School of Unlived Worlds

The School of Unlived Worlds is a nomadic School that pops up in the context of festivals, theatres, museums and organizations that are concerned with ecology. She creates an experimental-artistic space to enlarge our ecological awareness and to collectively learn how to relate differently to the places we inhabit. Besides Emke Idema, the core team of the School consists of physical actress and writer Marie Groothof and danser and dramaturge Doke Pauwels and works with a growing group of (ex)participants.

The School of Unlived Worlds on a dike near Hornhuizen, Groningen

The School of Unlived Worlds offers a space for exchange and experiment, in the form of manifestations that can take three, five or even seven days, together with different partner organisations in Europe. Central to the programme of the School is the practice of designing physical and artistic interventions in our habitual ways of relating to a place. You might: move on all fours through a forest, turn around your axis very slowly for thirty minutes, follow an ant in the city, sing along with the ambient noise of a meadow or lick the stones on your path. The School offers methods to let the knowledge that arises from these experiences unfold. Thus, we might lay bare blind spots and lacunes in our perception and narratives, create new ‘maps’ and new ways to navigate our habitats. In addition to the playful intervention rituals, the School is growing a library of related and supportive practices and literature. Here you’ll find inspirational material of philosophers, ecologists, botanists and artists to read, try, taste and discuss. As a participant you are invited to feed the library in return. 


By manifesting itself in different places, in different assemblies of experts, the School develops an open source knowledge archive about possible ways to relate to a place. The School wants to make these relations available for the future. 

For whom

In 2022/2023 the School will be open for artists of all discipline, ecologists and other experts on our relation with nature.

If you are interested in ecology, playful intervention, embodied philosophy and the production of situated knowledge: you can contact us for more information or find out if the School pops up in a place near you.




18/11/2022 -

School of Unlived Worlds | Jonge Harten Festival, Groningen (NL)

02/10/2022 -

School of Unlived Worlds | BASE, Milan (IT)

  • Founder Emke Idema | core team Doke Pauwels, Marie Groothof, Emke Idema | produced by Stichting Stranger | supported by IN SITU – European Platform for Artistic Creation in Public Space, BASE Milano, Jonge Harten Festival Groningen, Oerol Festival Terschelling ea

  • De dagen met de school bieden deurtjes waarvan je niet wist dat ze er waren, om dieper en vreemder met de natuur te verbinden. Zowel binnen jezelf als daarbuiten.
    Ik kwam met een gestrekt been in een warm bad terecht.
    S (moleculair bioloog)
    Ontnuchterend, verrijkend, verheffend, humorvol, relaxed. Het brengt je heel dichtbij natuur, jezelf, mens-zijn, maar op een nieuwe manier.
    A (boswachter) 
    Hele bijzondere en compleet nieuwe ervaringen: opnieuw naar de wereld kijken en zowel je letterlijke zintuigen gebruiken als je ongeremde verbeeldingskracht. Dingen ontstaan die je van tevoren niet kan bedenken.
    E (student future planet studies)

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