„Auf die Plätze…“ developed and activated participative installations for young people in public spaces as part of outreach youth work. Three pop-up-actions discovered their needs, interests, conflicts and potentials in public space in new ways and supported this group in representing their interests and claiming a part of the space for them. At the same time, the installations and the generated exchange helped to collect ideas and impulses for district-related work and urban planning measures.
The Berlin association "Nachbarschaftshaus Wannseebad“, an initiative for a lively, social and ecological urban culture in the Steglitz-Zehlendorf district, initiated the project „Auf die Plätze…“ as part of its outreach youth work. Therefor they commissioned the collective „Pop-Up Ma Parole“, consisting of the graphic designer Janine Vandamme-Schlimpert and the architect Robert Ilgen. The collective was founded in 2019 during the residency program "Oh My Goethe!“ at the Goethe Institute in Nancy. It bundles the strengths of both partners disciplines by designing and realising pop-up architectures that invite to visual communication, stimulate thought and initiate a narrative in which everyone with their specific background can have their say.
For the project „Auf die Plätze…“ the collective was tasked to develop interactive installations for children and young people in public spaces as part of outreach youth work and to activate them together with the street workers. The aim was to discover the needs, interests, conflicts and potentials of young people in public space in new ways and support them in representing their interests and claiming a part of the space for them. At the same time, the installations and the generated exchange should be used to develop ideas and impulses for district-related work and urban planning measures.
For more than three weeks actions were carried out at 3 different locations in the catchment area. These actions were divided into a workshop for building the structures together, an interactive action day in public space and the temporary retention of the work results on site as a kind of open-air exhibition.
Parts of the installations then traveled to France to generate a transnational exchange as part of the Strasbourg Creative Biennale.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context
The project initiates processes in public space and provides a platform for public discourse by visualising opinions directly at the point of origin. Simple means are used to draw attention to potential and possibilities. The project thus promotes sustainable structural developments in a creative participatory process. With its low-threshold offering, it invites a broad section of the population to participate and brings discussion topics into the public space at an early stage. It thus contributes, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to MAKE CITIES AND SETTLEMENTS INCLUSIVE, SAFE, RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE and helps to PROMOTE PEACEFUL AND INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
The renewable raw material wood was primarily used for the construction of the installations. In order to act sustainably even in temporary processes, the structures were designed in such a way that they can either be easily converted and reused for further actions (as already happened during and many times after the project) or, if necessary, broken down into their elements and put back together in a completely new form. In this way, the project respects the MEASURES TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS EFFECTS and implements them even on a small scale.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context
Aesthetics, in the sense of the theory of perception and sensual viewing, is the secret ingredient of this project. The collective "Pop-Up Ma Parole" was hired especially for this. They bring with them many years of high-quality professional experience from practice and teaching in the fields of architecture and graphic design and combine this in their temporary pop-up installations.
Aesthetics fulfills a variety of tasks in this project:
The structures form "stumbling blocks" in public space, surprise with their shape and placement and thus arouse curiosity. This stimulates interest and discussion of the transported content.
The creative process has a great driving force and encourages intensive participation. Expressing yourself creatively and communicating conveys joy and satisfaction. In the process, physically perceptible objects are created parallel to the purely intellectual process. This conveys the feeling of having really created something and of making an essential contribution.
The conveyed thoughts, ideas and messages receive a value through their appealing and special aesthetics, which allows to experience greater appreciation.
The aesthetics with a focus on the manual and craft makes the work of each individual visible as an element in the development process of a large whole and thus encourages participation. Within this simple means and in a short time Messages and opinions can be made visible to a broad public.
The visual attention and value does not leave the transported content unnoticed in public space. Intensive public debates arose during the creative process and beyond.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context
The neighborhood and the public space are of central importance for the growing up of children and young people. Public spaces have important functions for young people in terms of socialisation and identity development. They are meeting places, stages of representation, areas of retreat or exploration, places of experimentation and confrontation with the adult world. The needs and forms of appropriation of young people often come into conflict with those of adults in public spaces. As part of outreach youth (social) work, an interactive and open exchange in public space was initiated. The installations were built and designed together with the children and young people, but also with other interested people.
In this way we were able to discover the needs, interests and potential of the young people encountered in public space and support them in representing their interests and claiming part of the space for themselves. This was only possible in a participatory manner with everyone. At the same time ideas and impulses for the quarter-related work and urban planning measures were developed with the help of the installations and the generated exchange as well as the targeted examination of the public spaces, conflicts and uncertainties. This should lead to upgrading affected places, expanding preventive measures to other areas in the social area and the district specialist offices and thus strengthening youth work.
The project is exemplary for integrative processes in public space. It can be applied to a wide variety of groups, since it goes specifically to the place of conflict. It does not confront the group concerned with facts, but gives them the opportunity to get involved and to help them shaping their environment and life situation.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary
Participatory installations and pop-up structures were developed to ask questions, create encounters - to mediate, to express oneself, to connect, to act and to try oneself out. With these installations the project carried out SUSTAINABLE, AESTHETIC and INCLUSIVE actions that attracted public attention and thus encouraged dialogue and exchange. Public spaces, conflicts, opinions and experiences were made visible and stimulated reflection.
This approach is exemplary, as it is in no way limited to groups of young people and applies to all social groups in a variety of ways.
Furthermore, the project should encourage imitation. It shows how socially relevant processes can be initiated, accompanied, controlled and promoted and how these can be designed to be inclusive.
“Auf die Plätze…” is an attractive, sustainable and inclusive project that helps to give young people a sense of belonging in public spaces and gives “spirit” and “meaning” to the visited communities and places, as well as celebrating their diversity . It illustrates how regenerative processes can help restore pride at the local level or shape forward-looking plans for communities.
The temporary conversion of rooms to enable a positive exchange between generations and community building played an important role. In doing so, a model was developed, based on local culture, local traditions, local know-how, local crafts and the diversity and creativity of our time, addressing aspects of our daily lives that provide a sense of belonging at a local level. The project makes a simultaneous contribution to sustainability, inclusion and quality of experience for people. The project promotes interdisciplinary, social and creative approaches. Furthermore, it is based on participatory processes, involves the young communities, and exhibits reproducibility by providing local solutions to global challenges and transporting them across borders by exhibiting parts of the resulting installations in other places, cities and even in other countries.
Please also explain the benefits that derived from their involvement.
In advance, young people were asked to register for 3 construction workshops. Furthermore, within this framework, a cooperation with a partner project for the integration of children from families in asylum could be created. The workshops enabled an intensive, uncomplicated exchange with the young people in the work process and provided the deepest insights into their needs.
The second phase consisted of outreach actions in which relevant places were filled with the described pop-up installations. Here, a subliminal offer was created for the relevant group of people and they were approached directly and invited to participate.
The third phase was the temporary exhibition of the results in public space. This encouraged the local population to deal with the issues set and left space for direct and indirect reactions.
The project addresses the following global issues at the local level:
The SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WORLD AND CLIMATE CHANGE is demonstrated on a small scale. With the help of sustainable and resource-saving objects, a broad social platform is created for local development issues. The protection of RESOURCES can be found in the materialisation of the installations as well as in the process culture, since they help to avoid the negative effects of planning errors at an early stage.
The processes convey lived DEMOCRACY at the base. They give every individual the opportunity or at least the feeling of participation. This has an influence on LONG-TERM GOALS IN POLITICS. Furthermore, the problem of time-consuming processes is somewhat mitigated, since the process already produces work results that can be experienced physically.
The project is aimed in particular at those social groups whose voice is otherwise rarely heard. ETHICAL ECONOMY can thus be promoted, which helps to SMALL THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR.
The knowledge gained represents a great benefit for AUTHORITIES AND INSTITUTIONS and helps to make them MORE ACTIONABLE.
The basis of the discussions are always ETHICAL STANDARDS, which are constantly being readjusted and serve as THE BASIS FOR GLOBAL DECISIONS.
The outreach work is characterized by surveys and their evaluation. The evaluations usually take place at a political or technical level and are usually not visible to the participants and those affected. The project counteracts this and manages to visualize opinions and tendencies directly at the affected location and to expose them to public discourse.
Furthermore, the approach of the project is to strengthen the public space itself as a place of discussion and to counteract the apparent omnipotence of social media by using their principles. However, posting, commenting, re-commenting, liking and sharing is enriched here with the physical experience.
Please provide clear documentation, communication of methodology and principles in this context.
During the exchange of work content as part of the Creative Biennale in Strasbourg in September 2021, it was found that the knowledge gained is transferrable and can be found in other European cities in a similar context. Thus, gains in knowledge at the local level can also have supra-regional relevance. However, the transferability must be checked in each case.
The process structure has even greater potential for transferability. Here, great knowledge gains were gained from the project, which will flow into the continuation of the project in 2022, but other applied processes can also be similar. Important questions here are how to reach the target group (place, time, duration, appearance), how to encourage them to participate (appearance, context) and how to get to the bottom of the fields of action (question, tasks, communication).
@Pop-Up Ma Parole, 2021
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