Work in Progress
by Ponto

Portable School

Portable School is a workshop/exhibition organized by LETRA Marco Balesteros, in collaboration with six students from the Communication Design course, Ana Correia, André Cândido, Bernardo Rodrigues, Márcio Nazareth, Nuno Beijinho and Rita Matos,  at Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade de Lisboa.

This initiative was part of Run Studio Run, a pilot project of the college that aimed to create a closer relationship between nearly graduate students, and some of the design studios and professionals operating in Lisbon.

The goal of this particular activity was to go further than merely organizing a retrospective of Marco Balesteros’ personal work, so it was proposed a challenge that involved the students in a more active way, allowing them to take part of the definition of the project itself, instead of being only participants.


The idea of Portable School sums itself in a collection of a few notions previously explored by artists, intellectuals, academics and pedagogues: Stewart Brand, Nam June Paik, RaoulVaneigem, Buckminster Fuller, Dexter Sinister, Agostinho da Silva, Loris Malaguzzi, Fernando Lanhas, Ivan Illich, etc. It is an informal space, self-organized, where the sharing of knowledge and information acts as one of the most important aspects. It explores new ways of thinking and acting in the learning and teaching fields. As students/ participants, our role on this workshop was to take these ideas previously studied, and find a way to materialize them.

Upon our first meeting, we made a first reflection about the proposal. We end up with a role of possibilities to the activity program and ways of exploration.This was helpful, even if it turned out nothing like it was originally planned.We were setting the workshop in motion.

After this first approach to the project, the challenge was to define a less complex program. With this necessity of simplification we reached our main goal/lesson: “Learn to unlearn/Learn by unlearning”.This lesson turned out being one of the main statements of the project, because it allowed us to move away from more rigid ways of work and think, and gave us the freedom we needed to fully understand what this new notion of school was.



We resumed our ideas and reflections in a list of six basic but essential elements of school Teacher/ Student, Classroom, Class, Means, Break and Schedule – that defined the structure of the program, and its principles.

The project aims to propose a personal (re)definition of these terms, a new vision of the idea of school that pretends to be shared and further studied. It ended up as developing a specific methodology and bringing together our own set of references and questions about the theme. In the end this was Portable School’s main proposal: the students make the school, the students decide how to learn and how to work, and so we did.

The workshop finally was presented in an exhibition. This space was the combination of objects (all of them found around the college) which, with a certain scenic spirit, were visual metaphors of Portable School’s program and principles. Our research was also compiled in six small publications/manuals, each of them devoted to one of the six elements/main points of the program.












Leave a Reply - Comment might be included in the book

Posted on

28 May 2013

Filled under


Previous post

Towards Collaboration