Started in 2016, the Telciu Summer School is an innovative educational experiment initiated by the Center for Modernity and the Rural World from Telciu. It was a natural development from and completion of the international conferences organised in the Transylvanian village of Telciu, beginning from 2012. The summer school takes place outside of urban campuses in a village located in the vicinity of Maramureș, in the Sălăuța Valley, being part of the historical region of ‘Nösnerland’. Both rural regions have complex historical and ethnographic identities due to their multiethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious characters. Similarly, they have internalised various processes of modernisation and underdevelopment, urbanisation and ruralisation, rooting and uprooting.
The vision of the Telciu Summer School aims to create a convivial meeting space between academics, artists, theorists, practitioners, activists, students, local school and high-school students, the local and nearby youth and adults. Our objective is, therefore, to create discussions relevant to the everyday life of social, political, cultural and historical processes in Romania, in a regional and global context. This approach desires a space and time of encounter between decolonial thinking, postcolonial and postsocialist studies, and local histories, which facilitates the necessary efforts for a social, cultural and economic reconstruction from below. Assuming these directions, the summer school highlights the necessity of local knowledge and activity simultaneously or in resistance to the global processes of political, social, and economic powers that have shaped the asymmetries of the capitalist system both globally and locally. Thus, this initiative underlines the role and positionality of rurality in the creation of 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, which represents a source of socio-economic and cultural development, not only a realm of resources (natural resources, labour, etc.) and/or escapism.
The Telciu Summer School is rooted in a variety of academic fields, such as history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, political economy, and political sciences, as evidenced by the courses and workshops proposed each year, and by the specialisations of the participants (students and lecturers alike). Meanwhile, the school includes a series of community activities designed to bring guests and locals together in a dual-purpose learning exercise/effort. 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); political theatre performances, followed by discussions with the artists engaged with the local people and guest participants; artistic and documentary film screening, followed by discussions; children’s film screenings; book and journal launches; meetings with contemporary writers/theorists; hiking through landscapes filled with local stories; parties in the village disco; and explorations of local gastronomy. Moreover, starting with the 2017 edition, the summer schools includes two artists in residence for a month and a half, who are engaged in an art education project with the local and nearby students. Because the activities reunite participants from more countries, apart from English language events, since 2017, with the help of our friends from the Acasa collective from Cluj and their volunteers, we are able to provide headphone and subtitle translations for the Romanian events, to those who wish to attend them.
The Telciu Summer School represents a collective effort to overcome the learned superficiality and self-sufficiency – about what the rural world means beyond the different narratives and representations – as well as an attempt to defuse the multiple fractions and tensions that antagonises our national society. By intersecting the academic and artistic worlds with that of the contemporary rural world, the summer school creates a framework based on respect for one another and their culture, openness to dialogue, solidarity, tolerance, a desire to get to know others and learn, and the rejection of any form of discrimination (of class, race, gender, age, ethnicity/nationality, religion/denomination, education, or sexual orientation). On an international level, the Telciu Summer School proposes an alternative direction for connecting the national academic, cultural, and political field to the relevant international academic, politic, and cultural debates. For international participants, besides the courses that do not limit themselves only to the Romanian and European context, this also represents an opportunity to explore and understand Eastern Europe, its histories and heritage in a regional and global context.
Another aspect that is particular to the Telciu Summer School is the fees involved. In the context in which similar events, especially those held at the major European university centres, 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 which we can add the high cost of accommodation and meals, we proposed from the start to create a school as accessible as possible. Due to the financial support received from the local and county authorities, adding to this the funding obtained by submitting projects to various local institutions financing cultural projects, and donations/sponsorships, we have the possibility to charge very low fees for participants outside the locality and the county: 100 euros (25 euros) for Romanian students, 50 euros for students from countries with minimum wages below 1000 euros/month, and 100 euros for those in countries with minimum wages above 1000 euro/month. These include the possibility of free accommodation in tents, on a campsite provided by the local government, or renting a room in the homes of the locals at prices below those required by the small hotels in the locality. The local restaurants, partners in our project, also offer special meals. More details on these issues will come in the announcements published before each edition.
Telciu Summer School 2nd edition
(Dis)Locating Europe: the East, the Other and the Rural
13th-20th of August 2017
Call for Application
The 2017 edition of the Telciu Summer School focuses on the historical, social and economical positionalities of peripheries and rurality in the context of a changing idea of Europe. What differing histories are able to confront the recent wave of isolationism and protectionism, the rise of European ethno-nationalisms and of polarizing ideas such as “two-speed Europe”, as well as the continuous encroachments on the commons, natural resources and subsistence economies? How do the “East”, the “South” and the “others” of Europe, including its internal and colonial others, redefine the meaning of Europe? The Telciu Summer School is interested in giving priority and documenting the different answers of local histories to global designs, imperial inheritances and state plans, connecting the locality of Telciu with significant projects of modernization and the regional and international histories of the participants to the Summer School.
Three inter-related pleas could spell the beginnings for which Telciu would like to be a critical continuation: “…for replacing the idea of a single proper – namely, heroic – Europe, which has generated multiple modernitities worldwide, by the one of multiple Europes, whose cultural, political and economic contributions to European civilisation have disproportionately gone into the definition of the specific Western modernity” (Boatcă).
“The historical experience of real socialism, the fall of the socialist regimes and the postcommunist transition compose such a radical history of transformation and total opening of radically differing paradigms, and such a quick enclosure of possibilities, that in light of it, the ongoing and slowly unfolding crisis and transition of the world could be seen as an immense and immediate site of opportunity” (Țichindeleanu).
“We must think of how to change our shared small world in such a way that we can finally discard the seemingly eternal dichotomy of the same and the other, and create a space in which there will be no others any more, no people rejected by history, or forced to fiercely chase the train of modernity with no hope for success. The intersection of experiences and sensibilities of the postcolonial and postsocialist people must ideally lead us to the next step of building coalitions and solidarity for our mutual struggle to fulfill and bring to life this open utopia. And we can still try to make it real” (Tlostanova).
EUR 50 for applicants from outside the European Union and member countries of EU with a monthly minimum wage lower than EUR 500.
EUR 100 for applicants from EU or USA.
What you Get?
Access to all activities
Camping spots with access to shower and bathrooms. Alternatively, the organizers mediate accommodations either in pension at local rural households, or at local motels.
Discount to ”Hovrea” restaurant (3 meals /day for RON 30 / 7 EUR).
To Apply for the 2017 Telciu Summer School, please fill the following form:
Deadline for application: August 1, 2017.