Vares logo by Maria Muuk. Illustration by FOLD

From August 16 to 23, the first Valga Architecture Residency (VARES) summer school will take place in the Latvian-Estonian border city of Valga, focusing on spatial activism practices. Professionals and amateurs interested in this topic are invited to apply for the programme by July 15.

Stories Editorial July 2, 2024

The inaugural VARES Summer School will delve into the multifaceted topic of spatial activism. We will explore theoretical perspectives on the definition of spatial activism and the various forms it can take. Additionally, we will engage in practical discussions and share knowledge on what can be achieved through spatial activism, including how communities can be empowered to shape their own environments and how bureaucratic systems can either support or hinder such efforts in both urban and rural settings.


Moreover, we will look into activism on behalf of other species, addressing the challenges faced by non-human entities that cannot advocate for themselves within legal systems. This will involve exploring concepts of more-than-human agency and multispecies assemblages. The programme will also feature hands-on activities, including space-making initiatives and participatory performative acts of spatial activism. Read more about the programme here.


The summer school is open to both experienced professionals and amateurs: architects, designers, artists, writers, and thinkers interested in spatial activism. Ten participants will be selected from all applications to take part in the summer school programme from August 16 to 23. Participation is free of charge, and VARES will provide shared accommodation, meals, and travel support. To apply, interested applicants are invited to send their CV and a short motivation letter to by July 15.


The summer school is organised by VARES, in collaboration with the Finnish artists’ and architects’ communities Art for All and You Tell Me Collective, the Latvian artistic research network Gel, and the Estonian art collective Kunstiryhmitus.


VARES is a self-initiated interdisciplinary residency for spatial practice that focuses on slow architecture practice, material repurposing, spatial experimentation, and research. This year, the residency hosts 50 architects, artists, and researchers from all over the world. Situated on the border of Estonia and Latvia, the residency has made its nest in an old school from the 1930s, a two storey building that will slowly be transformed into a house museum, a collection of experiments, spatial interventions and ideas left behind by the residents living there. VARES is a part of the Tartu 2024 Culture Capital of Europe main programme Arts of Survival.