The international design lab reimagine your city is a two-year (2022-2023) educational program for 100 multidisciplinary professionals residing in Georgia, Poland, Ukraine, and Germany. It aims at youth empowerment and participation in the socio-cultural transformation of the neighborhoods via interactive digital and creative practices.
The hybrid program begins on November 2, 2022, with a 5-week research module, design masterclasses, an offline winter school in Berlin, extensive group work, and grants for the implementation of small-scale projects, ending with a summer school in Georgia in the summer of 2023. The work is organised in groups of 25 interdisciplinary participants from the fields of youth work, design, architecture, urban design, art, sociology, activism, journalism, cultural studies, and other related areas. The start of webinars: 16:00 CET, on weekdays, approx. duration of 1,5 hours. The working schedule during the first module is not fixed and will be arranged with a mentor.

international design lab

quick facts

PARTICIPANT'S PROFILES: Professionals (from 18 y/o) from the fields of youth work, design, architecture, urban design, art, sociology, activism, journalism, cultural studies, and other related fields
MENTORS: Nutsa Lomsadze/TAB, Mauricio Sosa Noreña/Designer, Veronica Andres / Designer, Laura Sobral / The City Needs You Institute
DURATION: November 2, 2022 — September 3, 2023
BENEFITS: Multidisciplinary work in international teams, hands-on experience, support for implementation of local projects, participation in offline events: winter school in Berlin (December 2022) & summer school in Georgia (August 2023)
NO FEES. The program covers expenses during offline educational activities. Offers grants for realisation
PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES:
Germany, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine
THE PROGRAM CONSISTS OF FIVE PHASES: Module 1; Module 2; Winter School; Realisation of participants' projects; Summer School
APPLICATION DEADLINE: October 2, 2022
STAGES: Research, practice, analysis
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 100
LANGUAGE: English
Young people are one of the most important target groups and actors of civil society. According to UNICEF, 70% of young people will live in urban areas by 2050. However, these places are not always adapted to their diverse needs and are not accessible to everyone. Many residents, particularly young people, and new residents, often fail to identify themselves with the districts and are not interested in the further development of their living places. As a result, they are not actively involved in decision-making processes, and their needs are weakly represented at the political and public levels. In the Eastern European partner countries, this situation is further complicated by government restrictions and the lack of resources and related projects.

The topic of youth participation gets even greater relevance in light of the current escalation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to UNHCR (30 Aug 2022), over 7 million people, primarily women and children, have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the war. They are currently facing the need to adapt to the new context of living in different communities, including various cities in Poland, Germany, and Georgia. This shows that the necessity to identify oneself with a living place and develop a sense of belonging is also essential for new residents. Creative and artistic projects might therefore become practical tools to connect them with other young people, promote active citizenship and help them engage in creating a shared vision for their districts and cities. Besides that, using creative tools might help overcome language and accessibility barriers.

At the same time, many people in Ukraine already find themselves in cities with destroyed infrastructure and abandoned neighborhoods. This reveals an acute need to restore urban places after the cease of the war. It is of great importance that residents, in particular young people, get involved in envisioning and developing their living homes to secure sustainable and inclusive communities. Besides, local engagement can contribute to restoring and creating neighborhoods with their unique identity and strong social coherence.

program theme

Human beings have always craved for having a roof above the head, finding a shelter and making it a home. Nowadays many people are experiencing the absence of a habitat. The stimulus of their homelessness can be very different: political conflicts and displacement; economic, social and environmental circumstances. However, the consequences that they end up in are very similar.

The solutions are usually very diverse when people start to create the home. Some of them manage to find a shelter in existing infrastructure, mostly in old, abandoned buildings, while others start to create their own and come up with various extraordinary ideas.

The module of Informal Habitation focuses on these informal housing solutions around us, around the neighborhood, to understand their role in everyday life, the challenges these habitats are facing in the urban context and the ways to adress these challenges. The findings of the module will be materialized in different physical and digital projects and will serve as a tool in the process of social transformation.
INFORMAL HABITATION
Mentor: Nutsa Lomsadze / TAB
LOCAL IDENTITY THROUGH STORYTELLING
Mentor: Mauricio SOSA Noreña / Designer
This module seeks to use storytelling to portray the identity or the essence of a region/area within a city. Which stories, recipes, flavors, dreams, or beliefs define us as a community? Who are the key characters, the unsung heroes on our site? Which social issues do we struggle with? What are those elements that are not visible at first glance and that are worth telling the newcomers? And also, can we find creative ways to share these stories with others while strengthening our social fabric?

We start by briefly talking about storytelling, memory, and identity. Then we refine our topics to further define the spirit of the place, develop ideas on how to portray these elements, and create an outcome (a book, magazine, or any other media) to share those stories and identities with others, raise awareness around the social issues present in the community, and even build the narrative that would help to re-imagine the city. Also, based on some ideas from Social Marketing and Design Thinking, we do research with the community to discover stories and understand their dreams, memories, needs, desires, insights, verbatims, behaviors, beliefs, etc.
SEARCHING FOR TRACES: VISUALISATION OF HIDDEN HISTORY
Mentor: Veronica Andres / DESIGNER
What does our city consist of? Banally speaking, it is houses, streets, and other infrastructures that were built in a certain period of time. But every city, every piece of architecture, and every building element is surrounded by a multitude of narratives that are overwritten over and over again. These layers can be read like traces from the surroundings.
In our joint working process, we will try to explore and specify the various dimensions of the urban structure and make the invisible traces readable.

Starting points for us can be historical events, political circumstances, significant design epochs, biographies, and work with literature and contemporary witnesses. Through critical urban theory, we will first broaden and sharpen our perspective. Afterwards, observations will be made in individual city walks and discussed with the group. Finally, we will find our own object of investigation, research for material, and make it visible in public space with the help of temporary exhibition architecture.

subtopics

RECLAIM THE PUBLIC SPACE
MENTOR: LAURA SOBRAL / THE CITY NEEDS YOU INSTITUTE
Several possible ways to be more active in the city will be addressed in the course, mainly from actions in public spaces. Activist actions, citizen initiatives, professional proposals, and advocacy, among others, are possibilities to transform our neighborhoods and our cities that will be presented, tested, and debated.

subtopics

INFORMAL HABITATION
Mentor: Nutsa Lomsadze / TAB
Human beings have always craved having a roof above their head, finding shelter, and making it a home. Nowadays, many people are experiencing the absence of a habitat. The stimulus of their homelessness can be very different: political conflicts and displacement; economic, social, and environmental circumstances. However, the consequences that they end up in are very similar.

The solutions are usually very diverse when people start to create a home. Some of them find shelter in existing infrastructure, mainly in old, abandoned buildings, while others begin to create their own and come up with various extraordinary ideas.
The module on Informal Habitation focuses on these informal housing solutions around us, around the neighborhood, to understand their role in everyday life, the challenges these habitats face in the urban context, and how to address these challenges. The module findings will be materialized in different physical and digital projects and serve as a social transformation tool.
LOCAL IDENTITY THROUGH STORYTELLING
Mentor: Mauricio Sosa Noreña / Designer
This module seeks to use storytelling to portray the identity or the essence of a region/area within a city. Which stories, recipes, flavors, dreams, or beliefs define us as a community? Who are the key characters, the unsung heroes on our site? Which social issues do we struggle with? What are those elements that are not visible at first glance and that are worth telling the newcomers? And also, can we find creative ways to share these stories with others while strengthening our social fabric?

We start by briefly talking about storytelling, memory, and identity. Then we refine our topics to further define the spirit of the place, develop ideas on how to portray these elements, and create an outcome (a book, magazine, or any other media) to share those stories and identities with others, raise awareness around the social issues present in the community, and even build the narrative that would help to re-imagine the city. Also, based on some ideas from Social Marketing and Design Thinking, we do research with the community to discover stories and understand their dreams, memories, needs, desires, insights, verbatims, behaviors, beliefs, etc.
SEARCHING FOR TRACES - VISUALISATION OF HIDDEN HISTORY
Mentor: Veronica Andres / Designer
What does our city consist of? Banally speaking, it is houses, streets, and other infrastructures that were built in a certain period of time. But every city, every piece of architecture, and every building element is surrounded by a multitude of narratives that are overwritten over and over again. These layers can be read like traces from the surroundings.  
In our joint working process, we will try to explore and specify the various dimensions of the urban structure and make the invisible traces readable. 

Starting points for us can be historical events, political circumstances, significant design epochs, biographies, and work with literature and contemporary witnesses. Through critical urban theory, we will first broaden and sharpen our perspective. Afterwards, observations will be made in individual city walks and discussed with the group. Finally, we will find our own object of investigation, research for material, and make it visible in public space with the help of temporary exhibition architecture.
RECLAIM THE PUBLIC SPACE
Mentor: Laura Sobral / The City Needs You Institute
Several possible ways to be more active in the city will be addressed in the course, mainly from actions in public spaces. Activist actions, citizen initiatives, professional proposals, and advocacy, among others, are possibilities to transform our neighborhoods and our cities that will be presented, tested, and debated.

curriculum structure

WINTER SCHOOL
Offline / Berlin
December 5 — 11, 2022

The winter school in Berlin is an additional activity dedicated to the topic of the right to the city and public space. The international group of 15 multidisciplinary professionals gets to know the best practices of how various initiatives, organisations, and housing projects reclaim public spaces. Participants are selected among the participants who reimagine your city project based on a motivational letter.
Offline / Berlin
December 5 — 11, 2022
MODULE II
Online / January 18 — February 12, 2023

The second module consists of 4-week input webinars and group work focusing on practical aspects of project implementation, including management, communication in a team, crisis management, budgeting, and evaluation. During the module, participants present their project ideas and continue developing them in peer groups for further grant application. The start of webinars: 16:00 CET.
Online
January 18 — February 12, 2023
OPEN CALL: SMALL SCALE PROJECTS
Online / February 14 — March 2, 2023

All participants can submit their project ideas for financial and mentoring support. The selected teams get grants for the practical realisation of projects in their countries of residence.
Online
February 14 — March 2, 2023
PRACTICAL REALISATION OF PROJECTS
Offline / April — August 2023

Participants create small-scale projects in their countries with financial and mentoring support. Possible projects may include installations, pop-up exhibitions, mapping projects, community building events, the creation of zines and comics, and the development of visual identity for neighborhoods.
Offline
April — August 2023
SUMMER SCHOOL
Offline / Georgia, Location TBD
August 29 — September 3, 2023

The final project event includes an evaluation of the project, city tours, an exchange with local initiatives, and public presentations of the project results.
Offline / Georgia, Location TBD
August 29 — September 3, 2023
MODULE I
Online / November 2 — December 2, 2022

The first module consists of intensive group work and four common input sessions. After the common kick-off with a program overview, participants start to do research on their subtopic with the guidance of a mentor. The results of 5 weeks of regular online discussions and workshops are presented at a final round of internal presentations on December 2, 2022. The start of webinars: 16:00 CET.
Online
November 2 — December 2, 2022
The first module consists of intensive group work and four common input sessions. After the common kick-off with a program overview, participants start to do research on their subtopic with the guidance of a mentor. The results of 5 weeks of regular online discussions and workshops are presented at a final round of internal presentations on December 2, 2022. The start of webinars: 16:00 CET.
The winter school in Berlin is an additional activity dedicated to the topic of the right to the city and public space. The international group of 15 multidisciplinary professionals gets to know the best practices of how various initiatives, organisations, and housing projects reclaim public spaces. Participants are selected among the participants who reimagine your city project based on a motivational letter.
The second module consists of 4-week input webinars and group work focusing on practical aspects of project implementation, including management, communication in a team, crisis management, budgeting, and evaluation. During the module, participants present their project ideas and continue developing them in peer groups for further grant application. The start of webinars: 16:00 CET.
All participants can submit their project ideas for financial and mentoring support. The selected teams get grants for the practical realisation of projects in their countries of residence.
Participants create small-scale projects in their countries with financial and mentoring support. Possible projects may include installations, pop-up exhibitions, mapping projects, community building events, the creation of zines and comics, and the development of visual identity for neighborhoods.
The final project event includes an evaluation of the project, city tours, an exchange with local initiatives, and public presentations of the project results.
Winter school
Module II
Open call:
Small Scale Projects
Practical realisation of projects
Summer school
Module I
During the program you:

- gain deeper knowledge about city exploration tools and participatory creative strategies for youth empowerment and socio-cultural transformation of the neighborhoods;

- learn to develop the best solutions to problems that arise depending on the context of public spaces and the successful implementation of projects;

- get hands-on experience in project implementation, including communication in a team, crisis management, budgeting, and evaluation;

- kickstart and implement local urban projects with financial and mentoring support such as installations, pop-up exhibitions, mapping projects, community building events, creation of zines and comics, and development of visual identity for neighbourhoods;

- expand a network of inspiring city makers by collaborating closely in an international team with experts and multidisciplinary professionals in Georgia, Poland, Ukraine, and Germany.

outcomes

education team

Otar Nemsadze is a co-founder of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, and an advisor to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Georgia, implementing reforms in urban development and citizens' participation with the main focus on Urban Mobility. Otar holds an M.Arch degree from the Georgian Technical University and an M.Sc. in Urban Management and Development from the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam. In his PhD, he focuses on land ownership structures, land conflicts, and the effects of property ownership on the development of the capital city of Georgia, Tbilisi. Previously Otar worked for Tbilisi City Hall as a First Deputy Head of Architecture Service Supervising Urban Planning Department.
Institution representative / TAB
Tinatin Gurgenidze works between Tbilisi and Berlin. She concentrates on urban research and curatorial work between Georgia and Germany. Since 2019 Tinatin has worked at Dekabristen E.v. in Berlin, coordinating different projects connected with post-socialist cities. Tinatin is also a co-founder of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial.
Institution representative / TAB
Katya Romanova is a project manager and a designer. She has got a degree in Teaching Languages and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications at HTW Berlin. Since 2019 Katya has been coordinating cultural, urban, and design projects at Dekabristen e.V.; among them Design Lab Moabit and reimagine your city (2021). She also has wide experience in youth work, media education, and nonprofit management, with a focus on international volunteering, youth participation, and the organization of sociocultural projects. She also gained experience working and studying in various countries, including the USA and Argentina.
Institution representative / reimagine your city
Nutsa Lomsadze is an architect and urban planner, living and working in Tbilisi and experiencing new perspectives in the field and around. Currently working at a local architectural studio BAU Design, she is mostly focusing on large-scale urban planning projects and master planning of local urban and rural areas. Nutsa has also recently joined the faculty of Visual Art, Architecture & Design School (VAADS) at the Free University of Tbilisi as a tutor for the first-year class. After graduation from the Faculty of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design at Georgian Technical University, Nutsa pursued her studies in France, Université de Tours, for the master's program in Planning and Sustainability. In her master's research, she studied the urban development of the IDP settlements of Georgia from 2008 and their search for the niche in current and future urban as well as socio-economic life. Nutsa is a member of the Metaform team, which has organized an international workshop - Critical Analysis of Georgian Architecture, in the framework of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial 2020. The workshop focused on the formal analysis of significant Soviet modernist architectural objects of Tbilisi.
Mentor (Institution representative / TAB)
Darya Levchenko is a program manager at NGO Cultprojector, a project designer, and visual arts researcher. She has worked as a translator, editor, and researcher. Darya has curation experience as an assistant programmer at AFI Theater and Cultural Centre and as an associate screener at FilmFestDC and Black Nights Film Festival. She has volunteered as a coordinator with NGOs and festivals, including NGO Tvori Dobro Ukraina, AIESEC, Charity fund Serce do Serca, and moving festival Z krainy v ukrainu. Darya holds two Master of Arts degrees, Film Studies from North Carolina State University and Comparative Literature from Zaporizhzhia National University and Tallinn University.
Institution representative / Cultprojector
Anastasiia Zhuravel is a researcher, curator, and social business entrepreneur. She is a graduate of Technische Universität Berlin, of the Faculty of Planning, Building, and Environment in Urban Management. She is interested in critical urban studies in her research and professional focus, emphasizing collective civic actions, urban governance, and sustainable urban systems. Anastasiia is co-founder of the Charity Foundation and NGO Laska and an associate at the pavilion of culture architecture in Kyiv, Ukraine. Before, she worked at CANactions School for Urban Studies as a program coordinator and gained professional experience living and working in different countries and cities; among them were Bangkok and Hongkong, where she worked in real estate development.
Institution representative / reimagine your city
Kostiantyn Yukhymenko is a program manager at Zaporizhzhya regional youth center and an operation manager in Zaporizhzhya ICT Cluster. Co-founder and Community Manager in the first Ukrainian energy cooperative, “Solar Town”. Community manager in the “OGO! Zaporizhzhya” project. Member of National youth council of Ukraine and National Ukrainian Youth Union. Civic society development activist, cultural manager, photographer. Regional representative of the Ukrainian Association of Youth Centers in Zaporizhzhya. Kostiantyn is also a financial manager of NGO Cultprojector.
Institution representative / Cultprojector
Paulina Maloy is a coordinator of international projects in the Wrocław Institute of Culture (previous Culture Zone Wrocław). She was the head of the Program Department of the Edith Stein House — Center for Intercultural Dialogue. She cooperated with the Krzyżowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe, the ART TRANSPARENT Foundation for Contemporary Art, and many NGOs.
Institution representative / Wrocław Institute of Culture
Victoria Veres is a director and founder of Cultprojector, a cultural manager, activist, artist, and photographer. She is a regional representative of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival "Docudays UA". She has experience of more than 12 years of experience in the entire cycle of project management in Ukrainian and international art-related projects.
Institution representative / Cultprojector
Mauricio Sosa Noreña is a Colombian advertiser and designer. During his advertising studies, he did an exchange at the University of Navarra in Spain, where he did a year of Audiovisual Communication, which fuelled his interest in storytelling. After graduation, he worked in advertising and audiovisual production, yet for most of his professional career, he has worked in education, being a lecturer in a couple of universities in his hometown, Medellin, where he taught, among other subjects, creative thinking, advertising campaigns, communication for social projects, and audiovisual production for advertising projects. He has a degree in Creative Intervention (Creative Project Development) and was Head of the Advertising Communications Program at the University of Medellin. Mauricio Sosa Noreña has lived in Germany since 2017, where he studied a master's in Integrated Design and has worked as a freelance designer and visiting lecturer at Hochschule Anhalt in Dessau for subjects related to illustration, visualisation for architectural projects, and design and communication for social projects, and has also been a facilitator for the summer school at Viadrina University in Frankfurt (Oder).
MENTOR / Designer
MENTOR / AKAKAF
Veronica Andres is a designer, researcher, and curator. She studied at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and at Burg Giebichenstein in Halle. She is active in the fields of participation and information transfer. In her work, she explores experimental ways of making social processes and historical events visible. Her main topics are the criticism of disadvantaging structures but also memorial work. She has worked as a lecturer for various German universities. Her thesis, law-space-discrimination, will be published in 2022 by the HFBK's Materialverlag. Most recently, she was a co-founder of the initiative AKAKAF, which deals with the treatment of Nazi forced labour.
MENTOR / THE CITY NEEDS YOU INSTITUTE
Laura Sobral holds a BA and MSc in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo and has been an activist for the right to the city for over ten years. She is currently in Portugal doing her Ph.D. Laura is one of the founders of The City Needs You Institute, an organization that improves public spaces through social actions, her most recent book is called ‘Doing it Together - cooperation tools for the city co-governance, with editions in English (2019), Portuguese (2021) and Spanish (2022).
more
How to apply?
Applications for the programme 2022-2023 are now closed. The results will be communicated to all the applicants through email by October 15, 2022. All related questions should be directed to reimaginecity@dekabristen.org.

All related questions should be directed to reimaginecity@dekabristen.org.

Submission opens: September 8, 2022
Submission closes: October 2, 2022, 23:59 CET
Results: October 15, 2022


Who can apply?
The workshop is targeted at 100 professionals and students (from 18 y/o) from Germany, Poland, Georgia, and Ukraine with a specific interest in exploring interactive digital and creative practices for youth empowerment and participation in the socio-cultural transformation of the neighborhoods. Participation is free of charge. No maximum age limit.

Background: We are looking for applicants in the field of youth work, design, architecture, urban design, art, sociology, activism, journalism, cultural studies, and other related fields.

Language: The working language is English, so the minimum expected proficiency is B2 level (based on self-evaluation and proved over a Zoom interview if necessary).

The program seeks applicants who have an open mind toward interdisciplinary collaborations and teamwork in an intercultural environment. The following criteria are relevant for the selection process:
– Interest in the field of youth participation and socio-cultural transformation of the neighbourhoods;
– Understanding how to apply knowledge and skills from the project in your work;
– Relevant experience (professional occupation, studies, personal interests);
– Readiness to take part in all the project activities.

applications
are closed

partners

The project reimagine your city is an international design lab realised by Dekabristen e.V. (DE), Cultprojector (UKR), Wrocław Institute of Culture (POL), Tbilisi Architecture Biennial (GE) and funded by the Federal Foreign Office in the framework of the Eastern Partnership program.
Please contact us at reimaginecity@dekabristen.org
questions?