About us

Seasonal Neighbours examines the ongoing material and social transformations of cohabitation in contemporary rural areas.

The collective, based in the EU, brings together artists, designers, chefs, writers and architects whose practices touch on aspects of seasonality, temporary cohabitation, agricultural practices, cultural memory, and practices of belonging.

We share a methodology of learning-by-doing and strive for a practice of neighbouring*. The collaboration results predominantly in site-specific interventions, rituals, audiovisual works and other forms, engaging us with places and their inhabitants.

The collective regularly exchanges with other stakeholders, researchers, and organisations. For more information on our extensive network of friends and colleagues, please visit: Friends︎︎︎.

* Neighboring, some collective thoughts in development

a social negotiation
you cannot be a neighbor without the presence of an other
different than family, than friends
also between countries
you don’t choose your neighbours
about boundaries and thresholds
people, animals and plants
there is a distance
there are dependencies
a practice of caring together (like in Norway when a village displaces a barn together)

a methodology
inhabiting each others’ spaces
reassessing the living spaces
you build a relationship with something
actions that are not planned
the discomfort that comes with it
it has to do with presence
understanding needs
giving space

a question
the possibility of something like “fragmented neighboring”?
when constantly moving in and out of spaces
longing for a neighbour
rituals of arrival (washing the floor by hand as a practice of re-familiarizing)
seeking for knowledge about where you ‘land’
aspect of care - of prolonging a relationship (wood table maintenance)


House for Seasonal Neighbours, early exploration (2017-2018)

Seasonal Neighbours was founded in 2017 by Ciel Grommen. Her fascination for unusual forms of cohabitation led to a dialogue with Polish and Bulgarian seasonal workers in her hometown Borgloon; a group that makes up 1/5th of the population there in the summer. This personal experience, which started from working side-by-side during the fruit-picking season, was further explored in 2018. Together with Maximiliaan Royakkers, they realised the artistic intervention: “House for Seasonal Neighbours”, and with Dieter Leyssen academic research was explored on seasonal migration in Europe. 

Our Invisible Hands, a collective research endeavor (2021-2023)

In 2021, the coronavirus measurements made the dependency of our food markets on migrant labor painstakingly visible. Supported by z33, Maximiliaan and Ciel launched a call to artists, designers, and social scientists to join the research project.

An international 16-member group was formed consisting of Karolina Michalik (PL), Claire Chassot (FR/CH), Collectif dallas (Salomon and Camille) (FR/BE), Vanessa Brazeau (CA), Anastasia Eggers (GE/R), Mona Thijs (BE), Ewoud Vermote (BE), Ioana Lupașcu (RO), Ines Marita Schaerer (CH), Ode Windels (BE), Pia Jacques (BE), Yacinth Pos (NL), Jonathan de Maeyer (BE), Maximiliaan Royakkers (BE) and Ciel Grommen (BE). 

All participants started with a fieldwork experience as a seasonal laborer somewhere in an agricultural farm in Europe. A collective exchange of two years resulted in 11 different research trajectories that manifested in in-situ interventions around Flanders and the Netherlands.

All have been presented in "Our Invisible Hands" an exhibition in z33, center for art, design and architecture in Hasselt (Belgium) from January until April 2022, curated by Ils Huygens and Annelies Thoelen. 

Seasonal Matters Rural Relations, a diverse collective (2023-...)

Today Seasonal Neighbours functions as a hybrid collective, with many temporary collaborators and six active members. We continue to explore a practice of neighboring and elaborate the idea of (post)seasonality.

Projects still take place in Europe, connecting rural areas in West-, East- and South-Europe. We want to collaborate more intensively, combining our different approaches into new transdisciplinary projects.

The publication, "Seasonal Matters, Rural Relations", published by Onomatopee in June 2024 and edited by Ils Huyghens and Anastasia Eggers, draws connections between the different trajectories of “Our Invisible Hands” in a variety of graphic formats. Besides these, interviews and essays link them to interesting voices in the larger debate about the contemporary countryside. 




For our individual contacts, interests and backgrounds:


Seasonal Neighbours is made possible by the generous support of the Flemish Government, Z33 and Grensverleggers (scheme to support cultural collaborations between parties in Flanders, the Province of North Brabant, the Province of Limburg and the Province of Zeeland).

For the different trajectories we partner with organisations like Ar-Tur, Kunstenplatform PLAN B, Fransmansmuseum Koekelare, vrije radio Wellen, witloofmuseum Kampenhout, CC De Bogaard Sint-Truiden and we received the financial support of Vocatio Fund, the Creative Industries Fund NL and many crowdfunders...


Website updated in May 2024