Fall Semester
September 16 – December 16, 2020
Ocean Space, Venice


Ocean / Uni is the first articulation of a pedagogic project in which thinking with the oceans aims to complement and enhance land-based understanding of the Earth. The aim of the Curriculum is to provide students, researchers, and the public with wide-ranging and accessible explorations of the changes taking place throughout the oceans at a high level of expertise. The proposed format of study is centered around biweekly sessions to take place at Ocean Space in Venice, in conjunction with the exhibition Territorial Agency: Oceans in Transformation, and online on Ocean Archive between 16th September and 16th December 2020. These sessions are open to a core group of students, present in the space; a selected group of pre-registered public participants; other university groups, connected via zoom; and moderators (guests) both on- and offsite.

During the past months, and in anticipation of the postponed opening of Ocean Space, specialists have been recruited across several fields and geographic contexts – from anthropology, policy, geology, glaciology, political ecology, the arts, humanities, art history, architecture and many other spheres. Their presentations have been curated and elaborated to respond to one another, such that an interwoven and transdisciplinary polylogue emerges. Leading towards a novel oceanic Curriculum, this conversational teaching method manifests the interplay and situatedness of the urgent concerns that drive so much oceanic scholarship. It also illuminates processes of theoretization and thought-in-action emerging from the nascent world(s) of wet, blue and watery oceanic studies. 

It is urgent to figure possibilities for the oceans to become a space of engagement, that bridges difference and offers channels for modes of witnessing and transacting, of call and response, and of learning from each other. A dedicated oceanic initiative has important implications for a pedagogic practice: it needs to address post-materialist and post-humanist concerns while engaging with questions of social justice and technological innovation. It must apply knowledge of Earth system sciences to understand deep marine and maritime histories and futures. And it must acknowledge the many ways in which people who live coastally, on islands, in ice landscapes, and with the seas possess standing rights and forms of deep knowledges – thus raising the ethical and political stakes in the face of environmental degradation.


The Curriculum casts a wide net of voices from different spheres of knowledge engaging with the oceans. Over the course of informal online assemblies held between April and July 2020, a group of artists, scientists, and ocean thinkers supported TBA21–Academy Ocean Fellows’ coalitional efforts to untangle the social relations, deep histories, and political, juridical, and economic discourses connected to the flows and currents of the oceans’ many waters. The resulting material is assembled in this biweekly curriculum, unfolding over a period of 13 weeks. 

The research is articulated along seven oceanic trajectories conceptualized and visualized by Territorial Agency. These trajectory-based investigations have been further developed around a standard format: various curatorial teams convened a group of practitioners around a defined topic and asked each participant to summarize his/her position in a 20 minute presentation, while responding to other presenters and the issues at hand. Some of these conversational presentations have been lightly edited, footnoted, and referenced through additional readings. 

The series explores the question of how the oceans can be part of our lives and academic projects in significant and meaningful ethical and political ways. Seeking to understand the transformation of the oceans is to ask: What histories and practices are connected to the oceanic, and how do they help us to understand the current planetary crisis? How to situate our thinking within the ocean rather than from scholarly or distanced positions that aim to turn the ocean and its waters into objects of research? What is our understanding of the relationships between land and water, and what do we learn from integrating indigenous, decolonial, Africana, posthumanist, hydrofeminist, and scientific approaches and interventions in a relational pedagogic project?


The program is intended for adults from any background and eager to engage in ecological, political, aesthetic, ethical, and scientific conversations around the futures of the oceans. Lectures will be held exclusively in English, so a good listening and speaking level is recommended to ensure a meaningful learning experience. 

The curriculum is open to:

University students (BA, MA, and further) from different disciplines and fields of study (Art and Architecture, Literature, Social Sciences, Cultural Studies, Marine Sciences, Environmental Studies, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Law, Political Science), selected across several partnering universities. The core group of participating students, together with participants from the public, will attend and engage in conversations, exploration, and analysis on the transformations at stake in the Anthropocene Oceans.

Anyone with an interest in deepening their knowledge, understanding, and experience of the research topics unfolded in the exhibition Territorial Agency: Oceans in Transformation. 

For the attendance in-situ and in the webinar format participants are required to register.

Due to limited capacity applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. You are welcome to register in advance for more than one session.
Form for participation online here
Ocean Space  and online on Zoom and on Ocean-Archive.org 
Most lectures involve screenings of pre-recorded sessions, with in-situ moderation at Ocean Space and Zoom participants.

SESSION 1 - Wed 16 Sep 2020
Introduction: Methodology, Data Sets, and the Sensible Zone

With: Territorial Agency, Daniela Zyman, and Markus Reymann Astrida Neimanis, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Nancy Knowlton, Joe Riley, Fiona Middleton, Vicki Ferrini

SESSION 2 - Wed 30 Sep 2020
North Sea to Red Sea, Revisiting the “longue durée” of the Mediterranean

With: Territorial Agency, Shaul Bassi, Georg Umgiesser, Alessandra di Maio, Invernomuto 

SESSION 3 - Wed 14 Oct, 2020
Aquapolitics along the Gulf Stream

With: John Palmesino, Anne McClintock, Jamie Allen, Britt Kramvig, Andrea Storto

SESSION 4 - Wed 28 Oct, 2020 
Equatorial Pacific: Pacific Futures

With: John Palmesino, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Jaimey Hamilton Faris, Joe Riley, Sophie Chao. 

SESSION 5 - Wed 11 Nov, 2020
Mid Atlantic: Mnemonic Oceans: Monsoons, Memory, And Atlantic Movements 

With: John Palmesino, Donna Kukama, Jeremiah Ikongio, Zakkiyah Iman Jackson, Palin Ansusinha (Ghost in the Field), Nchongayi Christantus Begealawuh. 

SESSION 6 - Wed 25 Nov, 2020
Indian Ocean Gyre: Ecosystems in Transformation

With: John Palmesino, Himali Singh Soin, Debjani Bhattacharyya, Marina Tabassum, Shaina Anand, Barbara Casavecchia, Alexandra Boghosian, Pietro Consolandi and Fiona Middleton. 

SESSION 7 - Wed 2 Dec, 2020
Metropolitan Asia: Cities-to-come in Metropolitan Asia
With: John Palmesino, Andrés Jaque, Alvin Li and Julian Junyuan Feng, 
Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina, Elisa Giuliano, Jeanne Penjan Lassus.  

SESSION 8 - Wed 16 Dec, 2020
The Humboldt Current: Protecting the Commons
With: John Palmesino, Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz, Sandor Mulsow, Camila Marambio, Jeanne Penjan Lassus.