The Design Campus summer program is a “School of Utopias”. It is a visionary design school set to explore complex problems, dream bold ideas, and collaboratively build new ways forward. Curated by a different Head of School each year, the curriculum will investigate a specific theme. The students and faculty will explore the research question through a series of workshops, lectures, talks, exhibits, and other public programs. The summer school will be a spring board for future projects in the museum, its environs, and its network.
Design & Democracy:
Renegotiating plurality, power and people
Amelie Klein, Vera Sacchetti
Democracy is under fire: by those who oppose it and by those who have exposed its limitations. The last elections in Europe and the Brexit Referendum have revealed the frailties within our democratic systems. However, the build up to and aftermath of the 2020 USA presidential election have further exposed a fractured system and a deeply divided civic culture. While there are many efforts underway to “heal” it, citizens no longer trust the political system and are retreating from engaging with it. And the system, which is shaped by design, has failed citizens.
The reasons for today’s political crises are as complex, convoluted, and multifarious as their multiple appearances. There is no doubt that design has contributed in multiple ways to the lack of trust in democracy we experience today, from poorly designed ballots causing confusion, to social media echo chambers influencing the distribution of information, and consequently, people's beliefs. Conversely, our current political crises have led policymakers and governmental advisory bodies to question the design and underlying mechanisms of our decision-making processes.
Paramount in these explorations is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) international Innovative Citizen Participation Network, which we have joined as members at the time of its foundation in 2019 and which has notably influenced our thinking about democratic processes and mechanisms. Composed of policymakers, activists, community organizers, members of government, professors and academics and, yes, designers, and design curators, the network explores the impact of deliberative processes in democratic settings all over the world. In our extremely polarized time, the promising approach of a deliberative democratic model, materializing in representative processes such as Citizens’ Assemblies or juries for public decision-making, can give citizens a more permanent and meaningful role in shaping the policies affecting their lives. In its analysis of more than three hundred international case-studies, the OECD has evaluated what a ‘successful’ process entails, developed good practice principles, and explored routes to institutionalizing citizen deliberation.
The use of deliberative processes recalls Classical Antiquity and the Renaissance, and has been used throughout history in a variety of scales, by top-down or bottom-up structures, grassroots movements, but has not been favored since the modern era. As we work across disciplines to question and dismantle the certainties in our present moment, it is important to consider alternatives to implemented systems and the potential of deliberative democratic methods, both of which can be explored and engaged with from a design perspective.
With this understanding, the inaugural summer school of the Design Campus will investigate the many connections between Design and Democracy. The six-week-long program will probe design and its involvement in democratic processes, exhibiting the social and political dimension of the discipline. Simultaneously, the program advocates a broader understanding of design, where the borders between disciplinary silos are blurred and design becomes a tool for translation and mediation. In this way, design is highlighted as an instrumental tool in the unravelling of democracy but also essential for its reconstitution.
With two workshops and several lectures per week, the program is created to explore diverse areas of overlap between design and democracy. Starting with an initial encounter and assessment of complex, multilayered systems formed by polities and policies in the first week, we explore how these can be designed and shaped in designerly ways. The program continues with an investigation of how power structures manifest in physical and virtual ways, both visible and invisible. We will explore issues of choice and empowerment, seeking to understand who gets to choose and why and delve into topics of activism and protest, exploring the myriad of ways to resist and change. The program then investigates matters of solidarity, both embodied and in innovative settings, and concludes with a week of reflection on documenting and archiving the knowledge we share today. Mentored by designers, architects, curators, writers, and other practitioners, participants in the summer school will ultimately sharpen tools which will enablethem to question, reevaluate, and redesign democracy from multiple perspectives.
The Summer School is set to take place in the Baroque Pillnitz Palace, an idyllic estate with an extensive garden next to the Elbe river, in the outskirts of Dresden, Germany. Once the home of mistresses, and later summer residence, of the Saxon royals, the holding is an ensemble of three individual palaces one of which, the Riverside Palace where the workshops take place, is celebrating its 300th anniversary this summer. However, the beauty of the architecture and landscaping shouldn’t divert from the historical realities which enabled such splendor. As Europe’s largest chinoiserie palace complex it is a testament of the continent’s colonial past and its rise to power and wealth at the dire expense of the rest of the world. And even Europe’s population suffered in the wake of a historical meeting at the palace. In August 1791, Frederick William II of Prussia and the Emperor Leopold II of Austria issued the Declaration of Pillnitz declaring their joint support for King Louis XVI of France against the French Revolution, which would ultimately result in slowing the rise of political enfranchisement in Europe. Thus the historical grounds of Pillnitz Palace give cause in multiple ways for scrutinizing the delicate interconnections of people, power and plurality.
Participants in the 2021 Summer School Design and Democracy will have the chance to work with practitioners and educators from all over the world, who have diverse backgrounds but all share the willingness to engage with the trouble of our current times. To ensure a diverse set of opinions, backgrounds, and voices, a scholarship scheme has been established with the Design Campus to break barriers in access for the summer school. Workshop tutors include architects and critical spatial practitioners; designers and design educators; policymakers and urban thinkers; artists and activists. All work in different constellations and across disciplines in a variety of capacities. Together, we will work to question and dissect what is. We will go forward to formulate and test proposals and alternatives for what can be.
AMELIE KLEIN is an independent design curator, writer, and critic. Currently, she is working on an exhibition called Heimaten, scheduled to open in June 2021 at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg.
Until July 2019, she was a curator at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, where she was responsible for numerous international traveling exhibitions such as Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design, Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine and Making Africa — A Continent of Contemporary Design. In 2015 and 2017, Klein was nominated by the German magazine art for their Curator Prize, awarded for the best exhibition in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. She received the Richard Schlagman Art Book Award for the exhibition catalogue Victor Papanek: The Politics Of Design. She completed an MFAin Design Criticism at New York’s School of Visual Arts and holds an MBA from the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria. For over ten years, Klein worked as an editor and journalist publishing a variety of articles in Die Presse, Abitare, and Metropolis, among others. She is a member of the OECD’s Innovative Citizen Participation Network.
VERA SACCHETTI is a Basel-based design critic and curator. She serves in a variety of curatorial, research, and editorial roles, most recently as program coordinator for the multidisciplinary research initiative Driving the Human (2020−2023) and curator of the initial edition of architecture festival Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse (2021).
She is co-curator of TEOK Basel and one half of the curatorial initiative Foreign Legion. Sacchetti was associate curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, A School of Schools, curatorial advisor for the BIO50 Biennial of Design in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and, as part of editorial consultancy Superscript, headed the “Towards a New Avant-Garde” event series at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. She has recently edited Design as a Tool for Transition: The Atelier Luma Approach and Design As Learning: A School of Schools Reader. Her writing has appeared in Disegno, Metropolis, and The Avery Review, among others. Sacchetti teaches at ETH Zurich and HEAD Geneva, and in 2020 joined the Federal Design Commission of Switzerland. She is a member of the OECD’s Innovative Citizen Participation Network.
- Gabriella Gomez-Mont (MX)
- Studiolow – Héloïse Charital and Ismaël Rifaï (FR)
- Amelie Klein (AT)
- Vera Sacchetti (PT)
- Nina Paim (BR)
Design Campus Summer School AT A GLANCE
The Summer School comprises of 1-week long workshops, guest lectures, guided tours and other fun activities for the duration of 6-weeks. Check out the program here.
- Have a demonstrably interest in changing the world through design
- Have a good level of English
- Be 18 years or over
Be curious, restless, dreamer of better places, creative, fearless, social, collaborative, interested, engaged, inquisitive, designer, architect, artist, scientist, curator, journalist, engineer, developer, photographer, filmmaker, skilled students, recent graduates or young-professionals, open-minded people: welcome!
The completion of the online application form and submission of extra-materials are required.
Tuition: € 780,– Application Deadline 30.06.21
SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID
We encourage participants from all backgrounds to apply.
50% off regular price – € 390,– Application Deadline 15.06.21
75% off regular price – € 195,– Application Deadline 15.06.21
Diverse Vision Scholarships
75% off regular price – € 195,– Application Deadline 15.06.21
Tuition fee includes:
- 1 week workshop
- 1 week accommodation
- 1 week boarding/food
- Travel expenses
- Health Insurance
- Visa fees
- Any extra costs incurring from your stay (trips, transfers or other activities not included in the Summer School programme, including fines resulting from breaches of the law, damage to others and accidents. You must be insured).
Successful applicants will be contacted directly by E-Mail to proceed with enrollment and tuition payment.
Address: Schloss Pillnitz, August-Böckstiegel-Straße 2, 01326 Dresden.
There are two public (paid) parking facilities at Pillnitz Palace. The dormitory and the premises of the Design Campus in Pillnitz Palace are both within walking distance from the parking facilities.
We recommend arriving at the Design Campus by train via Dresden-Neustadt station or Dresden main station. The Design Campus in Pillnitz Palace can be reached from Dresden city centre at any time by public transport (bus stop “Pillnitzer Platz”).
The closest airports to the Design Campus are Dresden Airport (45 min), Leipzig Airport (1,5 h), Prague Airport (2 h) or Berlin Airport (2,5 h). From all airports there are connections to Dresden by public transport (train, bus).
Check-in & Workshops
Check-in is possible on Sunday afternoon from 3 pm to 9 pm. On Sunday evening there will be a small welcome event for all participants.
The workshops will begin on Monday morning, after a guided tour of the grounds of Pillnitz Palace and Park and the Green Forum.
After the tutors' introductions to their topics, the workshops begins. The schedule for the week is determined by the tutors, together with their participants.
During free periods, the extensive area around Pillnitz Palace and Park in Pillnitz is perfect for jogging and hiking in the vineyards or along the river Elbe. Day trips to the baroque city of Dresden or to the national park Saxon Switzerland are possible.
During the week there are a number of evening social events and on Friday a closing party.
Departure & Check-out
All courses end on Saturday, after breakfast. Check-out from the dormitory is 1 pm and departure is organized by the individual.
Your stay at the Design Campus
The participants are accommodated in the dormitory of the Green Forum, an association of institutions dealing with the topic of ecology.
A single room with private bathroom (toilet/shower) in the fully modern dormitory, which was renovated in 2020 is available for each particpant. The dormitory has free wifi and is only a five minute walk along the river Elbe to the Design Campus in the museum rooms in Pillnitz Palace.
The dormitory and its premises offer many leisure activities, including a gym, sports court, bar, table tennis and are located at near local vineyards.
Double rooms are also available on request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A washing machine or laundry service is not available.
The day begins at 8.30 am with a breakfast buffet with fresh bread from the local bakery Wippler, cheese, cereals, juices, and coffee and tea at Pillnitz Palace.
Lunch is at 1 pm and consists of a changing and individually determinable selection of cold or hot dishes prepared from local and sustainable ingredients.
Coffee, tea and some cookies or cakes are served around 4 pm.
Evening meals consist of salads, a main course, and a dessert. On certain occasions we will also offer cooking events or barbecue. This will be accompanied by lemonades and water. Individually can also order wine or beer. Our onsite bar only accepts cash payments.
The daily group meals provide all participants and tutors with a place to socialise and communicate outside the constraints of the workshop environment. All meals are vegetarian. We are happy to accommodate vegan needs.
During warm weather we will eat outside, on the terrace of the castle park, taking advantage of the beauty which surrounds Pillnitz Palace. During inclement weather, we will eat in the side wing of our premises in Pillnitz Palace.
Our cuisine is managed by a local caterer. We are happy to accommodate any individual dietary requirements, please let us know about food allergies and special diets in advance at email@example.com.
WHAT TO BRING
Bed linen is provided by the dormitory. However, we ask you to bring your own towels. The climate in Dresden is very stable, warm in midsummer, but sometimes, it does rain.
A personal first-aid kit is also recommended. However, a pharmacy is available in town if needed and can be reached on foot. If you are allergic to pollen, please bring your allergy medication.
For daily need there is a supermarket in Dresden-Pillnitz within walking distance.
IMPORTANT INSURANCES & MEDICAL ISSUES
Each participant is responsible for obtaining adequate insurance coverage for the duration of the workshop: Accident, liability, and medical insurance for travel abroad, including return transportation to your home country (evacuation), as well as theft insurance for your personal belongings.
If you have any food or general allergies, please inform us in advance via firstname.lastname@example.org
We are very excited that we will finally meet and have the workshops in real life. The vaccination rollout is at a steady pace. Most of our team have been vaccinated already. The severe travel bans and lockdowns have been lifted. We are working within all the hygiene and safety measures recommended by the government for cultural institutions.
In general, restrictions are still in place due to COVID-19, including the possibility of quarantine depending on the country you are entering Germany from. A reduction of quarantine is possible upon presentation of a negative COVID test, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from COVID.
Entry in Germany is possible without restrictions from:
- EU member states
- States associated with Schengen: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- Other countries, considered “No Risk Areas”, at the moment this newsletter was written, are Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand
Everybody arriving by plane, independent from which country of departure, must register here. Before planning your trip, please check how the German health authorities classify your country/area of departure. A regularly updated list of countries considered “areas of risk” can be found here.
To ensure every person involved in the Summer School is and feels safe; we adopted Summer School specific measures, including:
- We made sure that our workshop areas are ample and open, with plenty of ventilation.
- We will enjoy most of our meals outdoors, weather permitting.
- The School will offer free tests twice a week on site. Plus, there are more opportunities for free testing around Pillnitz and Dresden available to everyone.
- The use of masks are mandatory in public transports and spaces where it is not possible to keep up the designated distance
- We saved the best for last! Everyone coming to the School, as a participant or Tutor, will get a single room. And accommodation is on us! There is even more: with an almost insane level of hygiene, we will rotate the occupied rooms every other week. Meaning, if a series of rooms are occupied on week 1, in week 2, these rooms will not be in use. The participants of week 2 will be in completely different rooms. Meanwhile, the week 1 rooms will be vacant, ventilated and spotlessly cleaned, waiting for the participants from week 3 to come. And we will continue to do so till week 6. How cool is that?
Should you have any further questions, please contact us in advance via email@example.com
JOIN OUR TEAM!
Do you want to extend your experience at the Design Campus Summer School? Come spend three full weeks with us as a volunteer!
Application from 01.06.2021 to 31.06.2021
- Free of charge/ Skill Exchange
- 2 weeks volunteer + 1-week workshop participation
We are currently searching for:
We are looking for people who can help set up the event, register participants, pick up tutors/ lecturers, guide visitors and assist during the workshops.
- We are looking for passionate and committed people capable of fostering a feeling of community with fellow staff members, participants and designers
- Responsibilities vary but may include: set up the event, register participants, pick up tutors/ lecturers, guide visitors, assist during the workshops, set up meeting room functions, etc.
We are looking for people who can help document and communicate what is going on at the Design Campus.
- Graphic designers, photographers, video-makers, social media ninjas, bloggers and community journalists, welcome!
Let us know in your application which job you want to assist with:
- As a graphic designers, you will be involved in designing online assets for our channels, as well as contributing to the Design Campus’ Instagram account.
- As a photographers/video-makers, you will take photos of the space, take portrait shots and photos for the official Design Campus’ website, as well as participate in fun content creation sessions for our social media channels. It would be best if you had professional experience in photo-video documentation.
- As a writer, you will report on the Design Campus activities and cover the most interesting stories, including interviewing international designers and getting to know the participants of the Summer School through their experience. The content created will be published online and possibly in print later.
WHAT WE ASK FOR
- Event and design lovers
- Positive attitude and commitment
- Collaborative spirit
- Fluent in spoken English
- Over 18 years old
- Availability for 2 weeks of assistance
- Flexible schedule
- Permission to work in Germany
WHAT DO WE OFFER YOU?
- Work directly with the Design Campus team
- 3 weeks of delicious, catered food + accommodation
- A 1-week workshop in the Summer School
- Access to all lectures during your stay
- Plenty of international networking opportunities
- Weekly parties and fun activities with the Summer School participants
- You will join the first-ever School of Utopias
This is a voluntary position.
Get in touch! We will be checking our email firstname.lastname@example.org for your application!
Please, send us: Your CV (1-page) and Portfolio (link to your online portfolio or PDF max 5MB). Plus, let us know in a short text (max 200w) or 1min video why you want to be part of our team and if you work in Germany.
We are looking forward to welcoming you to the Design Campus team this summer.