In conversation with Tabea Reulecke, organizer of International Summer Academy 2015 at the Campus Idar-Oberstein

Interview  /  BehindTheScenes   Artists
Published: 24.07.2015
In conversation with Tabea Reulecke, organizer of International Summer Academy 2015 at the Campus Idar-Oberstein.
Sanna Svedestedt
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In July 2015 Tabea Reulecke graduated with a MA in Fine Art from Department of Gemstone and Jewellery at the University of Trier. Her graduation project will take physical shape in August 2015, during the International Summer Academy 2015 at the Campus Idar-Oberstein.
Hi Tabea! During you Master’s project you have not only been by the bench - you have been busy organizing an international summery academy. Please tell us about your idea to do this.
Okay, actually I have had this idea of establishing a summer academy for a long time. This dream was following me and I believe that you can realize your dreams. But don’t push it - rather wait for the right moment and here it is!
I used to be an assistant at Idar-Oberstein for six years and during each semester holiday I spent a lot of time in almost empty studios and workshops. Of course I used the time to work on my own pieces and development, but I was always wondering and imagining how I could build and be part of a larger learning community and so the seeds for the summer academy were first planted.

As we all know, imagination can help to go through processes, through a discussion, through a happening, through a complete event, but they will always stay as imaginations, if you don´t start to realize them. At that time I didn’t know what the main goal of the summer academy should be and who would be part of that community - who would teach, and who would learn, but I started to imagine.
So in practical terms, how did you go about it?
I began with my Master in 2013, and its project proposal included: travelling. But it was not just for fun of course. To build my learning community I had to be part of the network - to integrate with it, while I flowed into other cultures, by teaching at different schools, learning from others with different cultures and trying new tastes.

At the same time I built a network along which others could also flow and become part of this global learning community experience, for example Atelier Rudee in Bangkok. To start, I needed to leave my valley of Idar-Oberstein so I tested my wings, which I had let grew all those years and was wondering, where they could bring me.

During the two years I experienced a lot. Three continents, nine countries, I had eight group and four solo exhibitions, and five workshops for more than 100 students. My imaginations became real and going through processes I realized that everything could also change in an instance. Instead of feeling sad or angry I had the choice to adapt to the new wind.

 “Thirsty for creativity”, workshop at Atelier Rudee, Bangkok, Thailand 2013
Can you tell us about a memory that was specifically important during the years of your Master studies?
When I put foot on the Chinese Wall in 2014 it had been an important moment. It reminded me of myself as a teenager and the wish of becoming an architect. Definitely my interest would have been in building bridges instead of walls. Nowadays I am creating bridges, which join together our learning community network.

So far, I have been standing on one side of the bridge as a guest teacher. I got invited to give different workshops in Universities, academies and private schools. I gained knowledge about various approaches and systems and learned to compare and develop my personal likes and dislikes. Now it was time to cross the bridge, stand on the other side as a project manager and bring others into our valley in Idar-Oberstein.
What was your biggest challenge?

My largest challenge was at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology.  I saw how reluctant students were to take their own decision in their creations. Most of them were used to an authoritarian teaching style, such as one, which is also practiced in the army. You had to obey your teacher, without questioning. This experience really showed me what I never want to practice. I confronted them with the opposite. Taking it for granted in the beginning, not questioning myself, if this was totally alright. There I was an alien, believing in the importance of a free creative mind and be able to deal with the outcome. But in the same moment I couldn´t act like a missionary, because I was leaving again and those students were left with a new experience, which could be buried or developed under hard conditions. It felt like planting seeds in-between the gaps of concrete walls.
What are the special features of the teachers of the International Summer Academy 2015 at the Campus Idar-Oberstein?
My main goal in choosing the teachers was, beside their special technical skills, that we come along well together in a team to put the project successfully into practice. Except for one person I have already met everyone personally and so the bridges within our community have already been built.  This I hope will generate a supportive and productive atmosphere within which the students can feel safe to explore their creativity, and they should also get the feeling that it´s nice here.
But of course, I also need to see it in a scientific context. I have organized seven different workshops. Six of them teach technical skills, which have been the most popular, and only one is a creative material research workshop. While filigree got a lot of sign up from Belgium participants, all other workshops, like glass casting, enamelling, brooch making, material research and photography are very mixed in nationality and age.

Who will participate in this first edition of the summer academy?
The participants represent 19 different countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Estonia, Spain, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia,Thailand and Japan. The age range is from 23 to 65 years. All of them have an artistic background, either as students or established jewelry or fashion designers.

At my Master seminar in March the question even came up: what happens, if no one applies? Actually I wasn´t believing it, I am a total optimist, but still, it could happen. I was in a situation where I couldn´t compare my process with someone else here in the University. I didn´t know if it might end as a flop. I didn´t study marketing or business, I simply had to trust my skills. But the efforts were successful and all workshops will take place. There is a frame program with lectures by the artists and master students, cinema, parties and excursions. For the documentation I will have a photographer and someone, who is specialized in making movies. I am in contact with art magazine, which will publish the events and results of the summer academy. This is a pilot project and there are a few things I would make different next time, for example including a discount for the students of the Campus Idar-Oberstein and investing more time on the flyer.
The workshops will take place during August 2015. What are your biggest fears and hopes for the workshop week?
There is nothing I really fear, except for the disunity without communication. I want to carry on to create international learning communities, in which participants will continue to value and build their own bridges and, because they learned something new, made connections with others from across the world, or simply because it has been such an amazing time in the valley of Idar-Oberstein for them, they too will find their wings. I am very grateful for the help I got from all professors, teachers and especially my friends, who believed in me and my dreams and who except me as the person I am. Believe can move mountains. I believe in the incredible, and the incredible believes in me, that´s why I have wings to fly.