I am an interdisciplinary researcher and educator affiliated with the Free University of Brussels (Vrije University Brussels, VUB). I hold a PhD in humanistic management (philosophy of socio-systemic change), with a background in theory of language, educational leadership, and teacher training. At the VUB, I currently serve as the Director of Education and a senior researcher at the Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies (CLEA). I was born in Poland, in 1977, and have been living in Belgium since 2014. I have almost 20 years of professional experience in establishing and leading initiatives in the domains of knowledge-making, knowledge-sharing, and cognitive development. I worked as a graduate teaching assistant at the Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), where I followed a rigorous training in teaching skills and educational leadership. Later, back in Kraków, I initiated a university-wide teaching excellence programme ‘Ars Docendi’ at the Jagiellonian University and the lifelong learning centre ‘Wszechnica UJ’, for which I have designed and managed multiple training curricula and outreach programmes. An avid lifelong learner myself, I enjoy being continuously a student. This drive led me to follow a training in systemic family therapy, several certificate courses in coaching, team coaching, and group facilitation (e.g. from the Ericsson College, Vancouver) and a systems-psychodynamic programme in leading organizational change (Tavistock Clinic, London) among others. In 2008-2012 I was engaged in several policy development and consultancy projects for the Polish Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Regional Development, and the local government of Lesser Poland. In 2009-2016 I served as the Vice President and R&D director of Advisio Consulting Methodologies — a certification network for systems-oriented consultants of organisational development.
In my academic engagements, I’m mostly interested in theoretical research and philosophy, focusing on the philosophy of cognitive sciences and the theoretical approaches to the evolution of intelligence, cognitive development, distributed cognition, and collective intelligence. I have (co-)authored 11 books and handbooks and a variety of shorter scientific publications, most recently in the context of my engagement in the ‘Education for Complexity’ and ‘Human Energy’ research projects at CLEA, VUB.
I always feel particularly energised and effective when I am deeply involved in what I call ‘creative placemaking’ — establishing vibrant, original communities that bring together brilliant minds and novel ideas. Always somewhere on my mind, I have my son, Teo (11), whose growth fuels my imagination as to the kind of potential learning spaces I would like him to see available in the world. My single most intense passion is for intelligence at its unabashed highest. As I am approaching the mature phase of my professional life, I wish to contribute to establishing the Buckminster College as an environment in which the high potentials and unique powers of young minds are nourished — and dared to grow!
Weaver D.R. Weinbaum
Every human individual is born with the potential of becoming a free, creative, and joyful person. Yet, the human mind is a profoundly complex creature and acquiring the necessary skills of the art of living, of becoming the author and composer of one’s own character and way of life, is a lifelong challenge that requires already from early age individually tailored cultivation and guidance. This is my core understanding of what education is. I have made it my life’s mission to understand the human mind (including my own of course), its potential of open-ended development and how it can be guided towards the fulfillment of such potential.
Born a short while ago in 1959 in Israel, I am a father to two sons aged 30 and 28 with whom I became a very good friend. My initial academic education is in computer engineering and applied mathematics (B.Sc. from Tel Aviv University 1981 and M.Sc. from Tel Aviv University and Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, both with highest distinguished achievements).
For about a decade I was working as a project leader and senior researcher in cutting edge technological environments including Israel Defence Forces, the Weizmann Institute of Science Israel and Mercury Interactive – a startup that eventually became a world leader in automated software testing systems, among others. At the end of that period after a successful exit of the company I helped to build from its very beginning, I was able to retire and devote all my time and resources to my passion – understanding the human mind and its evolutionary potential. My background and experience as an engineer taught me many lessons, primary of which is understanding the kind of mind needed to build bridges between a vision and its concrete realization. I endeavored to become such a mind.
I spent the next two decades or so from the early 1990s till 2010 as an independent self-educated interdisciplinary researcher pursuing comprehensive knowledge about how humans were and are thinking about the developmental potential of the human mind, both in theory and practice, across various historical periods, across cultures, across philosophical theories and of course across recent scientific disciplines including neuroscience, cognitive science and psychology.
In 2010 I moved to Brussels to pursue a doctorate at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) in order to bring my accumulated knowledge into an academic framework that could be deployed as a foundation in cutting edge educational projects. I earned my PhD in “Interdisciplinary studies – Philosophy, Psychology and Science” in 2018. Since then I took an active part in conceiving and teaching in “The School of Thinking”, an innovative transdisciplinary program for postgraduates at the Free University of Brussels that runs now for the second year.
I was invited by Dr. Marta Lenartowicz, a friend and a colleague, to join her new project – The Buckminster College. Envisioning it, in some important sense, I feel (as I always did) like a beginner. A competent teacher, I think, is first and foremost an open-minded student. The question always comes first… I am looking forward to contributing my knowledge and life experience to this innovative education project.
I have been CFO of the Radisson Hotel Group from 1994 until I retired at the end of May 2019. The company which was owned by SAS Airline until 2006 when we took it to the stock market which was a process I was responsible for. In connection with the acquisition by Jin Jiang, the company was privatized – which again I was in charge of. Furthermore I have raised capital both through a rights-issue and high-yield bonds. I left the company due to the fact that I have reached “normal” retirement age here in Belglium (65 years of age). Since retirement from Radisson in 2019, I have completed the International Directors Program at INSEAD University in France, had and have a number of consultancy assignments, and board memberships.
Kia ora! (greetings in Māori). My name is Claudio, your Praeceptŏr Technārum Ambientium. I work in the intersection of digital design and education to enhance learning for students, schools and communities.
As a biologist, my interests lie in neuroscience, conservation biology, and environmental education. As a technologist, I am interested in how we can enhance the human experience in virtual and immersive learning spaces in education. I studied biology in Chile, where I am from, then moved to New Zealand on the other side of the South Pacific. In New Zealand I did my PhD in science and technology education, starting my journey into the use of digital tools in education. Today, I work at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in Auckland, New Zealand. My role is to help and assist others to learn and better understand how digital tools can be best used to educate about what matters to people.
Through my job I’ve been fortunate to visit the driest desert in the world – the Atacama desert, never-ending glaciers in Patagonia, underwater reefs in the South Pacific, and pristine forests here and there. All that to record and capture what the natural environment and cultural heritage places look like, so others can get to know and learn about those places virtually, without the need to visit them in real life. But don’t get me wrong, the best way to know a place is by being there.., yet for different reasons not everyone can do so, and digital tools can give them access.
My favorite piece of technology at the moment are drones! Drones are becoming a useful technology in many fields. I also like water sports. I’m very excited to share my experience and looking forward to learning more together! 🙂
Lieneke A. F. Pisters
Hello, I am your Preaceptrix Vitalitatis and it’s my mission to turn stress into creativity. I aim to raise awareness about wellbeing and in order to do so I organize artistic and social projects around this topic.
First and foremost I’m an actress who also makes and plays music. I hold a master degree in Modern Musictheater from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. I studied Artscience and Audiovisual Design before and I also hold a Bachelor degree in Theater Science.
The way I work is curiosity driven, I like to be challenged, expand my horizon, and use my imagination. I’m working with electronic music, the voice, film, and I’m currently exploring immersive environments. I’m always working on my own projects.
However the starting point for it all is the body. Ever since I began studying, I always had a side job in sports. From working at the beach as a surf teacher, up until earning my official certificates for being a personal trainer, and now specializing in vitality training for creatives and divergent thinkers. As a trainer I came to learn that, especially in the case of performing and public speaking, it’s very relevant to tune into your body in specific ways.
Stress is partially a necessary response from the nervous system, a healthy dose of it is what’s getting out of bed in the morning for example. But the trick is to be slightly challenged, not overwhelmed, and it takes some introspection and tools in order to regulate this well. I’m very excited to share my knowledge and eager to learn more in collaboration with you!
Hello, I am your Praeceptrix Phantasiae and it’s my mission to train your imagination and your storytelling skills. I strongly believe our imagination is the key to the solutions our world so direly needs and will need even more in the future. The challenges that we are up against are huge, but everything we ever invented was born in our minds, thanks to our creative ability. Training that ability is very important and writing/reading in the imaginative genres is the best training you can give yourself. I’m a writer myself, so storytelling is in my DNA. But from the first moment I started to write, I wrote fantasy and sci-fi, and that hasn’t changed till today. It became my passion, and mission, to train other writers in this genre, because it is in the amazing environment of our fantasy- and sci-fi worlds that the mind gets the freedom to invent the wildest things. Sometimes this freedom is the key to explore these wild ideas in such a way that they can inspire solutions to real-world problems. I became the first Fantasy-author in the Dutch speaking parts of Europe with a scholarship from the National Literary Fund and developed the first fantasy-writing courses in Flanders for “Creatief Schrijven vzw” (Creative Writing). As a writer I work structured as well as organic and I’m always balancing between these two ways of exploring my own imagined worlds and storytelling. I’m also a painter and in my first novel a lot of my paintings were added as illustrations, making the written words stronger, and creating new points of view. I truly look forward to meeting you, sharing my knowledge, and working with you on the stories and worlds you will create.
Hi, I’m Evo, and you could call me a mathematical anarchist. I’m always looking to unravel patterns and mechanisms to create more freedom. Radically going to the roots of things, to imagine more and create new worlds.
After studying mathematics, I have done an interdisciplinary PhD on mathematical anarchism in CLEA, at the VUB. Right now I’m doing a postdoc on the origin of goal-directedness. My interest there lies especially on what autonomy is and how it can emerge: how is it possible that a system is no longer merely pushed by external forces, but can create its own path? I investigate self-organization: how coordination is possible without central control. But even without central control, one aspect could take over, neglecting other parts. For example when you become so obsessed with something that you forget to eat, or when an organization only focuses on one issue. Autonomy can be regained by creating new constraints that makes you reorganize.
I’m also doing parkour, and I do see some links with my research. By using constraints in your environment to learn new movements, instead of by strict instruction. In how parkour changes your perception of your environment and what is possible in it. I see parkour as an excellent way to learn how to tackle challenges.
Besides, I love to create games – to illustrate those concepts, make group dynamics more explicit or adapt them, or just for the fun of it. That’s where I see some alignment with Buckminster College. I have been active in youth movements, and recently got an ‘instructor’ certificate there; besides a certificate as a parkour coach.
Ronnie Videla Reyes
Hello, I’m Ronnie, I’m interested in interdisciplinary education from the STEAM approach within the framework of sustainable innovation and with territorial relevance addressed in my PhD in education. I am fascinated by writing poetry and conversing with the wise old men and artisans of a place, before going to the academy and preconceived ways to make sense of some concept of interest. Inspired by Batesonian cognitive ecology, I try to make the disciplinary contents emerge from the sensitivity to the pattern that connects everything. For me, learning is intended not so much to provide us with facts about the world as to allow us to be taught by it.
I currently lead the innovasteam lab foundation where we generate news affordances of science, technology, engineering, art for making mathematics. Since I was little I have had a predilection towards the world of patterns and creativity, I feel sensitive to the forms of the world. I am currently interested in researching creativity and serendipity in learning environments mediated by creative and immersive technologies. Together with my innovasteam lab team, we spend hours unraveling the architecture of mollusk shells, insects and rocks with the aim of exploring new interdisciplinary learnings from STEAM. I’m really obsessed with the learning by doing that emerges from the crucible of our practical engagements. I owe this to the inspiration I have had from the enactivist work of Francisco Varela and part of my training in cultural biology with Humberto Maturana and Ximena Dávila at the Matríztica Institute. I see a wonderful link to the ideas and work of Buckminster College.
I’m currently chairman of The Fellows, a project of the PostGraduate School of Thinking at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and PhD candidate at the Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies (CLEA) VUB. I’m holding an MA in Arts from the Luca School Of Arts of Ghent and a postgraduate at the VUB – School of Thinking (research on various thinking methods that can help them find solutions for the complicated problems we are currently facing). We also aim to further put into practice the VUB philosophy of free thinking and free research.
Simultaneously, I work for 21 year as ceo of Planet Polaris (BE), a creative group with two headquarters in Europe, representing creative and technical talent in the fields of marketing and commmunication in the fields of brand marketing, communication design, ICT, people communication, travel, writing, training and education, hospitality, food & beverages, consumer adoptation of technology, advertising, content providing and charity, working on projects around the globe.
From day 1 I’ve been a trailblazer for good causes and charitable projects. I have been guest lecturer at several schools and I’m a passionate keynote speaker at various occasions. I studied some archaeology at Leuven University, Graphic Design at Luca School Of Arts of Ghent, some Computer Generated Imagery at UFT Toronto (CA) and, a seen herinabove, a postgrad on the School of Thinking at VUB.
Today I am exploring my ideas on a possible new theory of ambicentric vs monocentric thinking, a project on how new educational systems could emphasize on the mindset rather than on the actions (or the results) in order to create a framework for identifying thinking processes, in such a way it adds new dimensions to our worldview but also gives us, from the early start of the process, an awareness of the worldview of the other. The expected outcome of his study is (1) to contribute to the theoretical discourse in thinking concepts and the cognitive orientation / exploration of the individual in particular or the explorative community in general, (2) transpose this contribution to an applied explorative framework and methodology (3) apply this framework and methodology from theory to practice into a new format of education.
I’m also a husband & proud father of two sons, global citizen, piano player, drummer, terrible cello player, comic/whisky collector and very passionate about motorcycles.
The Archimagistra is passionate about food and cooking. She genuinely enjoys the whole process of procuring, preparing, cooking and serving well balanced and sometimes challenging and taste-provoking dishes to the children.
Günther Van Lany
I am a Strategy Director and Board Member of TBWA Group, one of the biggest marketing agencies in Belgium. As a Strategy Director I work on marketing projects and communication campaigns for big brands. During my career I was awarded 4 times an EFFIE award for the most effective marketing strategy in Belgium.
I am very fascinated by the boundaries of marketing and economics: can we keep pushing people to buy for whatever reason? Do brands need a purpose? Can we imagine a world without an economic system? Can you ‘live’ with the idea that you make money by selling more sugar to kids?
Therefore, next to my role as Enchanteur, I am teaching marketing and economics at Buckminster College. In this role I dive into the good and bad of selling and buying stuff… Yes, to find out how commerce contributes to better living, more independency, or great innovations… Or is it the other way around: how commerce makes people poor, dependent and even stupid? There is only one way to find out: together we’ll build the Buckminster economy.
The Blacksmith – Librarian is an incredibly warm, kind-hearted man, and would often forget his exceptional size and strength when patting our pupils on the back. David Baetens, a wise and erudite man, always travelling between the hard world of fire in his forgery and the elegant universe in his books, is continuously challenging his padawans when they are not in session with the Faculty members.
Are you a brilliant academician, resourceful educator, or an accomplished creative one-of-a-kind? Are you free to dedicate plenty of life energy to something meaningful, forward-looking, optimistic? Chances are the time has come for you to join us and TEACH!
Since November 2021 we have been building up the Buckminster Faculty team. We started on enthusiastically voluntary basis, delivering fun learning moments in The Game (already finished). Now, without rushing, but with a clear sense of what we want, we are developing more precisely scoped teaching roles. From September 2023 new Faculty members will be needed to teach in the part-time Springbok trajectory (either on Wednesdays online or irl in the short residential sessions in Bruges, Belgium). From September 2024, even more people, or more hours from the existing team, will be needed to deliver the full-time college curriculum (also partially online).
The Buckminster teaching roles are not classical employments. We want to expose our learners to a broad variety of polymaths and mavericks from all corners of the world and various walks of life – accomplished, well settled in their ways of living, coming to teach up to four classes per year (1-day, 3-day, or 2-week long). We want each Faculty member to teach only what they understand deeply – that is, what they truly love. In composing the team, we want it all: all the beautiful skin colours, genders, cultures, nationalities, geographic locations, interests, talents, visions, temperaments, styles, hairdos, and fashion choices that humanity has came up with so far.
Come to meet the teenage minds who will learn whatever you can do in no-time! Make them better than you! Let them shine!
Ready to dive in? Please introduce yourself to Marta, The Principal and come to see how it feels to mingle in with us at the Pearl Divers seminars. The seminars are online and open for everyone interested.