What should we do with that castle?

09 – 18 August, 2019
Lučenec, Slovakia
Application is closed
17 May 2019

You will learn the soft skills of interdisciplinary collaboration while working on the future scenarios and revitalization of a castle near the Slovakian city Lučenec.

What will you work on and why

The Szalatna Castle was owned by the violinist, composer and music teacher Jenő Hubay. At the end of the First World War, Szalatna became part of the newly-created Czechoslovakia. The castle was nationalized after the Second World War and in 1951 a social institution for disabled children was established there. The institution left the castle in 2012 which has been empty since.

Our partner is the municipality of the Banská Bystrica Region, the owner of the castle. As part of the new regional development plan focusing on social economy, market development, integrated transportation, and education, the municipality has started the revitalization program of empty public buildings – including the Szalatna Castle.

Who are we looking for

We have partnered with the municipality to investigate future scenarios of the castle that will sustain the building, bring new functions, and serve the local community. The municipality is ready to take the best ideas and and develop the castle accordingly. We are looking for participants including, but not limited to, the following areas:

Service design
Business management
Community development
Digital communications

Team facilitators and experts

(More team facilitators to be announced.)

Michala Lipkova

Product Designer, Assistant Professor at Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava

Michala is a designer working along boundaries of product and experience design. She leads commissioned research projects at the Institute of Design at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. Since 2013 she is a managing director of collaborative platform Flowers for Slovakia, focused on promotion of Slovak design abroad. In 2017 she has co-founded hardware startup Benjamin button.


John Thackara

Writer, Advisor, Speaker

John Thackara is a philosopher, writer and advisor. He helps companies and cities design innovation platforms that benefit all life, not just human life. His most recent book (of 12) is How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow's World Today. John curated the celebrated Doors of Perception conference for 20 years, first in Amsterdam, and later in cities throughout India.


Maxim Dedushkov

Founder of Holis School

Maxim is a design expert and strategic designer. He is the founder of HOLIS, co-founder of Hello Wood, an international wood workshop and festival, founder of MOME line, the design agency of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, founder of MOME ID, a user interface course, co-founder of Dedushkov, an innovation strategy and holistic design firm, founding member of CODEC, the Contemporary Design Collaborative.


Slavo Tuleya

Innovation Geek | Venture Builder | Keynote Speaker

Slavo is an expert on Corporate Innovation and Intrapreneurship. In the past, he gained experience by co-launching Innovation labs such as the SKODA AUTO DigiLab and its offices in Tel Aviv and Beijing. Slavo lived in 7 countries in the last 7 years and accumulated his experience from Real-Estate, Utilities, and Automotive. He is a Certified Design Sprint Master and founder of the Czechoslovak Service Design Community.


What will you learn

Although we have different topics for each of our summer schools, they all focus on learning skills that will strengthen your ability to solve complex problems — regardless of the field you come from. We believe that hard skills are important, but with the rapid evolution of technology, a focus on hard skills can potentially leave you vulnerable to change as these often have a shorter shelf life. Soft skills, on the other hand, enable you to adapt to change more easily.

story telling

complex problem


cross-cultural teamwork




What you’ll be doing

You will be working on a real project in an interdisciplinary team because soft skills learning should be experience based. You will attend a 10 days / 9 nights on site workshop with both preparatory work and post-workshop assignment. You will produce project deliveries that might be used for further development and implementation thus achieving real impact in a long run.


An important part of the learning process when working with other people is to be open to, aware of, and efficient when giving and receiving feedback.

Team development

Understand the various tools and research regarding team development and group dynamics. Increase your confidence at utilizing team building tools.

Social impact

Understand how your project might have a positive effect on the social fabric of the community and well-being of individuals and families.

What will you gain

Besides the obvious part of learning the aforementioned mentioned skills, you will be part of an ever growing community of Holis alumni. Holis alumni consist of team facilitators and participants who are spread across the world. It’s a network of like-minded people who are helpful and occasionally even collaborate on projects.

How much does it cost?

This program is a non-profit endeavour. We receive a lot of volunteer work, get support from our sponsors, and grants. Nevertheless, your contribution is essential to make it work. We kindly ask that you pay as much as you can within the following ranges.

Student/Unemployed: €300-400.
(Self)Employed: €400-500.

Register Now!
Deadline 17 May 2019

Application process

Step 1 — Registration
This is you saying that you are interested in participating. We will ask you for some basic personal data and nudge you to complete your application.

Step 2 — Motivation letter and project portfolio
In your motivation letter, please tell us why you would like to attend Holis, what you expect from it, your relevant experiences, what you find interesting about the topic of this year’s summer school, and how can you contribute to the summer school and your team. Your motivation letter should be around 500 words. In your project portfolio, you should present projects that you were part of that are relevant to the summer school. Your project portfolio should be a one-page document.

Step 3 — Shortlisting
We will evaluate your application based on your motivation letter and project portfolio. We are looking for participants who excel in their chosen profession, are eager to learn, open for interdisciplinary collaboration, and have a sense of social and environmental justice. We will evaluate applications on the last day of each month meaning that if you submit your application earlier, you will get your results earlier.

Step 4 — Video interview
We will have a 30 minute interview with every shortlisted applicant to understand each one better and to answer any questions.

Step 5 — Final selection
We will make the final selection of participants one week after the application deadline at the latest. After you pay your participation fee, we will start the preparatory work online.

Why Holis

The Holis approach is different from traditional courses. We pay attention to every aspect of your well-being and learning. Our venue is in a rural  environment away from the rush of big cities; we prepare all of the delicious food that you will eat ourselves; there are opportunities to participate in sporting activities, games, and evening bonfires. All of this is intentionally planned to deliver a unique and unforgettable educational experience.

Learn by doing

We know from experience that people learn best through active doing, giving and receiving peer feedback, and hands-on problem solving.

Work in teams

Collaboration is a core competence in a world of complexity and constant change.

Peer learning

We select only the best candidates so that you can learn from each other.


We facilitate learning in the context of social challenges to make it all immediately relevant and useful.

Global network

We work with top experts and facilitators to provide the most cutting-edge content.

Do good

We facilitate learning in the context of social challenges to make it all immediately relevant and useful.
Register Now!
Deadline 17 May 2019


Why do I need to apply?

Curating the best possible group is what we do. We make sure that you will be inspired by your team members as much as by your team facilitator. And our venues have a limited number of places.

How and when to pay?

You will receive the information regarding how to make the payment once your application has been selected.

What’s included in the price?

Accommodation (9 nights)
Daily 3 meals (9 days)
A carefully selected international interdisciplinary team
An outstanding team facilitator
A real problem/task to work on and make an impact
High quality photos and videos that you can use
Certificate at the end of the programme

Please note that you will be responsible for your travel to and from the venue!

Do you have scholarship?

We offer a limited number of scholarship places for those who can't afford the full fee. With a scholarship you will receive a 60% discount on the student fee. If you are planning to apply for the scholarship please let us know at the end of the application form. Scholarships are awarded based on financial needs and the quality of your application.
We expect a participants with a scholarship to become a Holis Ambassador and help us in our mission to raise the awareness around soft skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, peer learning and social innovation.

What’s the student/employed ratio?

We allocate 30% of the places for students/unemployed.

What’s the cancellation policy?

We might cancel the event if there is no sufficient participants or no sufficient funding. We do everything possible to not to cancel any of our events.
If you have to cancel your participation, here is the deal. If you cancel up to 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the event we will refund 90% of the participation fee. If you cancel 6 weeks or less before the beginning of the event, there will be no refund. This is due to the short notice to reassign your place.

Life can only be understood backwards

The first Holis focused on the future scenarios of an old felt factory in Hungary, 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 the challenges of ageing and retirement in Ajka and Herend (HU), new functions for the Rákóczi-Bánffy ​castle in Gilău (RO), and the challenges of alienation, small-scale farming, public spaces, and well being in Sobole (PL).

Partners and sponsors