Where do social innovators go on “workation”?

Maxim Dedushkov

May 7, 2020


The attraction is the possibility of learning how to foster social innovation and complex problem solving through interdisciplinary collaboration, critical thinking, storytelling and creativity. The 10-day long camps, held in August and September, are run by Holis, a social innovation organization founded in Hungary in 2014. 

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Carefully selected participants collaborate together on a social innovation challenge relevant to the location of the camp; it could be an early childhood development system or a challenge to activate the local community. Previous camps tackled issues such as reinvigorating a felt factory and the local community in Hungary, rural social innovation in Poland and how to revitalize the Odemira region in Portugal. It is not a holiday camp by any means, rather a time to come together to work and think hard collectively to solve a challenge. 

Accommodation is in scout camps or yurt-style tents and extra-curricular activities involve yoga, running and star-gazing. The school is not just about solving challenges; it is also about healthy living and healthy eating (plant-based food). Participants build empathy towards others and the environment through the many activities and interviews with the local community. Participants will come away with new experiences and skills, new friends and a sense of accomplishment.  

Holis is looking for participants from diverse backgrounds including, but not limited to, the following areas: Architecture, Behavioral Change; Communication; Community Building; Event Organising; Local and Regional Governance; Marketing; Service Design; Sociology; System Change and Visual Communication. 

If you want to learn skills that will help you be a change agent, a champion for purpose-led organisations and a better team player in interdisciplinary teams while working on social impact projects, Holis is the place for you. 

Interested? What will it be—Slovakia or Portugal? Both? 

Apply by 17 May*:

Early Childhood Development System in Visegrad Region, Slovakia
14 – 23 August, 2020

Activate the Local Community, Sabóia, Portugal
4 – 13 September, 2020

*Holis School will go on as scheduled until further notice so we encourage you to apply and will make the decision to reschedule closer to the date of the camps if needed. In the meantime, please take care of yourself and the people around you.


General info

Holis is a place-based learning programme to foster social innovation and complex problem solving through interdisciplinary collaboration, critical thinking, storytelling and creativity. Every year we bring together participants from a wide range of disciplines and culture to work on social innovation projects with the support of outstanding experts and team facilitators.

Holis was founded by Maxim Dedushkov in 2014 but the idea of interdisciplinary learning was born around 2010. Maxim was leading the design agency of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. He was running client-facing projects with teams of university students and realised quickly that designers are not capable of doing everything (despite some of them claiming the opposite). Thus the idea of a project-based interdisciplinary learning experience was born.

Maxim had to wait 4 years to put his idea in practice when he became the Head of Research and Education at Design Terminal, a governmental organisation to support the Hungarian creative industry. With the generous support of this organisation and an exciting opportunity in a small Hungarian town, Kőszeg, Holis started.

The first Holis focused on the future scenarios for an old felt factory, which at the time was suffering from a 90% loss of income due to the rise in popularity of synthetic felts. As a result of the solutions that Holis participants helped to identify and implement, the felt factory now has new owners, new products, and other thriving business activities. Since then we’ve been working on many social challenges in many places around Europe.


“I warmly recommend the Holis summer schools. They are exactly the kind of educational programme next-generation professionals need - place-based, interdisciplinary, collaborative.” John Thackara

“Now more than ever we need to foster cooperation across disciplines, cultures and geographies to support social innovation. I’m convinced of the value of place-specific, experiential learning, and the Holis summer schools create fantastic opportunities and benefits, not only for the talented (and lucky) participants but for the local partner enterprises and communities." Dr John Stevens, Senior Lecturer, Royal College of Art, London

“Creative problem solving and empathy are fast becoming the top capacities necessary for our future lives. This means we need new models of education. Ones that mix different ways of thinking and doing things and equip us with collaborative know-how. Holis is part of this new generation of progressive and interdisciplinary learning programmes challenging disciplinary silos.” Daniel Charny, Professor of Design, Kingston University London

“Holis is the future of education. Diverse groups of people coming together to learn new skills by solving real problems.” Roland Harwood, Founder, We Are Liminal

Quick facts

Founded in 2014 in Hungary.

170 alumni (former participants) around the world.

Participants represent more than 30 nationalities.

25 social innovation projects

Press enquiries

Contact us at press@weareholis.org