Never Never School
Spolka forms sustainable cities for all. We involve the public in innovative urban development. We are a team of experts in the field of architecture and sociology. We are mainly based in Košice (SK), Bratislava (SK), and Berlin (DE). We work with education about the city by ways of discussion, our own research, artistic and architectural interventions, and by education of stakeholders, organizations, city officials, common people. Spolka was founded in 2016 in Košice as an informal collective of young women united by their interest in their hometown. Building on the values of care and sustainability, Spolka has been engaged in urban topics for more than 7 years. Currently, the collective brings together 6 female members from the fields of architecture, sociology, and urban planning. Spolka has been part of several international initiatives (e.g. New European Bauhaus, Year of Climate Care, Escalator, and others) and has successfully established itself in projects with the themes of planning with care, participatory planning, and education in Central Europe. In 2022, the organization expanded its scope to include Spolka Studio, which implements the values of care and sustainability in projects in collaboration with various NGOs and municipalities. Through research&design Spolka helps them to research the topic (terrain or desk), (re)define the brief, raise funds, involve the stakeholders, test, co-design with them, implement, etc. Part of Spolka’s critical approach is to see urban planning as a political tool and responsibility, which also includes the curatorial activities and cultivation of education – professional or popular, formal or informal. This is also where the focus of our non-profit activities currently lies – to nurture and experiment with ways of learning that are inclusive, peer-to-peer, dialogical, and future-oriented.
Never Never School is a platform founded by Spolka for dialogical learning, utopian speculation, and research about cities. Since 2018 it connects various people from artistic, design, and social disciplines through design. Never Never School uses design as a tool for investigation, imagination and as a means of dialogue about the futures of the city of Kosice (Slovakia). At the same time, participants have the opportunity to translate their ideas into projects embedded in local context. It brings a democratically oriented approach to learning and urban design. It transcends the traditional boundaries of education based on the hierarchies of teacher-student, expert-layperson. Each year we test a new way of learning, pushing boundaries on what means to learn from each other. We believe that project such as Never Never School is very important in the context of Slovakia (and further) – it nurtures interdisciplinary collaborations, supports various ways of expression and methods of designing as well as empowers the participants through the possibility to co-create the program – things that formal education lacks in our region. Never Never School – as such, is about the education we thrive for – its form changes and reflects on the current needs of participants as well as inhabitants. Previously we focused on: re-visioning the neighborhoods from socialist times, planning with the river Hornad and bringing non-human perspectives in urban planning, the concept of care in the context of city planning. This year we wish to tackle housing inequalities in Kosice – homelessness, race-based segregation, housing for people from Ukraine, financialization of housing,... Communal experience is an important aspect of summer school as well. Participants live together and have communal meals. Part of the school is disseminating knowledge through publications and exhibitions. In 2020 we published a book 'Mapping the In-between: Interdisciplinary Methods for envisioning other futures.'