Bauhaus-Universität Weimar’s summer program offers courses, professional development, worldwide networking and way more!
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar always has been international. Even one hundred years ago, when The Staatliches Bauhaus was founded in 1919 by Walther Gropius in Weimar, the school had already students and lecturers from abroad. Next to the neighbourhood German-speaking countries as Austria and Switzerland from where Johannes Itten, Herbert Bayer, Hannes Meyer, Paul Klee, and some other lecturers and artist came to Weimar and Dessau to work and research, some other countries were involved in schools incipience. Lyonel Feininger from USA, Henry van de Velde from Belgium, László Moholy-Nagy from Hungary, Lucia Moholy from Austria-Hungary, Wassily Kandinsky from Russia definitely had a huge impact on the Bauhaus. From its beginning, the school had a huge international factor and this internationalism was one of the key reasons why it became so important and revolutionary in the whole world.
Years after, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar is transformed in another modern school, still, you can feel the spirit of the old Bauhaus ideas here. It got even more international nowadays, as around 1/4 of the current students of the school are coming from abroad not only for the exchange semesters but also for the whole study programs. But there is a top month in a year when Weimar experiences something very special – Bauhaus Summer School. In August the university is surrounded by a particularly international atmosphere and welcomes students from nearly the whole world.
BAUHAUS SUMMER SCHOOL: WHAT IS THAT?
Bauhaus Summer School is the international summer program of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. It involves all the faculties of the university and offers courses for prospective, undergraduate and graduate students in Architecture + Urbanism, Art + Design, Culture + Media, Engineering + Environment and German + English Languages. Each year Bauhaus Summer School hosts more than 300 participants from more than 60 countries, who are taking part in the offered courses and the accompanying program, which involves excursions to some German cities, activities as the bicycle or rubber boat tours, cinema visits, festivals and of course parties. This is a month when students can improve their knowledge in the fields they are studying or are interested in and also immerse into a new society, practice the language, travel, experience Germany and make new friends.
With each year Bauhaus Summer School grows not only as an event but also as a world network. In 2018 it hosted around 400 participants from 68 countries, including China, Egypt, Germany, Japan, India, Italy, Russia, Iran, Brasil, Spain and many more from other countries.
Bauhaus Summer School was first launched in 1983 as an international university vacation course for architecture and construction at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. This was followed by a time of change, during which the summer program was held under various patrons, such as the German-Italian Society in Thuringia (DIGIT e.V.) and the Lord Mayor of the City of Weimar, concentrated primarily on the teaching of language. Only at the end of the 1990s “European Summer Academy“ project was resumed at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. At the turn of the millennium, in addition to the various languages, there was a desire for further education in the different disciplines taught at the university. Since 2008, the “Bauhaus Summer School“, which has been renamed since 2007, increasingly relies on two-week specialised and language courses.
BAUHAUS SUMMER SCHOOL: COURSES
The courses of Bauhaus Summer School are held by professional lecturers and are organised in such a way, that the students can work on the project and participate in an accompanying program of the school. Still, you shouldn’t expect that it will be just like vacation: even there are a parties or excursions, you still have to be on time, fit and active next day at the class. As usually the courses start with the beginning tasks and ends with the end presentation/exhibition in the frames of the Open Studios.
After the successful participation in Bauhaus Summer School, the students are getting the certificate which could be transferred to their home university credit points system.
The Bauhaus Summer School offers lecturers the opportunity to develop new course formats. Interdisciplinary themes and mixtures of theoretical and practical approaches are possible. A researcher can introduce new insights and conduct case studies with the students. Outside of the university routine, the two-week seminars are concentrated and intensive. In my “Architectural Design” course students explore architectural concepts through hands-on modelling, class presentations, on-site visits, and studio practice. Each class examines particular design principles leading to spatial strategies, which are applied in artistic ways by using a variety of materials. Besides designing buildings students present their ideas to gain the group feedback. It is a shared learning experience within an inspiring group of international students. Thereby the Bauhaus Summer School offers new insights, exciting tasks, and wonderful experiences in the courses and in the city of Weimar.
Marie Ulber, Ph.D., Lecturer of the courses “Architectural Design“ and “Understanding Spaces“.
BAUHAUS SUMMER SCHOOL: HOW TO PARTICIPATE?
There is a couple of different ways to participate in the Bauhaus Summer School:
As a lecturer, you should be in contact with the organisers of the school. The idea of the course has to be presented and discussed in advance. Some courses are offered a couple of years in a row.
Part of the team
New members of the team, who will be responsible for the communication, accommodation and events, are mostly searched in November, as the preparation of each Bauhaus Summer School starts almost exactly after the end of the previous one. The team of the Bauhaus Summer School meets students at the train station and supports them through the whole course adventures up untill departure. Courses, accommodation, trips, parties, general questions – there is always a responsible person who can help and give an advice for a student. It is possible to contact the team every day even in the middle of the night, but of course, only if your question is really urgent.
For me, the Bauhaus Summer School is my summer. Long days with many faces from all over the world. Seeing so many
people from different countries working together to create something new, get to know each other and spend unforgettable summer days together – that’s what we work for all year round. For me, the four summer school weeks in August are the result of a lot of work for internationality and openness and a gift at the end of a long preparation period.
Julia, Head of Bauhaus Summer School
As a tutor, you can take a part in a course for free, but you will have a couple of other tasks, starting from working in the tutor team, organising the events, supporting trips and excursions, ending with the communication between the class-teacher and organisers of the BSS. To become a tutor you have to fill in the official form, write a motivation letter and pass a brief interview. A student tutor is the same student as all the other students who are participating in the course. The difference is just that this person has more tasks in frames of the school. The tutor not only assists the course instructor, but orients well in Weimar and in the university. You can ask her/him any question at any time, but don’t overdose the person with some small issues which are possible to solve on your own. Bauhaus Summer School is as well a good chance to get to know yourself better.
Let’s be real, being a tutor as the Summer School has been a lot of work. Let’s be real on a second thing, it’s not “work-work”.
As a tutor, we are responsible for quite numerous things, from the preparation of the classroom every morning to the accompaniment of a group during day excursions – yes, counting everyone to make sure you’re leaving no one behind on the platform of this train station you don’t know can be stressful. But what comes after the early wake-up and the stressful counting? A full day following a class you chose to attend, or a visit paid to something you won’t regret having seen – may it be the Bauhaus Foundation in Dessau or the river you are rafting in.
But our biggest responsibility has not yet been mentioned – it is the one towards the actual Summer Schoolers. As a tutor, you are the link between them, their teacher, the organisation team and… the city. At the train station, the day of the arrival, I took the biggest pleasure in showing everyone the map of Weimar, giving hints on where to get the best takeaway food, my favourite spots in the park or setting a veil of mystery on the Falken. During the following weeks, I didn’t let the occasions pass to invite them for a beer after class – and to be invited in return.
Taking care all the required materials for the day were ready to use in the classroom, running to Fricke in order to buy some last-minute furniture or solving all kinds of little problems that could emerge – all of this was more than enough to keep us busy during the day. But after the class ends, the second day begins: you don’t want to lose out of sight those people, coming from everywhere in the world, that you met during the day, and with whom you started conversations you couldn’t finish, when the class required both hands and brain. To many, I had told about a spot in Weimar I wanted to show them, someone I wanted to introduce them to or a coffee I wanted to share – promises, one wouldn’t dare to break.
Violette, tutor of the “Moving Traces“ course
Bauhaus Summer School participant/student
Registration to the courses opens in December. While booking the course, students can book also the field trips and accommodation. In some cases, you have to hurry up, as some field trips are pretty popular and are very fast overbooked. Still, there is a chance to get some places even when you are already in Weimar, or there is also a chance to organise a trip on your own. Be ready to write a motivation letter and to send your all application documents to get a place in a specialised course, and never hesitate to try to get a scholarship if you are applying for an intensive German course! It is important to have all the deadlines in mind to be able to join the BSS on time.
BAUHAUS SUMMER SCHOOL: ACCOMMODATION
As a student of the Bauhaus Summer School, you can choose between three different types of accommodation: a room in a student dorm, a room in a shared flat and a low budget room. Don’t be very surprised realising you can’t lock the door of your room – it is absolutely common in Germany, as the shared flats are organised in that way that the people trust each other. If they let you enter their space, don’t be afraid of them and get to know each other. A lot of students, who are offering the rooms during BSS are very openminded and will be glad to get to know new international people as well. Even the BSS-students are staying in a room only for two or four weeks, they are expected caring about it and a flat as if they were living there always. As usual, the owners of the rooms are leaving a small note with the information about it. If you as a student are not satisfied with your accommodation – just speak with your tutor or the BSS-Team.
If you live in Weimar and would like to rent your flat during the Bauhaus Summer School, please fill in the form.
BAUHAUS SUMMER SCHOOL: WHAT TO EXPECT?
Bauhaus Summer School experience definitely brings the student not only further in a professional, but also in a personal development.
The “Bauhaus Summer School“ for me was a welcome opportunity to get to know another university, meet students from all over the world, exchange experiences and gain new input. Up to this day, the history of the Bauhaus influences architecture students like me, so being able to learn and work there is something very special.
In the “Architectural Design“-course we mainly focused on trying out different design methods. For me, this was a rather unusual approach since as an architectural student in Vienna I am mostly on my own during the working process while the supervisors discuss intermediate states and results with the students. We learned, that the designing process in itself and the way you approach it is important and something that you can systematically work on. As an architect, you have to be flexible enough to quickly bring your ideas to life and try out different approaches to solve occurring problems.
As a part of different exercises, we did quick drafts using various modelling materials. The main focus was on topics such as the relationship of mass and space, the assembly of stories and floor plan designs, not aiming at perfection but rather at learning through the engagement with the different subjects. We regularly discussed the projects within the whole group, which was a great help, because that way we could learn from one another.
On the last day, each student presented a draft of a museum located in the park connected to the university. I was impressed by the quality of the projects, which showed me that even with a short amount of time great results can be achieved through an inspiring working process.
Jonas, student of the “Architectural Design“ course
Some of the participants are getting so inspired, that they would like to come back to complete their future studies in Weimar. Pedro from Brazil, who just started at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar his master degree in Media Art in the winter semester 2018, and was participating in Bauhaus Summer School course “Architecture and Urbanism in Film“ in 2015, says:
The summer school was great and I’ve had an outstanding input in using film as a medium to explore architecture and urbanism, and although it was only two-weeks long, I could get enough technical ground on filmmaking, as well as curiosity to develop it further on by myself. Besides the great life experience and making friends from all over the world, what I’ve learned at Bauhaus Summer School lead me to develop projects further on that took me to a couple of international film festivals. Also, getting to know Bauhaus and Weimar better, definitely influenced me on searching for master programs that would suit my interests – which isn’t hard, as there’s just so much you can learn here! For those who fell in love with Bauhaus after the summer school, I’d definitely recommend sticking to the inspiration you’ve felt here, and work hard to make it if you find a program that suits you. Oh, and don’t forget to put effort on learning German – although there are many courses in English, you can only grasp a bit of life in Weimar without speaking German.
Participating in the Bauhaus Summer School means to be ready for the intensive course times and have a desire to work on the projects. As Weimar is a pretty small city, it could be a very interesting challenge for the ones who got used to the big city life. There is a lot of things to discover, as well as to learn about the Bauhaus. Entering the BSS, try to get the best from the experience: build new friendships and networks, find a source of inspiration for your own future projects, discover, exchange and learn.
Text by: Anna Perepechai, student Visual Communications