The Academy of Architecture has invited activist-designer Selçuk Balamir to be Artist in Residence for the 2021-2022 academic year. The Winter/Summer School was held from June 30 till July 8, in the summer of 2022.

Selçuk Balamir is a designer, educator and activist, working on postcapitalist politics, commoning practices and climate justice campaigns. He co-founded grassroots disobedient action collectives (codeROOD, Fossil Free Culture, Queers4Climate) and co-developed the creative and strategic framework of Climate Games (peer-to-peer disobedience platform) and Shell Must Fall (mass disruption of shareholder meetings). He co-initiated the social housing projects NieuwLand (postcapitalist urban commune) and de Nieuwe Meent (cooperative based on commoning). His PhD in Cultural Analysis from University of Amsterdam is on postcapitalist design. He teaches New Earth (eco-social design) at Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.

The Winter Summer School consisted of two parts: the Training Weekend, intended as a crash-course on key concepts and principles of Climate Justice, was hosted by social movement organisers. All photos from the training are on Flickr.

The second part were the Assignment Days where students collaborated on a spatial design project with an explicit just transition agenda. Each team was assigned an infrastructure site of (Royal Dutch) Shell, and they were asked to imagine and design a rapid, responsible and justice-based scenario for decommissioning and repurposing that piece of Shell’s legacy. Each day, the students fast-forwarded ten years and produced an image and a caption encapsulating the successive stages of the transition. They were supported by professionals, researchers, and educators in the design and sustainability fields.

The final results were presented at the former Shell Lab canteen (now the cultural centre Tolhuistuin). The students were asked to roleplay their future selves and to recollect what each site has speculatively gone through in the form of storytelling. The performative finale closed with a discussion held by the four respondents who reflected on the students’ work. Photos from the performative finale are on Flickr.

The outcomes are published as a wall calendar spanning four decades (2020-2060), intended as a daily reminder of this generation's task. The calendar was exhibited at We Are Warming Up festival on 26-30 October 2022. Alongside 80 original images and edited captions, the publication also contains the introduction lecture transcript and a reflection piece on the process. To appraise the evolution of a site over each decade, please fast-forward twenty pages. 

Prior to the Winter Summer School, David Keuning spoke about Balamir’s plans and expectations in regard to his collaboration with spatial designers, the decolonial critique of ecomodernism and the relation between ecological transition and social justice. You can check out a preview below, and read the full interview at the Annual Newspaper 2021-2022! (direct PDF download link):

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