How might we spark transformation journeys with new education model for university students?

ATÖLYE organized an intense summer school for 15 high performance, curated students from Abdullah Gül University’s different departments with a pioneering educational model. The purpose was to acquire 21st century competencies in order to be able to develop innovative and social impact oriented project ideas to complex problems. The program was based on the 11th Sustainable Development Goal of United Nations: “Sustainable Cities and Communities”.

Project Team
Ayşesu Çelik, Bala Gürcan, Buğra Çelik, Ceylan Uşaki Erali, Duygu Kambur, Ebru Boyacı, Emre Erbirer, Engin Ayaz, Mertcan Avcı, Nesile Yalçın, Orhun Canca, Özge Aytan, Öykü Attila, Serdar Paktin

Project Lead
Ceylan Uşaki Erali

Bihter Çelik (Urban Interventions), Kağan Yaldızkaya (UX Feedback), Ömer Hacıömeroğlu (Coaching)

Ayça İnce (Urban Ecology), Burçin Çevik (Participatory Design), Faruk Göksu (Urban Planning), Kutlukhan Perker (Illustration Art), Sinan Logie (Urban Politics), Can Akat (Video & Photography)

Students need to acquire a variety of technical and social skills in order to be able to bring innovative solutions to today’s complex problems. The summer school aimed that students would become proactive change agents starting with the experience and knowledge gained. The purpose is the formationtow- ards individuals who are human-oriented, care for social impact, believe in creative thinking and ignite transformation.


In this direction, students developed attitudes towards interdisciplinary and participatory working reflex, social and environmental impact awareness, and systems thinking while aquiring technical information on the main topics such as research, prototyping, innovative ideas, and effective presentation.

To this respect, students participated in more than a dozen trainings, seminars and workshops on specific topics such as design thinking, visual thinking, creative presentation techniques, product-service-system design, social entrepreneurship, urban ecology, participative design processes, all held by experts from the ATÖLYE community and the wider network. In addition to these core topics, students gained experience in teamwork and project management by means of a variety of innovative approaches.

Pre-Summer School, the ATÖLYE team conducted extensive benchmarking research on design thinking, lean business, Theory U, liberating structures and the Kaospilot approach and crafted a custom learning journey. Alongside, inspirational speakers and sites in Istanbul were canvassed to develop an applied learning methodology. Various ac- ademic resources within the scope of “Sustainable City and Living Areas” provided the theoretical rigor to support this process.

Throughout Summer School, various institutions were visited so that students could be inspired by the experience of the experts. In order to acquire a deep understanding on the theme and to discover their interest within, students were requested to do both literature research and data collection using various design research techniques.


A variety of design solutions were developed, ranging from a vertical common space for neighbourhood of Şişli; an independent communication system and product design that will be used to coordinate in case of earthquake; and a fun mobile app that would create interaction between citizens of Istanbul during their time spent on public transportation. The process was iterative, with plenty of ideation, rapid prototyping and user testing sessions. At the end of this design work, students explored creative presentation techniques and methods to effectively present concept ideas in the face of a large crowd.

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