing the Conspirator/Co-conspirator set up all together.

Conspiracy glossary

With the desire to complicate hierarchies FO.R.E.ST favors certain terms over others. We acknowledge this causes confusion – and that’s ok. In the following are wrong translations for clarity’s sake

Conspirators – could be translated to students / researchers / participants
Yet this translation doesn’t sit well. Conspirators are the ones who make/carry/cultivate FO.R.E.ST and are knowledge holders, producers and sharers.

Co-conspirators – could be translated to lecturers / teachers / experts
But this translation is wrong. Co-conspirators are asked to collectively generate knowledge with Conspirators. However, their presence is informed by the in-depth knowledge that is desired/commissioned by the learning community, and come with a clear responsibility.

Complotters – could be translated to mentors / facilitators (social/emotional/pedagogical)
Past collective learning experiences that inform FO.R.E.ST have benefited from people who take on the role to facilitate space, considering social dynamics and asymmetries that form among people sharing time and space.

Complotters will be practitioners who investigate ways of learning and practicing together. The adjacent position (opposed to be fully involved in all activities) will help holding a space that makes it possible for everyone when there is no external structure/authority (e.g. for access and accountability practices).