Workshop: Skopje Brutalism Trail – Call for Participation

Dear Republic-Performance essay for the Post office building in Skopje.
Photo by Ljubica Angelkova

As part of our Fieldwork Projects and Events, the workshop Skopje Brutalism Trail will be held on 28-30 September 2022 in Skopje, North Macedonia, with a program that combines lectures, on-site activities, exploration of the brutalist architecture of the city, engaging discussions and a creative workshop. The workshop is open to researchers in various fields including but not limited to architecture, urbanism, visual and performative arts, social studies, humanities and literary studies, engaged in all forms of writing. The three-day event will take place at the Faculty of Architecture University Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, in collaboration with the AKTO festival of contemporary visual and performing arts (https://akto-fru.org/en/).

The workshop will focus on buildings from the brutalist legacy of the city dating from the 1970s and will study this legacy from a theatrical perspective. The aim is to explore the meaningfulness of architecture that goes beyond the discursive or visual observations of spatial attributes. During the workshop, the participants will be asked to establish their own relationship with a particular abandoned building in a lively residential area in the city of Skopje. Following onsite investigations, they will develop their personal understanding of the workshop’s three main themes: brutalism (brutalist architecture), solidarity/community building and creative writing in relation to the abandoned building. To help navigate the work, a series of tutored sessions will be organized in a form of reading-rehearsals as used in theatrical play-making. Namely, it is the process when actors together with the director and the play-writer build the narrative and develop characters, and the dramatic text is transformed for a performance on stage.

Prior to the workshop, the participants will receive twelve semi-fictional stories resulting from previous research and compiled information about the building. The challenge is to understand the building as a text and develop possibilities for its particular ‘character’. These stories, together with the three general themes, will help participants to extract various synchronicities as a basic outline in the process of developing their own ‘story’ and, by transition, personal reflection on the building. The stories are expected to be expressed in a visual, written or combined medium that later will be published in a form of neighbourhood newspaper and will be disseminated locally. Some of the material produced during the workshop will be used in the script for the artistic performance This building talks (truly) that involves professional and amateur actors and will be performed in local public spaces to raise awareness of the social impact of architecture.    

The call is open to all members of the COST Action – Writing Urban Places. We welcome altogether 20 people from the Action to take part in the workshop. If you are interested in participating, please fill in this application form by 20 June 2022. All applicants will be contacted by July 1st with information regarding their participation. Should you have any questions, get in touch with us by sending your questions and comments to: bajkovski.blagoja@arh.ukim.edu.mk  

Local organising team 
Faculty of Architecture University Ss. Cyril and Methodius Skopje
Assoc. Prof. Slobodan Velevski
Assoc. Prof. Marija Mano Velevska
Teaching Assistant Blagoja Bajkovski
Teaching Assistant Ana Rafailovska

Guest Speakers

Filip Jovanovski, Artist/Architect, Skopje https://akto-fru.org/en/

Assoc. Prof. Ana Ivanovska Deskova, Faculty of Architecture Skopje TBC
Assist. Prof. Aleksandar Staničić, TU Delft

Boris Bakal, Artist, Zagreb TBC https://bacaci-sjenki.hr/en/

Miodrag Kuc, Artist/Architect, Berlin https://www.zku-berlin.org/

Host City: Skopje (N. Macedonia)  

Title: Skopje Brutalism Trail

Type of event: Workshop for members within the framework of the COST Action CA18126 Writing Urban Places. New Narratives of the European City.

Dates: 28-30 September 2022

Contact person: Blagoja Bajkovski, bajkovski.blagoja@arh.ukim.edu.mk

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