Wastelands: XXXII European Architecture Students Assembly
Wastelands: XXXII European Architecture Students Assembly trailer film
In the summer of 2012 up to 500 young, emerging architects and artists from over 50 countries around Europe and beyond gathered up in the World Design Capital of the year, in the city of Helsinki, to take part in a 2-week festival of workshops, lectures, social interaction and monumental experiences. The concept of this annual, pioneering summer-assembly was established in Liverpool in 1981 by local students, determined of organizing and event which would later on revolutionize the international scene of young European architects.
European Architecture Students Assembly (EASA) is the only network of its kind in Europe and is fundamentally different to all other student architecture organizations around the world. Fundamentally EASA is a network of students, by students, for students, there is no central organization or board, no standing affiliation with any external establishment exist. There are over 40 countries that cover the whole of the continent’s student population, each of these have two National Contacts (NCs), whose role is to promote the network within their country’s student population and be the link between individual students and the other countries in the network.
In theory every European student of architecture is part of EASA and is connected to the network through their National Contact (NC). These NCs come together once a year at the INCM (Intermediate National Contacts Meeting), typically in October, to discuss any issues that are facing the network and to choose the venue for the following INCM and EASA summer event.
The most striking feature of these meetings is that there is never a vote on major decisions; rather all decisions must be reached by way of the consensus of those present. EASA is founded on the basis of all decisions being agreed on by consensus; consensus means that issues are discussed until everyone involved in the debate is satisfied and agrees on one course of action. Due to the expansion of Europe there are now more nations involved in EASA meaning debates can include up to 100 people and therefore can run for hours. Because of this consensus is now mostly reserved for more significant decisions such as changes to the guide and future locations of EASA events.
Another defining characteristic of EASA is its non-political stand point. This allows for greater cooperation in possibly unexpected ways, for example 2008’s applicants from Northern Ireland applied for participation through the Irish quota. Another unlikely link up occurred with the organization of the 2008 INCM when students from either side of the divided island of Cyprus collaborated to host the meetings, partly in the no-man’s-land that physically divides the Island.
The 32. consecutive European Architecture Students Assembly took place in Suvilahti, a former power production area transformed into a cultural centre, in the eastern core of downtown Helsinki, Finland, following the footsteps of previous summer assemblies by blending three decades of EASA tradition with the unique elements of the host location, leading to innovations and surprises. As ever the assembly centred on workshops, investigating and interpreting the theme and the name of the assembly, which this year was Wastelands.
Suvilahti 15 August 2010 – Photo by Jouni Saarelainen
Participants attended world class lectures by leading thinkers in fields related to architecture, design, branding, urbanism and more, along with debates and events designed to augment the impact of the theme and the experiences of the event. Importantly, the aim of Wastelands: XXXII European Architecture Students Assembly was to relate to the wider public. Throughout the assembly specially arranged events provided public access and interaction with the most creative and exciting event of its kind and scale in the entire world, in the focal point of all design-oriented professions during that time; in the World Design Capital 2012 Helsinki, Finland.
More information about the EASA-concept can be found e.g. in Wikipedia and in the new European Architecture Students Assembly web-platform at easa.x42.at.
How to participate?
To attend the two-week event, you must contact your local EASA-contacts (National Contact, NC, list found on the bottom of this page) and persuade them to select you as one of the representatives of your country attending the festival this year. Below you can find the ‘Wastelands: XXXII European Architecture Students Assembly Participants Pack’ -publication, along with all the general information regarding participation and the concept of the event itself.
The deadline for the National Contacts to send all the application forms to the Wastelands-organizers in one package was 19th March 2012, hence each country had an application deadline for participants prior to that date, varying in each country. Contact the NC of your country to find out more about your country and possible extra places. Direct applications to Wastelands-organizers can’t be accepted. Those applicants who get selected as participants, must fill the Wastelands: XXXII European Architecture Students Assembly Application Form and send it to their respective National Contacts.
Wastelands Participants pack
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
Basically all students are welcome to participate in EASA, but the priority is always for architecture students. You can also participate as a young professional even if you have already graduated.
Co:Dec Workshop, EASA007, Elefsina, Greece
MUST I BE A MEMBER OF EASA TO PARTICIPATE? SHOULD I TALK TO A PROFESSOR FOR A RECOMMENDATION?
EASA is a practical network for communication, meeting and exchange; architecture students can discuss their ideas, work together and exchange their experiences concerning architecture, education or life in general. EASA has no standing connections with professors, academic bodies or professional bodies. You don’t need to register to an organization, association or company or pay a periodic fee. If you want to get involved, contact the EASA representative – the National Contact or NC – of your country.
MUST I SPEAK ENGLISH EXCELLENTLY TO PARTICIPATE?
The official language of the assembly is English, and participants should speak English at a certain level (however not necessarily excellently) to be able to communicate and connect effectively with people. People who can’t speak reasonable English will most likely be bored and struggle to get the best out of the event.
HOW MUCH WILL I PAY TO PARTICIPATE AND WHAT DOES THIS FEE COVER?
There is a fee to attend EASA. To encourage diversity and a wide range of attendees, participants from different countries pay a different percentage of this fee based on the economic situation of their country. The fee includes accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, workshops, lectures, debates and parties for two weeks. You must cover your own travel and visa expenses, but the organizers will issue you an official letter of information if a visa is required.
To lower expenses, assisting the organizers, make people more active on-site and keeping up EASA spirit, participants are expected to attend day-to-day duties relating to the upkeep of the location and the well-being of the participants. Every country is assigned two or three duties over the course of the assembly: these are never tiring and hard, and some are even fun, especially the binman duties, as the Finnish participants in EASA010 certify.
WHERE DO THE PARTICIPANTS ACCOMMODATE DURING THESE TWO WEEKS? HOW ARE THE CONDITIONS AT THE CAMPSITE?
EASA is decidedly a no frills operation, wherever it is held. Participants generally sleep communally with little privacy and are expected to bring their own sleeping bags and ground mats. While it may not be always the most comfortable of set-ups, the communal spirit more than makes up for it. Showers and toilets are generally basic; there may arise some problems with e.g. hot water combined with hundreds of people, however this shouldn’t become an issue this year. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided by the organizers. Participants are required to bring their own knives, forks, plates and cups. Food is sourced locally and vegetarians are catered for. Dinner is a communal activity, where participants can catch up with each other and exchange news.
WHAT SHOULD/SHOULDN’T I EXPECT FROM THE ASSEMBLY?
One truth is that EASA will not make you a drastically better architect or significantly benefit you academically over the two week period. However, it will allow you to participate in experimental workshops which you may not otherwise get the chance to in your academic year. You’ll also meet an amazing range of people with hugely different personalities and from hugely different backgrounds with whom you share at least two important links: an interest in architecture, and an interest in better understanding other cultures.
IS EASA JUST A WORKSHOP, OR SEVERAL WORKSHOPS? OR WHAT DOES EASA INCLUDE?
As a participant, you are required to join a workshop within the first two days of the assembly. Workshops are run by the tutors who propose them to the organizers, and it is the organizers who decide which workshops will go ahead. Participants are expected to work with their tutor for at least six to eight hours every day. Some workshops are very collaborative, others are more instructive; it depends on both the tutor’s personality and the type of workshop.
The organizers will arrange a series of lectures from architects, designers and professionals from related disciplines. These magnificent lectures will relate either to the theme Wastelands, or to architecture, culture, design, arts, or whatever exciting topic to educate and entertain the crowd. Participants are strongly urged to attend, listen, question, get inspired and to think!
Debates, conversations and arguments – formal and informal – are important to the continuing spirit of EASA. An exhibition showing the outcomes of the workshops is vital to the presentation of EASA to sponsors and the public. Each workshop should finish on time and the participants should assist the tutor in assembling a final exhibition presentation. Obviously this is to everyone’s advantage, as a strong final presentation can be used in your portfolio.
Parties and enjoyment form huge and essential elements of the EASA experience. Parties may last for extended periods of time, and sleep isn’t always very high on the agenda. Events take place both on-site and off-site, inside and outside, and the variety and intensity make them one of the main draws to EASA. The EASA spirit isn’t merely academic, it’s a massive social and entertaining experience.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL EASA-REPRESENTATIVE TO APPLY AS A PARTICIPANT IN EASA012. THE NATIONAL CONTACTS OF EACH COUNTRY CAN BE FOUND ON THE FOLLOWING LIST (COUNTRIES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER):