Tools For Transformation – A guide to collaborative, social and impactful projects

For the past five years the REITIR team has been running an annual two-week experimental workshop in Siglufjörður. The workshop is about collaboration, site-awareness, cross-disciplinary tools, social engagement and interventions in public space. It’s known as the REITIR workshop, but there is more to it than that.
Two members from the team, Arnar Ómarsson and Ari Marteinsson had a discussion about the project and the publication of the book Tools For Transformation wich is based on the methodes used at the workshop.
 
Arnar Ómarsson: We’ve always looked at the workshop as a sort of a study. We started looking at the nature of collaborations in its broadest sense and gradually narrowed the scope and shaped our approach. To the public, this study takes the shape of a two week intensive workshop, but to us it is running throughout the whole year, and bleeds into everything else we do.
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The participants come from all around the world and go through a selection process months prior to the workshop. REITIR receives around one hundred applications each year and accept about 25 participants.
 
The number of participants fluctuates between 20 and 25 actually. It’s super hard to select participants, but we get a lot of data from them. We filter out applicants over several rounds and talk to the final group via video chat to make sure they’re up to the task.
Ari Marteinsson: We have a massive network, because we have been doing projects and working in this field for years. So a lot of the time we approach people we know are perfect for the workshop. Site-awareness is deeply rooted in REITIR: the locality, Siglufjörður, is the physical structure that influences everything made at the workshop.
AM: We want to understand the places we work and how to make our stay there impactful
AÓ: … and we find new ways of doing that every year.
AM: The methods we have developed could be applied in many other contexts. It’s important to frame our ideas of site-specificity correctly, so we don’t limit the creative process. One way of looking at it, is that REITIR is a “factory of methods and concepts” that can be “exported” with the appropriate framing.
bokFor the past months they have immersed themselves and a few other trusted collaborators in a comprehensive and detailed examination of the elements and structure of REITIR. The outcome is a book that is set to be published later this year.
AM The book is called REITIR: Tools for Transformation. It’s a very practical guide for anyone who is interested in cross-disciplinary collaborations, workshop organisation, site-specific projects and public space interventions. It includes a lot of big words – but it all boils down to the simple ideas of “do stuff yourself”, “be your own boss” and “act on your ideas”. This book provides the tools to do that.
AÓ: We’re putting everything we know about project work into this book, and between the seven of us we’ve got decades of experience of creating and organising projects of all sorts around the world. We’re opening up the process and enabling others to utilise our methods in a way that suits them. 
AM: The book is registered as “copy-left” concept, meaning the opposite of “copyright”; please use, copy and share anything from the book!
REITIR: Tools For Transformation will be available for free on the REITIR website for anyone to download, use and share. The book is in standard A4 format to make it easy and cheap to print.
AÓ: We decided to go with this standard format after considering a lot of options. It’s a statement, I guess, and an uncommon format for books – but we want everyone to be able to print it, use it and own it.

Promotional video about REITIR: Tools for transformation:


REITIR is a workshop by Urban Space Expanders (USE), a non-profit organisation based in Aarhus, Denmark and Reykjavík, Iceland. Through USE, REITIR is part of a larger organisation that publishes books, does workshops, talks and events about urban projects.

For further information about REITIR, look at their website listed below and follow the book making process on their facebook page.