In early September 2020, six Q+ students had the opportunity to take part in the Südtirol Summer School, which takes place every year at Castle Velthurns near Brixen, Italy. The Summer School was co-organized by Maxi Obexer, who has been a guest of Q+ several times. This year's topic was "Move on. But how?"
The fact that this year's Summer School happened at all is a testament to the hard work of its organizers, who fought to realize the event against all odds. After the severe toll the Corona pandemic took on the South Tyrol region, the Summer School shifted focus to explore what solidary action can look like now:
"If we asked for forms of solidary action before the pandemic, we now ask for it even more. It is clear that once more, it is women who "naturally" help to keep human communities together on all levels. Finally we want to investigate the cause of the pandemic. Even though it may be unclear, it is certain that it is connected to humanity's unstoppable advance into the natural world, and the destruction of diversity. Move on, but how? – asks what other outcome exists, rather than going back to where we maneuvered ourselves into. Now that we have learned how vulnerable we are." (http://www.summerschoolsuedtirol.eu/)
The Summer School hosted literary and dramatic workshops, where the group of 20 theater authors and the Q+ students exchanged thoughts on concrete projects and texts. In the evening, a public forum offered lectures and performances with various guests from culture, academia and society. Here, current sociopolitical questions were debated. For example, the author Kathrin Röggla spoke about "literary forms of solidary thought," the physician and founder of the aid organization medica mondiale Monika Hauser discussed "women's solidary actions," and Vernesa and Amira Berba recited "The Alphabet of War" and impressed with their performance of South-East European folk songs.
The event took place at the beautiful Castle Velthurns, which once served as a prince-bishop's summer residence and stands at the center of its small town. After a guided tour, the participants were especially fascinated by the wooden intarsias.
In the workshops, the Q+ students gained an inside look at the current projects and writing processes of the authors, who brought considerable expertise from areas such as journalism, dramatic writing and arts, theater direction, and/or editing. In addition, the Q+ students had the chance to write their own texts and discuss them with the experts. This way, they "received impulses for creative writing from outside the students' bubble," explained Maylin. Katharina stressed the "open attitude towards the students and each other," and Melanie stated, "I found my time incredible exciting and rewarding. Not only did I learn much about theater and writing, I was also forced to leave my comfort zone and enter a completely unfamiliar field. In this context I often had to struggle with "impostor syndrome," yet in many situations I found that my knowledge and my comments were considered helpful and important, no matter how much I thought they weren't worth as much as those from others. So, this Summer School also contributed to my personal growth. It was an exciting time!"
At noon and in the evening, there were plenty of opportunities to exchange thoughts over the "genius" (Katharina) food. Here, "personal networks" (Laris) grew and persisted even after the Summer School. The Summer School was brought to a conclusion with a reading of all the authors' and students' texts. The final day featured a hike and offered a fantastic view over the area to all participants.
Here you can read the Q+ students' texts that were written at the Summer School (in German):
"Bewerbung für die Summer School" by Laris (American studies)
"Die Zwiebel" by Melanie Kroska (English Literature and Culture)
"Endlich" by Maylin Amann (History, German studies)
"Erwartung" by Sarah J. B. (Education studies)
"Zeitgefühl" by Dominik Schöffling (Economics)