Trojan Horse Summer School 2021 – “Fire of Talk, Action and Care”

Trojan Horse Summer School 2021 cover picture for the website
Trojan Horse Summer School 2022 – “The fire of talk, action and care”

Trojan Horse Summer School 2021
“The fire of talk, action and care”
August 2 – 8, 2021
With Dorothy Zablah, Mercedes Balarezo Fernández, Sara Kaaman, Kaisa Karvinen, Roby Redgrave, Jaroslav Toussaint and Tommi Vasko


The 2021 Trojan Horse summer school gathered around the topics of fire. For us, fire is an energy, an element, a metaphor, a spatial material entity and a historic setting for holding dialogue. 

During the first half of the summer school week Dorothy Zablah and Mercedes Balarezo Fernández hosted workshops about care and timelessness as resistance. These magical explorations included meditation with Ceremonial Cacao, exercises with voice and body connection, and collective non-linear sense making.

In the second half of the week the Trojan Horse board took time to think about how work and organize our collaboration now and in the future. We also hosted the Trojan Horse annual meeting and invited the Trojan Horses of the previous years to return to Bengtsår for the weekend.


“The fire of talk, action and care”

In the time of human beings, fire and its craft have been integral to the livelihood, survival and reproduction of human life, societies, cultures and a shared understanding of the future. Today however, fire contains heavier narratives. From the ongoing burning of fossil-fuels, to seasonal bushfires beyond human control, fire has become a destroyer as much as it is a builder, enabler and sustainer of life. Fire is also a signifier of emotional and physical intensity, a force for the raging social and environmental injustices the world faces. In our processes of rebuilding and relearning, fire can become a means to gather and a reminder of the importance of our relationships and reproductive work.

In the book The End of Man A Feminist Counterapocalypse, writer and researcher Joanna Zylinska asks: 

“[I]f unbridled progress is no longer an option, what kinds of coexistences and collaborations do we want to create in its aftermath?”

In striving for more caring co-existences, the 2021 Trojan Horse summer school was about the fire we can create together in the act (and scenography) of coming together to talk. Here our aim was to use fire as the center for our action, dialogue, democracy and communality.
The summer school saw the need to strengthen architects, artists and designers’ underrepresented but fundamental skills of inter- communication and dialogue, building upon our knowledge and definition of what it means to work creatively now and in the future. In this summer school we kindle the fire of our fields, and work to understand art, architecture and design and their potential to become more effective as intersectional, decolonial and anti-racist practices.