Integration through Community Work
Bremen takes pride in being a small but innovative town with a strong tradition of innovative social and community work. Some of the town’s projects have the potential to be a valuable example for other cities or even countries. The ‘Geschichtenhaus’ is such a project. It strives to integrate the long-term unemployed into society by supplying them with an important task that gives them the feeling of being a valuable part of society and, at the same time, to reinstate basic work skills and ethics.
The ‘Geschichtenhaus’ is also a very successful experimental museum that attracts a lot of tourists and other guests that enjoy an exciting insight into local history there. Far from being a mere living history museum, it rather puts together live performances that present interesting narratives of Bremen’s history by impersonating key actors, who are enacted by its employees.
The people who work at the Geschichtenhaus were formerly long-term unemployed people and represent a broad variety of social, age, and ethnic groups. Some struggle with emotional or health issues, many were formerly socially isolated, others lack basic knowledge of the German language. All working-ages are represented and mingle, just as ethnic and national groups work together here. Lately, a group of refugees was integrated into the staff. Because of legal issues about work permits for refugees, this is still in an experimental phase.
The tasks of the course participants will consist of understanding the problems of integration in general and of refugees in particular, the sociological and political concepts of community work as a means of social integration and their practical implementation. On the other hand, students will learn the relevance and practical importance of empirical social research, based on participating observation. It is considered more than a useful side-effect that students themselves may experience some sense of integration in the county they actually live in. They will not only get to know an interesting part of Bremen, they will participate in this city’s life and maybe even contribute something.
Living Under a Dictatorship
What is it like to live under a dictatorship? How are peoples’ everyday activities, attitudes, plans, aspirations, friendships and family relations affected and shaped by the ideologies, politics and practices of dictatorial regimes? How do these regimes manage to stay in power? And what ways to resist dictatorships are possible and effective? This workshop will explore these questions by examining the history of dictatorial regimes of the twentieth century. In particular, we will look at themes such as propaganda, education and youth organizations, policing and resistance, drawing mostly on examples from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin. The workshop aims to familiarize students with the practice of historical research and to enhance their skills in reading and interpreting historical sources. The course will also introduce students to academic approaches to the history of the everyday and scholarship about dictatorships and deal with with the question of how studying history can inform our understanding of processes in the present day.
Design for the Future
This workshop will be offered in collaboration with the German Design Museum in Frankfurt. For more information about the museum, the foundation and their work, visit their website: https://www.deutschesdesignmuseum.de/en.html.
If you want to design the future, you need a concrete goal. The participants in this workshop will devote themselves to the challenges of our time and will engage in groups with an intense desire for change. Accompanied by a professional designer, they will develop innovative solutions for real-world challenges and will display their ideas as infographics. This method allows them to exemplify complex information and overall concepts in an inspirational way. The participants will be guided throughout their project both conceptually and in regards to design. The final product will be concise, visually-appealing graphics that arouse interest, offer practical solutions and encourage participation. Visual representations are more memorable and remain longer in people’s minds. Nothing makes innovation stronger than a concrete vision of your goals and motivation. Become a designer of the future!