How can design, architecture, and art give valuable answers to societal challenges we meet today? Can design methods be applicable not only in the dense urban landscape, but also in the periphery, in remote communities in the sparsely populated north? What can young professionals from urban areas learn from each other, and from small and remote communities? With Un-Urban Experiments: Træna, we wish to invite you to a joint venture at the extraordinary landscape in the Norwegian archipelago. "Un-Urban Experiments" is a summer workshop that brings together students from New York and Scandinavia to work on a design challenge at the intersection of the urban and the "un-urban" in Træna, Norway, a village in the Arctic Circle.
Un-urban Experiments: Træna is a summer school gathering students from New York and Scandinavia to collaborate around concrete design issues focusing on contrasts between the urban and the un-urban in June 2018. We believe that young professionals from the fields of design, architecture, arts, and urbanism can enrich their understanding and broaden their perspectives by living and working alongside a real case study in this un-urban landscape.
The problem space will be site-specific and based primarily on local need and conditions, but open to the unexpected contributions that students from diverse backgrounds will bring. Co-led by faculty member Eric Forman, the project and process will be framed and focused as something relevant to many remote and peripheral communities in Scandinavia.
The program will be facilitated as a full-time workshop for three weeks, where the first two weeks are fixed and the third is an open process week, and culminates in public events including exposure to thousands of visitors to the Træna Festival, the most "spectacular music festival in the world."
The program dates are June 14 - July 2, 2018 (with an optional third week through July 8).
This program is an exciting and rare collaboration between the School of Visual Arts (New York), Umeå School of Architecture (Sweden), the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Norway), and the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture. The Municipality of Træna and the Træna Artist in Residence Program are hosting the program with financial support from the Norwegian Arts Council.
The workshop will focus on the contrasts between the urban and the non-urban landscape, and is designed to get deeper learning and cross-disciplinary training in the fields of art, architecture and design. In addition participants will learn from local, practical knowledge evolved over hundreds of years by the local inhabitants. It asks:
All-inclusive cost for the workshop: $4,000.
Students have the option to stay an extra week through July 8 for the Træna Festival. If they do, the extra week includes:
Træna is Norway’s third smallest municipality with only 500 inhabitants and one store, part of a cluster of islands off the far northwestern coast. Urbanization makes small communities in the outskirts very aware of the constant threat of de-population. Large cities are just as aware of the effects of urbanization, and the conflict between flourishing innovation environments and the challenges of over-population, social segregation, and environmental issues.
New York is in many ways its opposite, a compressed metropolis of 8 million and counting. In a world where the norm is now urban, the small and remote places far away from dense cities become exotic examples of a rural history. Norway, however, is a country where urbanization is slower, where gleaming modern cities like Oslo co-exist with the stunning wilderness that still fills the vast majority within its borders.
The long coastline of Norway still consists of hundreds of small but functioning communities, though all with a collective uncertainty about the future. This situation offers an unprecedented opportunity to explore how design, art, and architecture can work with communities to shape the future of these remote places.