GDA Summer Sessions Tokyo ’17 July 28 — August 13, 2017

About The Summer Sessions

The Summer Sessions is a mobile summer school program developed by Graphic Design Arnhem [GDA], ArtEZ University of Art Arnhem: 16 days, 30 students, 4 tutors and an exceptional location.

The goal of the Summer Sessions is to introduce participants to the concepts behind contemporary (graphic) design research, speculative design and design critique, as well as how to integrate these ideas into one’s own design practice. The Summer Sessions is not a portfolio course. Rather, we encourage participants to engage in intellectual discourse to expand existing notions of contemporary design practice and personal reflection.

Participants will be guided on a daily basis by tutors from GDA and a guest tutor from the host city. The week will alternate between closed-knit collaborations, group debates, individual critiques, and self-reflection. The workshop will culminate in a small exhibition of results on the last day of the workshop. Special guests and visiting artists/designers will participate in the final critique.

Past editions have been held in Nida (2013), Beijing (2014), Detroit (2015), and Mexico City (2016).

Participants of the Summer Sessions are offered  4 ECTS credits for all eligible BA and MA students.

The Summer Sessions will offer the perfect opportunity to work closely with a highly engaged and talented group of international students and practicing designers who are interested in challenging the prevailing conventions of expression and exploring new branches of design-by-research and research-by-design.


Vinca Kruk (Metahaven)

Thomas Castro (LUST)

Hendrik-Jan Grievink (Next Nature Network)

Femke Herregraven (


The Summer Sessions program comprises two phases: Research and Design. The first week is dedicated to research and input. We kick-off the first week with research through several introductory group excursions in which we collect as much (visual) information as possible. The tutors will hold masterclasses to share various research methodologies with you. These are the tools and methods that the tutors themselves use in their daily practices. We will end the first week with a review.

In the second week is output-oriented and dedicated to producing work. You will have the opportunity to sign-up with the tutors for individual talks. These ‘sessions’ are what the Summer Sessions are about: one-to-one dialogue with some of the best critical thinkers and makers in the field. The tutors will help hone your concepts and sketches into viable design outcomes. We end the week with a presentation of your results in a public group show. Special guests and visiting artists/designers will participate in this final critique.


The Summer Sessions is open to BA, MA and PhD students in Graphic Design, Interactive Media, Visual Communication and related studies (Media Theory, Fine Arts, Architecture, Product Design, Film, Creative Writing, etc.) as well as professionals and educators looking for a fresh perspective in their current practices. The program allows for individual research and discourse at a personal level as well as a group dynamic for diversity.

Graphic Design Arnhem

The organizer of the Summer Sessions is Graphic Design Arnhem [GDA], a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Graphic Design at the ArtEZ University of Art Arnhem, Netherlands, with a core emphasis on Typography and Design Research. GDA focuses on the interaction between information, critical thinking and design research. Analysis, research, intuition, creativity, sense and knowledge of visual graphic language, as well as the social, political an cultural aspects of design play an important role in the curriculum. GDA furnishes the students with a creative foundation, an intellectual context and a relevant network to enable personal artistic experimentation.


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We are finalizing the program and will announce the open call for applications soon. If you would like to be informed once we announce the call, please fill-in the form below.

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