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Open Call: Architecture Archives of the Future

How to futurise the past, and curate the future? The Jaap Bakema Study Centre (JBSC) invites contributions to its annual conference, which is dedicated to architecture archives, research and exhibitions. The open call welcomes proposals from academics and practitioners alike. With this year’s conference, the JBSC celebrates its 10th anniversary and the centennial of the National Collection of Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning.

27 April 2023

Nederlands Documentatiecentrum voor de Bouwkunst ("Netherlands Documentation Center for Architecture") in Amsterdam, one of the predecessors of Nieuwe Instituut. Collection Nieuwe Instituut, Archive NDBK

To celebrate the two anniversaries, the conference aims to collectively investigate the future of curatorial practices, architectural legacies, memory and knowledge, and so the future narratives of the manifold histories yet unknown. Architecture Archives of the Future will delve into the intersections and evolving relationships between architectural practice, archival research, and exhibition making. The questions we seek to explore range from institutional ones – examining the politics of archiving and exhibiting – to the role of technologies in preserving, curating, and communicating architectural archives. 

The JBSC conference

The Jaap Bakema Study Centre was established in 2013 as a special research partnership between TU Delft and the Nieuwe Instituut. Its programme aims to intensify the exchanges between architectural design, archives, academia, and curatorial practices, while combining contemporary social issues with advanced historical and theoretical research. From the outset, the primary focus was to help increase the visibility and use of the National Collection of Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning, which is housed in the institute. This goal has been broadened and deepened with exhibitions, publications and international PhD research, offering critical reflections and innovative curatorial practices. The annual conference serves as an effective platform to bring together a wide range of voices, from upcoming young researchers to established scholars and architects, among others Herman Hertzberger, Esra Akcan, Hilde Heynen and the late Will Alsop.

Open Society

At the JBSC’s first public presentation in the Netherlands’ Rietveld Pavilion at the Venice architecture biennale of 2014, it was proposed to revisit Jaap Bakema’s project to build towards an ‘open society’. This was in response to the question of then chief curator Rem Koolhaas, who asked the national pavilions to look into a century of modernisation and its impact on national cultures. It seemed only natural to revisit the historical idea of the open society and its Dutch variant, also because of the rise of authoritarianism around the globe during those years. Today, in the current context of yet more political polarisation, and the so-called culture wars, the question of an open society is acutely relevant. With this conference, we ask how we can further expand the idea of the open society, to not give up on the modern project despite its frequently contradictory achievements, and to aim for broad democratisation and the emancipation of overlooked, even erased voices. This year’s conference therefore aims to revisit this important question of an open society and architecture, and to continue the conversations of earlier annual conferences devoted to the topics of governance, planning and architecture, the welfare state, democracy and populism, as well as methodological questions related to coloniality, ethnography, new media, and open data.

Futurising the past

A search to expand the open society idea naturally involves a commitment to education, accessibility and participation. It leads to profound reflections on institutional gatekeeping, and on the curation of archival materials, in the broadest sense imaginable. These reflections come with questions of care, responsibility, and accountability, with heritage practice and activism helping to illuminate the power dynamics and representations in archival practices. Futurising the past calls for approaches that critically re-assess the received histories. How to reconsider geneaologies, notions of authorship and originality? How to recognise and bring in overlooked voices or marginalised positions? What sort of new epistemological models might emerge from the changes affecting the institutional memory of the discipline? We are also interested in developments within architecture schools: in what ways do educational institutions seek to incorporate the archive and curatorial practices in their curricula? How can archives and exhibitions be a tool for innovation in education and research? 

Curating the future

Technology remains a force for both disruption and liberation, while installing new regimes. This digital turn has created a whole new reality in the field of archives and knowledge dissemination, in which local institutions connect into larger networks with new tools and methods for research (data-oriented and AI-driven), while new formats for public outreach and storytelling become possible. We invite contributions which explore the use of these technologies to critically probe and foster notions of democracy while radically expanding the idea of an open society, in the spirit of diversity and inclusiveness, relationality and empowerment. Contributions must seek to explore how these innovations in architectural archiving and exhibition practices can help project new ideas into the future. What sort of architectural legacies do we wish to propose? How can the archive and the museum become productive sites for regeneration? How can the digital reconnect architectural design and practice with history?  

In short, how to futurise the past, and curate the future?


  • Abstracts of 300-500 words plus a short bio (300 words max) should be sent to Fatma Tanış. The aim is to have the conference proceedings published by the conference date.

Dates and deadlines

  • Deadline submissions of abstracts: 9 June 2023 
  • Notification of selection: 10 July 2023 
  • Submission of full draft papers (ca. 2000 words): 1 September 2023 
  • Conference dates: 22-23 November 2023 

Organising Committee 

  • Dirk van den Heuvel (Nieuwe Instituut, TU Delft) 
  • Alejandro Campos Uribe (TU Delft) 
  • Fatma Tanış (Nieuwe Instituut, TU Delft) 

Advisory board

  • Tom Avermaete (ETH Zürich) 
  • Hetty Berens (Nieuwe Instituut) 
  • Maristella Casciato (Getty Research Institute) 
  • Carola Hein (TU Delft) 
  • Georg Vrachliotis (TU Delft) 


  • Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft.
  • Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam .


The selection is in the hands of the convenors and advisory board of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre.  Criteria are relevance and focus in relation to the call, state-of-the-art research, an innovative and challenging approach, and an eloquent and evocative articulation of the proposition. Academics and practitioners alike are invited to submit proposals. We are aiming for a diverse group of speakers, in terms of nationality, seniority and academic and institutional background, among other categories, so as to assure a productive and lively exchange of knowledge.