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Who is We?

Het Nieuwe Instituut, commissioner of the Dutch pavilion, will present Who is We? to question the dominant structures and histories we inhabit and inherit, presenting an urbanism that is Other – female, of colour, queer, and multispecies.

Het Nieuwe Instituut fuels the discussion on Biennale curator Hashim Sarkis’ call for a ‘new spatial contract’ addressing how we will live together. Such a contract would require specific tools and insights for emancipating communities and regenerating ecosystems that have been marginalised by the dominant architecture canon. This canon still forms the basis of our buildings and cities, yet it is clearly inadequate for supporting a multiplicity of lifeworlds for humans and non-humans. Who is We? presents a counter-language based on Other knowledge development and pedagogies that make visible what is unseen, propagating inclusivity on all levels. This departs from the research and practice of architect Afaina de Jong and artist Debra Solomon. In the online dossier, more background information can be found about these themes.

Values for Survival 

Who is We? is contextualised by the parallel public research programme Values for Survival, curated by Caroline Nevejan, Chief Science Officer for the City of Amsterdam. Due to the pandemic, this programme will be presented online in a series of conversations and cahiers as well as an Exploratorium. Cahier 1 has now been published and can be downloaded.

Open Call

Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL issued an Open Call for the parallel programme, and the selected design teams are Failed Architecture, Bureau LADA, and Studio Wild. 

Thursday Night Live Online!

This Thursday 21 May, is the livestream of Thursday Night Live Online! – Who is We? Starting at 19:30, several guests including Afaina de Jong, Debra Solomon, and Caroline Nevejan will elaborate on their contributions to Who is We? The event will be streamed at

Note for editors

For more information or images please contact Eveline Mulckhuyse or Christiane Bosman at: and

Guus Beumer, artistic director Het Nieuwe Instituut
Francien van Westrenen, head of Agency Het Nieuwe Instituut
Afaina de Jong, architect and researcher; Debra Solomon, artist and researcher
Richard Niessen
Laura Pappa, Robert Milne
Juan Arturo García
Caroline Nevejan, Chief Science Officer City of Amsterdam; Huda AbiFarès, graphic design and co-editor
Mike Emmerik, Simone Rots, Independent School for the City
Lada Hršak, Bureau LADA; Chiara Dorbolò and Daphne Bakker, Failed Architecture; Tymon Hogenelst and Jesse van der Ploeg, Studio Wild