Wrapping up the (Remote) First Summer School

Congratulations to all the students, tutors and lecturers who made our first international architecture summer school possible.

You have all participated in what I see to be a historic event and you’ve done it in the historic city of Rome, even if you weren’t physically present here. What began as an ambitious but conventional on-site workshop which would have entailed travel, lodging, meals, and group excursions into the Forum and elsewhere pivoted to something very different. In some ways it was more interesting and certainly more challenging. 

The Learning Environment was meticulously designed and robust enough to withstand the experiment.  I actually started to envision the various rooms as places where I could find people.

I enjoyed the occasional on-site report such as moderating the opening conference from the Horrea Agrippiana itself or giving the virtual tour with Dora Cirone and Giorgio.  The remote Drawing Ruins talk at the Portico d’Ottavia worked out well, testing different media for sharing the experience of on-site sketching. I will definitely be continuing this in my fall courses with American students who will study in Rome but not come to Rome. 

The talks on opening day and throughout the week were all interesting and some I think were truly historic, among those lectures you remember for the rest of your lives. And we have them all recorded and available for streaming in this Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1153791734962013/

Finally, though, without the hard work of you students none of this could have happened. You were the real stars of the show. Your presentations Saturday were truly interesting, both the explanations about surveying and photogrammetry and the three design projects. Overseeing student projects is always a challenge, resisting the tendency to assume that everyone sees what I see. In this case the difficulty was amplified by several factors:

1. the fact that I know the site and the program (I was both instructor and “client”) in a way the students could not. 

2. the interchange in an international team, in a language that was native only to me. 

3. our use of different tools, often untested (although I will say these worked amazingly well, from the jamboard to simple screen sharing in Meet)

I found our workshop sessions constructive and hope I was able to help the students with the project and not just slow them down by suggesting changes that were difficult to agree on and implement. I couldn’t have done it without Simge who I have to praise for her incredible balance of empathy and organization. 

A very short video about the summer school

Now I am looking forward to what we can do with all of the material that has come out of this workshop. And to the next Summer School, coming up in a few weeks in Abruzzo.