Open School for Village Hosts

When: March - August 2023 / 15-19 May 2023
Where: Online / Grottole, Italy
Duration: 6 months / 5 days
Participants: 40

application deadline: 20 January 2023

(call closed)
Photos by Casa Netural

Calling Rural Pioneers!

New projects, and new livelihoods, are sprouting up among Europe’s multitude of small villages and the regions around them. We call the people who start and lead such projects: Village Hosts.  
The Open School for Village Hosts invites applications from rural pioneers, across Europe, to join its first training programme.

To know more, visit the main website of the project ->

Who can apply?

The participants of the Open School for Village Hosts will be individuals or groups already active in their village/region, or with a clear intention to return.

The Open School for Village Hosts open to 40 rural pioneers, social innovators, and enterprising local officials, regional planners, farmers, researchers, farm advisors, engineers, developers, elected officials. Local citizens with unique and valuable knowledge – based on local history and ecology – will be welcome. Must have an overall comprehension of english.

How to apply | Selection process

Project managers and experts of the Open School for Village Hosts will select the best 40 applications.

Applicants will be informed by 31 January 2023.

Training programme

The Open School for Village Hosts invites applications from rural pioneers, across Europe, to join its first  training programme. It begins in March 2023, and lasts six months. Upon completion, you will have gained new skills, new connections, and the detailed plan for a pilot project in your village/region, that is suggested by you.

The six main subjects to be covered in the course

  1. Designing a strategic vision
  2. How to discover and map opportunities and resources
  3. Storytelling of a place
  4. Curating activities and encounters
  5. Assembling cooperation platform & new business models
  6. Designing a pilot project

The skills and qualities involved as Village Host

An unusual combination of knowledge, skills and qualities are needed to be an effective Village Host. Village Hosts need ‘hard’ capabilities such as digital skills, or business planning. But as collaboration experts – people who connect people – a Village Host’s most valuable skills are often so-called ‘soft’ ones: hosting, convening, facilitating, animating, and co-ordinating.

A Village Host needs to be an effective communicator and storyteller, and also know how to connect with the diverse members of a region’s community – from farmers, to local officials.

The benefits to you of participation in the course

On completing the course, you will be comfortable in the role as a community host and convenor. You will be confident when approaching potential funders and government officials. You will have learned about new tools and resources. You will leave with the plan for pilot project in your own village/region.

You will be a member of a 40-strong Peer Learning Circle with members across Europe. Participants in the course will gain a rich collection of stories and inspiration for use in their future work. 

What will be required of you as a participant?

The course is free, but you need to commit time, presence and attention for three phases.

Upon completion of your plan for a pilot project, you will be given a Certificate of Completion.

March, April 2023
Online training
– about three hours a week for two months. Initial preparatory work is done individually or in groups for 40 people in total. Guided by lectures, and preparatory reading, you will investigate a situation local to you – the place, the issues, the actors, and the relationships between them.

May 2023  
Five day in-person training in Grottole, Italy (travel, accommodation and meals covered by us). 20 people will be selected and will attend lectures, workshops, and group assignments. Once back home the 20 people will peer to peer share their knowledge with the rest of 20 participants.

June-August 2023
Develop your local pilot project (three months) and online peer to peer sharing and learning. Reporting and reflection individually or in groups (digitally on the platform).

Holis Facilitators and Experts


Justyna Turek

Co-founder of Change Pilots

Designer, researcher, and initiator of the ideas. Creates processes, experiences and visual systems that allow brands, organizations, and events communicate integral value offered to their users. Her experience comes from working with design studios, product and service companies as well as design and culture centers in Paris, Helsinki, New York, and across Poland. Passionate about sustainable development, Human-Centered Design, and mindfulness.


Maxim Dedushkov

Interdisciplinary Designer

Maxim is kind of designer, kind of entreprenuer. He is the founder of Holis. He also founded many other things. Some of them are still running. That makes him happy. Waste makes him angry. He also works as a consultant in social innovation, design, collective intelligence and management in general.


Márton Gosztonyi


Márton implemented social development programs, economic development programs, and business development programs together with low-income families in disadvantaged settlements in Hungary for more than 10 years. In addition to his development and trainer work, he is an academic researcher as well.

Service Systems Design

Simona Mancusi

Service Systems Design

Latin soul got lost in the Nordics, secretly aspires to become a private detective using her dyslexic overhearing power. Prone to get stuck in questioning rabbit holes and earning headaches out of it. Cares about words. Obsessed with humans and making schemes.

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