The “what” and the “where”
Started in 2016, the Telciu Summer School is an innovative educational experiment initiated by the Center for Modernity and the Rural World from Telciu, Northern Romania.
The school was a natural development from and completion of the international conferences organised in the Transylvanian village of Telciu, starting with 2012.
The summer school is organized outside of urban campuses in a village located in the vicinity of Maramureș, in the Sălăuța Valley, an area of Northern Romania that had been part of the historical region of ‘Nösnerland’ and the Austria-Hungarian Empire until 1918. Both Nösnerland and Maramures have complex historical and ethnographic identities due to their multiethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious characters. Similarly, they have been transformed by various processes of modernisation, urbanisation and ruralisation, rooting and uprooting across very different political and economic regime spanning capitalist parliamentarism and Stalinist developmentalism.
The Telciu Summer School aims to create a convivial meeting space between academics, artists, theorists, practitioners and activists on the one hand and the local community on the other hand. We hope to spark debates relevant to the concrete dilemmas and trade-offs faced by ordinary people whose livelihoods are shaped by the complex structures of dependent development in Europe’s Eastern capitalist periphery. In this regard, Telciu provides the summer school participants with a concrete setting for engaging with the issues raised by the lectures, workshops, art events that are part of the school.
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The conceptual framework of the summer school is eclectic and socially engaged. Anthropology, sociology, political economy, heterodox economics, decolonial and postcolonial studies , history, cinema and drama are deployed to make sense of peripheral realities obscured by conventional approaches and shape encounters with the real people living in Teciu and take seriously their local knowledge and practices. As such, the school is serious about the role and position of rural communities in the contemporary world and proposes a shift of emphasis from metropolitan projects of rural development towards approaches that view the rural world primarily as communities with a right to a dignified life. Rather than see village communities and their land asa realm of resources (natural resources, labour, etc.) and/or escapism., we hope to refocus attention to their role as a fragile source of sustainable socio-economic and cultural development.
In line with its socially engaged mandate, the school includes a series of community activities designed to bring guests and locals together in a dual-purpose learning exercise. For eight days, the academic courses and workshops are doubled/complemented by workshops dedicated to local and nearby students (theatre, introduction to documentary filmmaking, clay modeling, mural painting, narrative drawing). There will be political theatre performances, followed by discussions with the artists engaged with the local people and guest participants. Documentary and local children’s film screenings, book launches, meetings with contemporary writers and academics will be followed by heated discussions.
Artists in residence
Beginning with the 2017 edition, the summer schools includes two artists in residence for a month and a half. The residents are engaged in an art education project with the local and nearby students.
Most events will be in English. For the few Romanian language events the help of our friends from the Acasa collective from Cluj and their volunteers, we are able to provide headphone and subtitle translations.
The fun and the palate
Not everything will be a cerebral fest, however. This is also a very fun meeting of (mostly) very young people keen to hike through the area’s breathtaking landscapes, dance into the night, chat over feasts of fresh local food or simply kick back in the late summer sun by the local river or in the deep shadows of the valley’s dense and deep forests.
Fees and services
We have a unique and progressive policy on fees. Similar events, especially those held at the major European university campuses, involve prohibitive costs for a large number of potential participants, especially those from the Global South (in which we include Eastern Europe as well). To top it off, those summer schools have high accommodation and food costs.
Our response is to come up with the most affordable summer school out there without compromising on the variable that maters: the intellectual quality of the events.
Specifically, the lectures will be given by very accomplished academics whose reputations are above solid and seriously international but the fees do not cost an arm and a leg. Here is the progressive fee system we are talking about:
- 25 euros for Romanian college students
- 50 euros for students from countries with minimum wages below 1000 euros/month
- 100 euros for those in countries with minimum wages above 1000 euro/month.
The fees include free participation in all events, a tent site in a quiet camp provided by the local municipality and facilitating the rental of rooms in the homes of the locals at prices below those required by the the small hotels and bed and breakfasts in the village.
The local restaurants are partners in our project and offer superb local fare at unbeatable prices.
More details on these issues will come in the announcements published before each edition.
Apply now: Application Procedure