11 — 20.05.2021

Akira Takayama Tokyo

McDonald’s Radio University

lecture — premiere

Place de la Bourse/Beursplein

French, Dutch, English | ⧖ ±15min | Free entrance | The live lectures on place de la Bourse/Beursplein are in open air

When talking to newcomers who had migrated to Europe via the Balkan Route, artist Akira Takayama became interested in the fact that – thanks to free Wi-Fi and phone charging possibilities as well as access to toilets – McDonald’s were seen as meeting points and places where information about the journey could be shared. This inspired him to develop McDonald’s Radio University, a project in which Takayama fulfils the utopian plan for a decentralized and mobile university, once designed by British architect Cedric Price. Takayama uses these plans to develop a model that passes on knowledge and enables training for people whose knowledge is not recognized in society (newcomers, people in precarious jobs, homeless people, etc.). In a ten days lecture series, “professors” deepen and expand the traditional academic canon of knowledge by drawing on their own life experiences and research interests. You are welcome in front of McDonald’s on Place de la Bourse/Beursplein for a series of live lectures by the professors. The recorded lectures are available at any other time, to be combined with a hamburger and drink.

  • 11.05, 19:00 Kinda Almaaz (English)
    Chimie – Chemistry as a matter of choice

    A young pharmacist shares her passion for chemistry and how she used it as a weapon during the Syrian Revolution to support displaced populations and their children.
  • 12.05, 19:00 Abdelkader Amoura (French)
    Etudes urbaines – Squatter, recycler, récupérer : 3 stratégies de survie en ville
    A life expert in unformal economy explains his surviving strategies in the city of Brussels and how he finds the resources to be more autonomous through squatting, food recovery and recycling.
  • 13.05, 19:00 Kevin Champt (Dutch)
    Gender Studies – Drag Queen Patient Zero
    An expert in drag culture and performance explains gender nonconformity and how to challenge fixed identities on stage and in life.
  • 14.05, 19:00 Barry Mamaddou Lamarana (French)
    Economie – Le développement économique et social

    From national planning to informal economies, from Guinea-Conakry to Belgium, a former economist analyses the (im)possibilities of contributing to the economic and social development of one's country.
  • 15.05, 19:00 Mohamed Almafrachi (French)
    Etudes culturelles – De l'Irak vers la Belgique: quelques différences culturelles en 5 blagues

    An Iraki actor questions some cultural stereotypes in 5 jokes that helped him through his journey from Baghdad to Brussels.
  • 16.05, 19:00 Fabienne (French)
    Anthropologie sociale – Le restaurant social

    An expert and regular of a social restaurant offers a guided tour of the place and explains the functioning of this refuge which "restores" human dignity and offers a bridge between the world of precariousness and the others.
  • 17.05, 19:00 Soniabyby Sona (French)
    Etudes familiales –
    L'arbre généalogique de Sonia: une histoire belgo-congolaise
    A Belgian-Congolese expert explains the procedures for the recognition of paternity from her own experience as a mixed-race woman, caught up in the post-colonial history of the DRC where she grew up.  
  • 18.05, 19:00 Fouzia Sadala (Dutch)
    Culturele antropologie – Wat betekent een “safe space” voor mensen van kleur in een witte universiteit

    Starting from a love story, a student of colour shares her vision on what a “safe space” within a white university could be and on how to find your own “chosen family”.
  • 19.05, 19:00 Kinda Almaaz (English)
    Chimie – Chemistry as a matter of choice

    A young pharmacist shares her passion for chemistry and how she used it as a weapon during the Syrian Revolution to support displaced populations and their children.
  • 20.05, 19:00 Hussein Alqawas (English)
    Swimming –
    The river as a teacher
    A young para swimmer from Iraq remembers how the Tigris river served as his teacher, letting him experience his disability as a strength and opening a path towards competition swimming and coaching for children with and without a handicap. 


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While theatres and museums have become ever louder in advocating the acceptance of refugees, multiple cultures and ethnicities are already cohabiting at McDonald’s. McDonald’s is not only a fast food restaurant, but also a place that welcomes immigrants and refugees as both customers and staff, and a location where many ethnicities, races, religions and ages of people coexist. McDonald’s is now being transformed into a “university”.

McDonald’s Radio University is a project that transforms branches of McDonald’s restaurant across a city into lecture spaces, creating a citywide university. The professors are immigrants or refugees who have had to leave their home countries, and people whose unique knowledge is not noticed. The students are “customers” who walk into a McDonald’s and order a lecture along with a burger and a coke.

Usually, the professors stationed in the store deliver their lectures via lapel mics, transmitting throughout the store. Students use portable radios and earphones distributed at the counter to tune into their lectures in real time. The recorded lectures are available at any other time, to be combined with a hamburger and drink.

The McDonald’s Radio University at Kunstenfestivaldesarts 2021 takes place in front of McDonald’s on Place de la Bourse / Beursplein. The professors are people living in Brussels. It offers 10-day live lecture series with those from Algeria, Congo, Egypt, Guinea, Syria, Iraq, and Belgium from 11th to 20th May 2021.

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts

Concept, Direction: Akira Takayama | Professors: Kinda Almaaz, Mohammed Almafrachi, Hussein Alqawas, Abdelkader Amoura, Barry Mamaddou Lamarana, Mustapha Saad, Soniabyby Sona, Fabienne, Kevin Champt, Fouzia Sadala | Dramaturgy: Flore Herman | Assistant Direction and production management: Saki Tanaka | Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, CIFAS - Centre international de Formation en Arts du Spectacle | In collaboration with: Cultureghem, DoucheFLUX, La Plateforme Citoyenne de l’Aide aux Réfugiés (BXL Refugees), Les Petits Riens | Thanks to: Radio Campus Bruxelles, Leslie Doumerc and Arthur Lacomme for their technical support | The project was premiered in 2017 at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and across seven McDonald’s stores in Frankfurt, Germany | McDonald’s Radio University is the project supported by the Friends of Kunstenfestivaldesarts in 2020

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