Summer School FAQ

Why do you organize Trojan Horse events?

We felt that the Finnish design education and design culture are lacking places and discussion which would encourage us to think what design practises could (and should) be like in the near future. We hope that Trojan Horse will become a long-lasting platform supporting the emergence and facilitating discussions around critical positions on design and architecture in Finland.

For who is the summer school meant for?

The summer school is meant for graphic, spatial and service designers, architects, artists and researchers. It is meant for people interested in those topics. We aim to support people and professionals coming from diverse backgrounds and those who are maybe lacking other support structures.

Who are the other participants?

In the previous years we have had people from graphic design, architecture, urban planning, fashion, service design, creative sustainability, furniture design, engineering, biology, and writing backgrounds and from many places world.

Is there similar summer schools or projects in other parts of the world?

Take a look at these for example:

What does critical architecture and design mean?

For some it might mean designing questions instead of answers. For some others it might mean a design practise which is aware of the basic premises on which this practise is build on. And some others it might mean imagining perspectives which is are currently non existent or suppressed in the design and architecture worlds. In general perhaps something which aims to redefine what an architect or a designer is, and what an architect or a designer does.

Does the summer school have rules?

We do have some rules and a routine which we can change during the summer school.

Can I bring alcohol or other drugs to the island?

No you can’t. The island is owned by the city of Helsinki which uses it for summer camps and recreational purposes. According to their rules drugs and alcohol are not allowed in the island, and we want to respect that. There are marked places for smoking.

Should I bring my own computer?

We are not trying to stage a robinsoncrusoe-esque escape from civilization. It’s good to bring tools and things which you believe are, (or will be or should be) crucial to what you do. What these necessities are is something everyone can decide for themselves. We hope that you take into an account the fact that we do not provide an insurance, so everything you bring to the island is on your own responsibility. It’s good to have a waterproof bag for your gadgets, just in case.

Is there an internet connection in the island?

There is an open wi-fi at the main building, as well as few normal euro sockets. In our own camp there is only electricity from the solar panels which we can use to charge phones and power a projector.

Are we going to be together all the time on the island?

Although the programme emphasizes communal togetherness and discussions we don’t want to force anyone into anything. There is space to have your me-time.

What is the language of communication?

Our mentors and also some of the other participants come from places outside Finland or do not speak Finnish, so English will be the main language in the summer school. As we emphasize informal discussions and dialogue, it’s not necessary to know perfect English.

Are we obliged to do something during the Summer School?

If doing something means following some predefined paths of what doing should be, then no. You also are not expected to represent your discipline or anything like that.

Can it be cold during the nights in August?

Yes. The nights are most likely cool, in the sun during the day it can be really warm. Bring layers and a real warm sleeping bag. More weather info here:

What is a good enough tent?

It’s necessary that the tent is rainproof. There are wooden pallet-like things one can put under the tents to make them more steady and prevent them from getting wet if it rains hard.

Should I bring my own food?

There is a canteen on the island which will provide the meals during the summer school. These meals are covered with the summer school fee. There are no shops on the island so everything extra (candy etc.) one should bring.

What if I don’t really like to be in nature?

What is that which is not nature? And what should being in the nature be? Anyway, the island provides places and infrastructure for many different ways and modes of being. Still, if you really prefer urban environment stay in a tent for one night as soon as possible and let us know if ten more nights feels like an impossible challenge.

Is it possible to leave the island during the summer school?

We have a small Buster motorboat that can take us to the mainland. We have also scheduled a day without official programme, so one can go to Hanko, Helsinki or nearby Bengtskär lighthouse for example.

What if it’s going to rain all the time?

We can use different indoor spaces in the island. There is a barn, different cellar like spaces and a bigger main building with a canteen and If it gets really really extreme we can always relocate to Helsinki.

Are there showers and indoor toilets in the island?

We can use the saunas and warm showers of the island. There is only outside toilets (without running water) in the island.

Are there ticks, snakes or other scary animals in the island?

There are some vipers and ticks, but generally it is very safe in the island.

Baby Vipers are already older at that time of the summer and stay away from humans. The ticks spread a very rare but nasty disease so checking your skin daily and when taking the sauna is a good routine. If you find a tick we’ll have special tweezers to take it off. If you feel you are a popular among ticks, you can take a vaccine against Tick-borne encephalitis in advance.

Can there be cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in the sea in August?

Maybe, can be if the weather is really warm. Often the worst cyanobacteria-time is in July.

What if the Covid-19 epidemy becomes worse and it does not feel safe to be together with other people in an island?

It’s important that everyone feels safe. We will follow the Covid-19 situation, and if it seems that the situation gets worse we will cancel the physical summer school and come together only online. If this happens you will get your summer school fee back.

I can’t come to the summer school but would like to take part to Trojan Horse things later, is that possible?

Trojan Horse organizes events throughout the year, follow our facebook page for more info. We are also hoping to be able to continue organising the summer school in the coming years, as well as put up some smaller events or reading circles which could happen trough out the year in different places and contexts. (Please let us know if you would like us to be part of something!)

To be up to date, check our Facebook page or send an email to and say you want to be on our mailing list.

You can also become a member of the Finnish Design Summer School ry (the organization behind Trojan Horse), become part of the organizing team and/or support us to make this happen also in the coming years. For more information contact us via email at

What if I need to cancel my participation?

If you can’t take part, let us know as soon as possible so we can offer your place to someone else. If you cancel after the first of August we cannot refund your course fee. The fee is only refunded with a medical certificate.