Manifest voor Winterslag Cité

Identity is not an obvious aspect for the multicultural and relatively young community of Winterslag (Genk, BE). The allochtonous youth is confronted with problems in its search for identity. The bond that once existed between miners fades away over time. Therefore, the present project aims at visualising the complex and multilayered idea of identity through a number of social-graphic projects. Visualising and idealising Winterslag Cité is a possibility to call attention to the unique history and identity of the local community. In the end, this might stimulate the diminished social cohesion.

The result of this study is a manifesto that is published by a fictional citizens movement that is trying to revive the strong sense of solidarity among the residents. Next to a rousing text (set in a new ‘hybrid’ alphabet), the manifesto contains the results of the social-graphic projects that each researched themes like geography, language, environment and history through a co-created personal map, a new flag and multiple photo-ethnographies among others. The manifesto takes form as a newspaper with take-out pages that also serve as posters calling on everyone to come together and carry out their pride for their community and joint identity.

— Exhibited at Conflict & Design, 7th Triennial for Design in Flanders, at C-mine, Genk. From December 15th, 2013 until March 9th, 2014.
— Part of the exhibition 'WTS' shown at the COALFACE Gallery in Winterslag from December 17th, 2010 till February 13th, 2011.

'WTS' exhibition at COALFACE-gallery

Niek Kosten is a design researcher, teacher and independent graphic designer from Belgium.

He is part of the research group Social Spaces (LUCA School of Arts) where he is currently working on his PhD. At LUCA School of Arts – Campus C-mine in Genk, Kosten teaches in the fields of critical design, public space and graphic design at the Interaction Design & Game Design program. He is also co-founder of KOPIJ, a graphic workspace in Hasselt and creates self-initiated and commissioned works that critically explore societal issues as an independent designer.