The mention of Eike König’s After School Club is a topic met with complete excitement by creatives. The event, which sits somewhere between a bootcamp and a festival, embodies the ethos of most designers: to communicate in the best way possible.
ASC has been running infrequently since 2012 and is held at Hfg Offenbach where Eike has a class and this year the designers and his students want to bring it back. However in order to offer free education to a bunch of budding designers who need it now than more than ever, they need a hand.
“So what’s so special about it? Every time we talk about ASC it feels like it was a magic moment, not just for the students but also for our guests,” Eike König tells It’s Nice That. “It’s the atmosphere, the way people work together, share their knowledge, network and become friends…without any border or distance between a professional and a student.”
The back catalogue of After School Club’s line-up’s illustrates Eike’s point clearly. Mirko Borsche, Aries Moross, Anthony Burrill, Stefan Marx, Haw Lin, Tobias Rehberger, Studio Feixen’s Felix Pfaffili, Mark Kremers, and many more have guided workshops, held seminars and taught 120 students a year their masterful ways. Yet despite the headliners, ASC isn’t an example of a design festival where these people talk at you, it’s a joint discussion.
The framework Eike and his students have built in this sense is unique. “I think this is more than just an art and design festival/camp. It’s a social thing,” Eike explains. “Bringing together young creative students from different disciplines, and parts of this planet, to work together with our international guests on a specific social topic that has a relevant impact on how we can design our future. Especially in these dystopian times it’s good to be positive and think positive.”
One of the key parts of After School Club that this year’s team of students want to ensure is that the festival is kept free. “We strongly believe in the principle of free education,” this year’s organisation team tell It’s Nice That. “That is why the quality of the student’s work is the only thing that matters in the election procedure for the festival.” Other than material costs, ASC will remain free of charge this year and is open for anyone in the world to apply. The quality of your work is the only thing that matters during the application, “it does not depend on the size of your wallet,” says Eike.
But to logistically achieve this without having a commercial supporter, After School Club have set up a crowdfunding campaign to help with the cost. There are numerous ways to donate and receive something return too: a pin set, socks, enamel cups, t-shirts by some of Eike’s class members are all available depending on donations. Bigger donations are rewarded with prints by Niklaus Troxler, Stefan Marx, Eike König, Chris Harnan and Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, at a much cheaper price than you’d usually be able to buy their work for too.
“The plan is to reactivate our original idea of a free art and design festival for students that was successful from the beginning, liked, recommended and talked about by everyone with sparkling eyes. That is the feeling and energy we want to have back.”
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.