Know-How/Show-How is an independent learning platform that explores design and art practice as a means of cultural and social transformation, treating topical issues related to the urban environment.

The program’s mission is to support personal development of skills and life experience through encounters that center around “learning by doing”. Today’s rapid transformations in the cultural and social environments are influencing the distribution of knowledge and challenge us to evaluate our intellectual strenghts on a daily basis.

From 2015 onwards the program has been realized every summer in Sofia. This year, for the first time, it will be held in Plovdiv, which is the reason for our interview with Dima Stefanova – the main driving force behind the summer program.

Here is a wrap up of our conversation. The new line in this upcoming edition is that the program is focused on a specific research on which all participants will be working together. The program will begin with the creation of a visual inventory of the potential strenghts of the Kyuchuk Paris neighborhood in Plovdiv, after that will be developed strategies for product innovations and solutions based on the documented and structured research material. The workshop will take place in the area of the Thrace community center. The choice of this place is related to its position as a center of cultural and educational spread, as well as its physical space, which has a special characteristic and functionality. The needs of this space, in the context of a community center, will serve as a starting point for the development of ideas.

Dima says that the challenges she came across taught her to measure the achievements not as successful or unsuccessful, but as part of a long-term process. Moreover, achieving synergy between actors in the process – people, environment, resources – is the most valuable. She advises to accept achievements and clashes both as lessons and as an opportunity for personal transformation.
On the question which is her favorite moment and outcome from the whole process, Dima says that the creation of each edition is always very exciting and tied up with many favorite moments. The excitement is unique whenever the meeting with all participants happen for the first time. Everyone brings with them their unique experience and a worldview, which is sort of a distinct color. The feeling that this range of colors has formed, because of the joint efforts of everyone around you, is incomparable.

< Work in process and presentations by the participants of the KHSH 2017 edition - photos: Veselina Foteva >

Dima is excited about the whole process that will take place in several phases. Work on terrain, as well as data collection and visualization, is a field that has excited her since the creation of the first edition Know-How/Show-How platform. It was created to document the experience and knowledge of different individuals and to be preserved and passed onto next generations. The achievement goal of this edition is, on one hand, to bring out the inherited knowledge accumulated in the industrial and cultural layer of the place, and on the other hand, to bring this potential into circulation by developing a series of innovative projects. Through these interventions KHSH hope not only to contribute to the identification of the neighborhood, but also to find the right model for the environmentally absorption of the material and intellectual resources in it. Dima says that they are hoping for this model to become a tool for inspirational innovation, design, artistic and social discovery. After the first stage, which will be explanatory and experimental, they will try to implement some of the projects at a later stage of the program. The presentation will be combined with the theoretical program and podium, during which, in addition to being able to reflect on concrete results and processes, they will also be able to open the discussion on the development of these models with a wide range of experts.
At the same time, Dima is very excited about what dynamics will develop in the new context and structure, as well as their collaboration with Elmo Vermijs, Tuhlla Studio, Trakhia center, and all the special guests.

< Tuhlla Studio - the participants from Plovdiv at the 2018th KHSH program >

The initial reason and motivation for this year’s edition of KHSH to be in Plovdiv, Dima says, was a partnership they wanted to do with One Design Week. Because of this initiative’s reason to place the role of design not only as a tool for economic development, but also as a tool for cultural and social transformation. Subsequently they developed a plan for an open invitation to Plovdiv 2019 and fortunately it was approved.
The position of Kyuchuk Paris neighborhood is very interesting: it is both a periphery, and a border area with the city’s center, at the same time there are industrial production, cultural and social life. This variation of different scales and layers is what made them to choose this place. It embodies similar peripheral zones in many cities around the world, and through their presence and attention, they want to find out whether such a periphery part can become a model and center of transformation which is in harmony with the environment and its needs. Synthesized briefly, from the periphery to the center, or from Here and there to little Paris.

< photo: People of Plovdiv >

Important note: You can still join as a participant by submitting your application by June 25th, 2018. Learn more about the fourth edition of the International Summer Academy Know-How/Show-How on their official page.