The Politics of Participatory Design. Symposium im Rahmen des Projektes: Community Now?



The Politics of Participatory | Jewish Museum Berlin | 19.02.–21.02.2015

The Symposium „Community Now? The Politics of Participatory Design“ focused on of bottom-up movements in an international context, especially in relation to current social developments in Germany and Israel.
Recently, questions concerning collaboration, alternative forms of political action, self-organization and participation – at local and global levels – have garnered much attention and are relevant for the academic environment, politics, the media, and for the general public. The symposium was an exploration on how to foster processes of active participation and support sustainable community development, as well as the impact of these processes on policy making and our everyday life.
You can view th full symposium program, with short biographies and keynote abstracts here: symposium program

Community Now? Symposium – February 2015 | Berlin from DGTF on Vimeo.


The Symposium started with two Preliminary Neighborhood Workshops on Thursday 19th.

by Michelle Christensen, Florian Conradi (UdK Berlin) & Malte Bergmann (DGTF)

Street Rights Map – Charting social microcosms, personal kingdoms, nature states and power structures down the street
by Myriel Milicevic & Henrik Lebuhn (Neighbourhood Satellites/HU Berlin)


On the evening of the 19th, the opening evening took place with opencing statements by Andreas Eberhardt (DIZF) and Gesche Joost (Design Research Lab, Berlin University of the Arts). It was followed by a panel discussions that included the folowing speakers:

Daniela Schadt (DIZF board member and Germany’s First Lady)
Thomas Krüger (President of the German Federal Agency for Civic Education bpb)
Michal Eitan (Bezalel Academy Jerusalem)
Ezri Tarazi (Bezalel Academy Jerusalem)
Andreas Eberhardt (Director DIZF)
Gesche Joost (Design Research Lab, Berlin University of the Arts)

Gesche Joost & Andreas Eberhardt - Opening Ceremony from DGTF on Vimeo.

The opening ceremony was followed by a controversial night-talks Night-Talk with: Hanno Rauterberg, Author and Journalist (ZEIT) and Jesko Fezer (DGTF, HfBK Hamburg

Hanno Rauterberg & Jesko Fezer - Evening Talk from DGTF on Vimeo.


On Friday and Saturday Keynote talks, presentations and workshops were held at the Jewish Museum. The program was accompanied by an exhibition around the Neighborhood Lab and a series of thematic walkst through Berlin.

Community Now?
by Bianca Herlo (DGTF/DRLab, Berlin) & Sarah Auslander (Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem)

Bianca Herlo & Sarah Auslander - Community Now? from DGTF on Vimeo.

Hand in Hand Community and School
by Efrat Meyer (Yad Be Yad/Hand in Hand Joint Arab-Jewish Community, Jerusalem)

Erat Meyer is a community worker at the Max Rayne, Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem. The school's students form a microcosm of Jerusalem's urban diversity, hailing from Jewish and Arab neighborhoods all over East and West Jerusalem. Meyer taked about her work at school and reaching out to the families in Jerusalem.

Efrat Meyer - Hand in Hand Community and School from DGTF on Vimeo.

Redefining the relationship between social and artistic activities
by Avi Sabag (Musrara Nagar School of Art, Jerusalem)

Avi Sabags talk centered around the Musara Nagar School of Art, which is located on the seam between east and west Jerusalem. The scholl redefines the relationship between social and artistic activities. The ideology of the school is that art and artists have the power to generate significant social change.

Avi Sabag: Redefining the Relationsship Between Social and Artistic Activities from DGTF on Vimeo.


How to turn a vision into form and bundle esthetic and civic education
by Barbara Meyer (Schlesische27 cultural center, Berlin)

Barbara Meyer introduced Schlesische27 cultural center, CUCULA - Refugees Company for Crafts and Design and the urban laboratory Junipark as examples of how new ideas can be tested in high density areas of urban space, that can aim for new social utopias.

Barbara Meyer - How to Give a Vision Form and Bundle Aesthetic and Civic Education from DGTF on Vimeo.

No Yin Without Yang: Community Work Needs Civic Intelligence to be Complete
by Doug Schuler (The Evergreen State College, Olympia and The Public Sphere Project, Seattle)

In his talk Douglas Schuler argued that thinking about „community“ and „civic intelligence“ as two distinct phenomena diminishes both the scholarly and the practice-based pursuits of these perspectives. He aimed to explore the benefits of integrating both perspective and offer some practical steps that can be taken.

Douglas Schuler - No Yin Without Yang: Community Work Needs Civic Intelligence to Be Complete from DGTF on Vimeo.


Ministry of Space: Self-organization in the City
by Iva Cukic & Marko Aksentijevic (Ministry of Space, Belgrad)

The Belgrad based Collective Ministry of Space works mostly in regards to city development plans, creating unexpected ways on opening possibilities of citizens to participate. Their main point was that meaningful participation often takes place on the border of legality, especially when real participation is not planed for.

Iva Cukic & Marko Aksentijevic - Ministry of Space: Self-Organization in the City from DGTF on Vimeo.

Invisible Spaces & Hidden Places – Exploring the Spatial Capital of Cities
by Michael Smyth (UrbanIxD Network, Edinburgh)

Michael Smyths presented a critical perspective on the emerging field of urban interaction design. He focused on peoples relation with data today and how it is altering the experience of the urban space. He argued that the goal of interaction design on a personal level is to place people at the center of the design of interactive products and services in the urban environment and on a grand level is representative of the collective desire to participate in questioning the future.

Michael Smyth - Invisible Spaces & Hidden Places - Exploring the Spatial Capital of Cities from DGTF on Vimeo.

Community Politics - Between Urban Fragmentation and Circulation
by Malte Bergmann (DGTF, Berlin)

Community has been a key term of sociological debate since the early 20th century. The classical understanding of community points to an „matter-of-fact“ understanding, that preceedes all discussions and is not reached between different people in preocesses of negociation. Community has been deconstructed to something that points more to a modernist longing, rather then to a realistic state. Malte Bergmann's talk comprised a warning to a naive use of a naturalistic use of community in design projects.

Malte Bergmann - Community Politics - Between Urban Fragmentation and Circulation from DGTF on Vimeo.


Design, Technology and Civic Infrastructures
by Andreas Unteidig (DRLab/UdK, Berlin)

Andreas Unteidig introduced his work in the context of the research group "civic infrastructures" at the Design Research Lab. His main interesst was on the idea of designing new publics, in ordern to contribute to a more inklusive democratic urban culture.

Andreas Unteidig - Design, Technology and Civic Infrastructures from DGTF on Vimeo.

NetHood: Being together in the hybrid city
by Panayotis Antoniadis & Ileana Apostol (ETH Zurich)

The speakers were mostly interested in spaces for public encounter in the globalization and digitization process. The project NetHood aims to create frameworks to cross the digital and the analog to create meaningfull social interactions in urban contexts.

Ileana Apostol & Panayotis Antoniadis - Empowering Citizens to Shape their Hybrid Space from DGTF on Vimeo.


“Where is my Community? – On Empathy, Knowledge, and Ethics of participatory Design”
by Ido Bruno (Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem)

Ido Bruno talked about the conflicting issues in participatory design processes. The first issue was the possibility of incorporating ideas in mind frames related to design with the community into the more conventional type of design processes. The second issue is the „Hierarchy Dilemma“ that arrises when differences in status may not be "flattened" in the process.

Ido Bruno - Where is my Community? - On Empathy, Knowledge and Ethics of Participatory Design from DGTF on Vimeo.

Yasemin's Adventure: A Narrative Walk
by Valentina Nisi (M-ITI/Future Fabulators, Madeira)

The talk presented the interactive mobile-app „Yasemin’s Adventure“. The aim of the app was to invite people to a narrative walk though the neighborhood following the perspective of a young girl. The goal was to connect the public emphaticaly with local issues.

Valentina Nisi - Yasemin's Adventure: A Narrative Walk from DGTF on Vimeo.


The Un-Archivable: Registering Socially Engaged Art
Lea Abir curated the exhibition „Living as Form“ that took place in New York in 2011. She reflected on the show that was located in an old warehouse and held material from about a hundred art projects displayed in an archival from. It aimed to show a survey of social engaged art from the last twenty years.

Leah Abir - The Un-Archivable: Registering Socially Engaged Art from DGTF on Vimeo.

On the dawn of gentrification – The Nordbahnhof Area in Stuttgart and its involvement in the Glocals-Project
by Sylvia Winkler & Stephen Koeper (Glocal Neighbourhoods, Stuttgart-Holon)
The talk focussed on a project that aimed at an long term inter-neighborhood collaboration between Jessy Cohen in Holon and the Nordbahnhof neighborhood in Stuttgart. An important focus point of the exchange were the tensions caused by urban development plans in both neighborhoods.

Sylvia Winkler & Stephen Koeper - On the Dawn of Gentrification from DGTF on Vimeo.

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