Call for Applicants: Test Unit Summer School
InterviewBy Neon Moiré •
The fourth in our summer school serie is: Test-Unit an art, design and architecture summer school organized by Agile City. Agile City is a platform for research and events exploring grass-roots approaches to city development. We talked to Helen Teeling about creating Test Unit which is from 3 – 7 July 2016. Participants are invited to apply until Monday 6 June, 10am.
Why are you organizing Test Unit?
est Unit has been designed and developed as a response to the huge amount of talking and consultation that takes place within the urban development process. We wanted to create something as an antidote to this and create a programme that's very much focussed on making and doing.
Throughout Test Unit we will:
Prototype ideas in public space to inform urban development
Build knowledge and skills for participants to initiate future grass-roots projects
Place culture, people and education at the heart of regeneration
How did you create the research questions for this edition?
The area of Speirs Locks in north Glasgow where Test Unit will be based for 2016 has undergone a lot of public consultations and workshops, yet activity is slow. While there is a value to this idea generation and data gathering, we're keen to convert discussions into tangible activities. Our aim is to transfer a derelict site into an active and animated place that creates opportunities to live, work, play and engages with the area‘s development. The work generated by participants in this week-long programme will be a direct response to the conditions of the site but will also seek to address wider themes of the area including; settlement, identity, connectivity, productivity and programme.
Can you give a sense of what a typical summer school day is like?
On day one all participants will build a temporary structure that will be used as the hub for the week’s activities and events.
Following the collective build, all participants will divide into four groups with each group tackling a different aspect of the site and the city. The groups will be led by creative practitioners from the fields of art, design, architecture and education (detailed below) working to realize their designs and interventions. The week culminates with a public showcase of these projects. and there will be workshops and guest reviews from specialists and people speaking in the events programme. Facilitators are: Lee Ivett, Neil McGuire, Rebecca Davies and Kate Darby.
What do I have to do to get accepted?
A simple application process that involves telling us a bit about you and your background and providing some contact details.
What do you want your students to take home after they participate Test Unit?
Test Unit is all about active learning. We aim to create a non-hierarchical learning environment with everyone encouraged to set the agenda and use the act of making to communicate their own response to people and place.
What are you most proud of or excited about if you look at the Test Unit program?
We're really exited about the facilitators and speakers! There's a strong mix of individuals and organisations who are really pushing at the boundaries of architecture and urban development. Participants will get to hear from and work with mentors and facilitators who'll be sharing some radical thinking from across Europe.
We're also really excited to be exploring the connection between grassroots activity and strategic urban development – how can Test Unit as a process start to inform how the city is developed? It's really important that we partnered with private and public developers to ensure that all the work generated throughout the week exists in a real and 'live' context.
Neon Moiré looks forward to see the results of the collective build and to the talk by Kristian Koreman from ZUS, Rotterdam on 'prototyping public space'.