gallery talks

Jeanette Bisschops with Mary Farwy and Michael Barchini on 'Solution or Utopia? Design for Refugees'
31 May 2017

Exhibition halls. Meet at entrance hall
4 - 5 pm
museum card 3 E | students 10,50 | regular 18


During the two weeks following the opening of Solution or Utopia? Design for Refugees the Stedelijk Museum organizes a gallery talk by freelance curator and critic Jeanette Bisschops, together with designers Mary Farwy and Michael Barchini. The Stedelijk is mounting the exhibition and public program to create a platform where questions such as the following can be discussed: how can designers, architects and companies have a meaningful impact on the lives of refugees? What works and what doesn’t? Does a design offer a feasible, workable solution, or is it a far-off utopian dream?


The exhibition Solution or Utopia? Design for Refugees is curated on two locations: along the Stedelijk Museum location, part of the exhibition is shown at Lola Lik, the breeding ground for artistic creation located at the asylum seekers center in the old Bijlmerbajes in Amsterdam. The Stedelijk Museum presents almost 50 recent initiatives designed to improve the temporary situations faced by refugees. One of the designers’ central challenges was to devise practical, real-life solutions. From clothing that can double as a tent, to improved signage in a refugee camp, and from linkable plastic floor sections for temporary shelters to a digital service that helps refugees navigate their new environment. At the old Bijlmerbajes, design projects are presented that have been developed in cooperation with refugees.


Jeanette Bisschops (1984) is a freelance curator and art critic. She co-curated the exhibition Solution or Utopia? together with Ingeborg de Roode. As a curator and writer she has a special interest in expanding and critiquing existing narratives in the art world, and opening the doors of art to lesser-known or new voices. Her essays on intersectional feminism in art were published in i.a. Orlando Magazine and Oogst. Next to her work at the Stedelijk, Jeanette is curating a series of exhibitions and performances that deal with embodiment in the 21st century. Bisschops studied psychology and art history.

Mary Farwy (1992) is an architect. She co-designed the exhibition Solution or Utopia? with Michael Barchini. She studied architecture in Italy and Syria and has been in the Netherlands since September 2016 where besides designing the exhibition at Stedelijk she co-curated an event at Pakhuis de Zwijger and had the chance to design for other projects.

Michael Barchini (1992) is a Syrian designer. He was born in Damascus, where he started his studies in architecture at the Damascus University. He then moved to Italy and graduated in Turin at the Politecnico Di Torino. He moved to the Netherlands in September 2016 and he is planning to continue his masters in architecture next year. Together with Mary Farwy he designed the exhibition Solution or Utopia?.