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Education, culture, participation. ARCHI:CULTURE vol. 3

15 of September '23

Recruitment is underway for the next, third edition of the postgraduate course "ARCHI:CULTURE architectural educator" an initiative created by the Pedagogical University in Cracow, the National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Faculties of Architecture of the Cracow and Gdansk Universities of Technology. On the occasion of the previous iteration, Dorota Wantuch-Matla, head of studies (UP) and Katarzyna Domagalska, substantive head (NIAiU) said that these are studies for "architecture missionaries" who want to save the world. Study coordinator Elżbieta Kusińska (PK) talks about the role of universal architectural education and the skills that male and female students acquire during the course.

Ola Kloc: The next, third edition of postgraduate studies ARCHI:CULTURE architectural educator is starting, do you observe what the graduates do after completing them [more information about recruitment can be found at; recruitment lasts until September 25 this year].

Elżbieta Kusińska: Graduates of our studies represent different backgrounds, professions and also have diverse experience. Some of them want to enrich their existing professional path by extending their educational classes with elements of general architectural education. These are, for example, teachers or employees of cultural centers. Others create their own original educational programs, which can be implemented, for example, in cooperation with local governments. Our postgraduate studies allow for a variety of activities after completion, as in the second semester the student chooses his own further educational path through three thematic seminars: education, culture, participation, and within the framework of these seminars he carries out a thesis. We also have established cooperation with cultural institutions, within the framework of this cooperation, each participant can hold consultations of his educational program in them, and in the future also establish cooperation.

uczestnicy poprzednich edycji podczas zajęć

participants of previous editions during classes

© organizers archive

Ola: What lessons have you learned after the two previous editions?

Elżbieta: The formula of studying on the Teams platform makes it possible for people from all over Poland and even from abroad to participate in the classes. This is particularly important, because we wanted to expand the idea of universal architectural education not only in large centers, where such educational classes already take place frequently. We also hold stationary conventions in the form of workshops in three cities, and this also allows participants to undertake group activities together, as well as integrate with each other, which is important in building a network of educators in Poland.

We have also noticed interest not only from architects in our studies, which is particularly gratifying, because it means that the idea of universal architectural education and caring for the quality of the surrounding space is recognized by representatives of other professions.

uczestnicy poprzednich edycji podczas zajęć

participants of previous editions during classes

© organizers archive

Ola: What were the theses prepared by the students about?

Elżbieta: The works were as diverse as the participants and their experiences. Some of the works dealt with accessibility and sensitizing people with diverse needs who are users of urban space. Many of the works, and I'm particularly pleased, were about educational projects embedded in local urban spaces. They sought solutions to local problems or, in other words, popularized knowledge about one's own place of residence, identity and heritage often overlooked or forgotten by the public. I hope that through such projects there will be built more and more civic awareness, responsibility for the surrounding space, noticing problems and learning to solve them together through participatory actions. I also very much appreciated projects that dealt with greenery or the importance of nature for urban areas in general. This is currently an important topic in the context of climate change, which particularly affects urban areas. The greening of neighborhood areas, retention, the construction of community gardens or the identification of urban heat islands are issues that have appeared in the works. These are also topics of interest to the public, for example, in the context of the development of green areas, excessive density of development or lack of recreational areas.

uczestnicy poprzednich edycji podczas zajęć

participants of previous editions during the class

© organizers' archives

Ola: Do you plan to introduce anything new to this year's program?

Elżbieta: This year's schedule will be a little different from previous editions. Of course, we are staying with remote conducting of most classes, but this year there will be three stationary conventions in three cities Cracow, Warsaw and Gdansk. The subject of the workshops will change a bit, which will be continued in each city and will be attended by all study participants.

Ola: Why do you think it is worth taking part in the recruitment? What skills do students have a chance to gain?

Elżbieta: Our students have a chance to gain a variety of competencies. The knowledge and skills we impart combine pedagogical and design-architectural issues, as well as practical activities, which we implement in residential workshops. We impart knowledge of the idea of universal architectural education, as well as general knowledge of architecture and urban planning, because this is not a study of architecture alone. Issues of pedagogy, methodology and public participation are also introduced during the studies. Our student should learn how to construct and implement his own educational plan, how to implement it in cooperation with various institutions. He will also learn to use a variety of educational tools including digital ones. Some of our participants have already implemented various educational activities at their workplaces during the academic year, for example, in workshops with children at school. The most important thing is that these skills, which our graduates will gain, they will be able to use in the place where they work or want to work in a school, in a cultural institution, in local government, in a foundation or in another individual activity of their own.

Ola: Thank you for the interview.

Ola Kloc

The vote has already been cast