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Effrosyni Roussou

ESR9

Effrosyni Roussou is an architect hailing from Nafplion, Greece. She holds a BSc and MSc degree from Democritus University of Thrace in Architectural Engineering (2015), and an MSc degree from Chalmers University of Technology in “Architecture and planning beyond sustainability” (2018). She is currently undertaking the challenge to illustrate the benefits of and provide the tools for employing hands-on participatory design methodologies in architectural education through transdisciplinary design-and-build education.

She has worked as a research assistant in several projects as well as a course assistant, coordinator, and project manager for the design-and-build summer course “Dare to Build” at Chalmers University of Technology.

She advocates for bottom-up processes, collaboration and participation in architecture and strongly supports community-building practices through and in the design fields. Her main interests in her field revolve around the interplay between politics, social perspectives, architecture and sustainability and its impact on the shifting role of the architect. Her master thesis at Chalmers (“Co-existing in a crisis-ridden city: Exploring architectural ways to induce commoning practices within an economic crisis context”) aimed at questioning the role of the architect within an alternative way of space production; the architect as an instigator and crossbencher, as an active and equal part of the process, alongside the community.

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Icon kick-off-of-a-new-adventure

Kick-off of a new adventure!

Posted on 18-07-2021

So, this is it. I am here, in 40°C Nicosia, and I’m -digitally- surrounded by awesome people who are going to be my peers and colleagues for the next three years. I must say, I feel a mixture of awe and agitation at what lies ahead of me in this journey. This is why I paired this text with an image of Bilbo Baggins, about to leave Hobbiton behind; because I see a bit of myself in him: clearly out of my comfort zone but nonetheless excited to join this journey! On the 3rd of July we began our 4-day kick-off sessions as a digital meet-and-greet and tuning-in workshop. It felt quite awkward in the beginning, as it is expected when 40+ people meet online for the very first time, but very productive too. I was happy to listen to different perspectives on the meanings of key terms in this endeavour, such as sustainability and transdisciplinarity and try to understand or imagine where everyone’s definitions and opinions come from, what has influenced their way of thinking and steered them in a certain direction. But I was more than happy to already feel a sense of community with my team members, the 14 ESRs with whom I will be working. Through our shared confusion on what happens next, the everyday struggles to settle in new places, surround ourselves with new people and build a new “home” and the hints of insecurity peeking through those moments of sharing all the aforementioned, made me realise that I am indeed not alone in this, neither professionally, nor mentally. And there’s nothing better than finding such ties, or “making kin”, in a world that pushes us to compete, so that the strongest can survive and succeed. After all, as Jack Halberstam* once pointed out, the notion of a universal definition of success is rooted in the western economic system under which we live. But to not wander further away, I’ll just say that it was a highly enjoyable 4-day session, albeit overwhelming at times and I’m looking forward to delving deeper into everyone’s insights on this complicated task we are called to tackle. I really look forward to sharing knowledge and learning from everyone and that’s what I’m primarily here to do. I am here to learn, and the truth is I will never stop being “here to learn”. I will leave you with a quote from a beloved book that has accompanied me since I was a teenager:                 "[…] I will face my fear.                  I will permit it to pass over me and through me.                 And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.                 Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."  - Frank Herbert, in Dune   *If you’d like to delve deeper into how our perception of success is shaped by heteronormative capitalism, check out Halberstam’s book “The queer art of failure”.

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