Professional working conditions – in the middle of the village and the countryside
Article on the homepage of Deutsche Stiftung für Engagement und Ehrenamt:
Our association is called the “dieKunstBauStelle” – the name originated in 2013 from an initiative on a construction site in the middle of Landsberg am Lech. Since 2014, we have developed over 25 projects of various kinds – locally in Landsberg but also internationally. There have been projects in refugee camps in Afghanistan and on the Turkish-Syrian border. From the very beginning, we have consistently involved a wide variety of target groups, including refugees, migrants and educationally disadvantaged young people. In addition, we realize art and history projects in which we use artistic means to position ourselves in relation to history, to explore and discover it, and to develop new forms of remembrance culture.
Our projects are mainly financed by public funding and donations. The concrete implementation is made possible by the commitment of volunteers – this can be five people for small formats, and sometimes up to 500 people for larger workshops.
Providing opportunities for participation
The Corona pandemic made personal contacts and thus direct work in Landsberg am Lech impossible. Our good fortune was that we have been developing digital exhibitions and virtual spaces for many years. We are definitely pioneers in this field. Even during the lockdown in March 2020, there were people of all ages who reported to us that they had spent many hours in our digital exhibitions and on our websites for several days at a stretch. They reported back improvements and fixes as well as lots of praise. We are pleased to be able to offer people at home – some of whom were also in quarantine – a cultural experience and the opportunity to participate.
But I am aware that we can never replace personal contact with virtual formats on an equal footing. That’s why I’m very glad that we were able to realize the “Kultainer” project with the help of the German Foundation for Commitment and Volunteering. The idea behind it is actually simple: Four office containers that we set up as mobile media studios. The result is an editorial office, a graphics studio, a sound and radio studio, and a meeting room. The “Kultainers” can be transported by truck and set up at various locations. They enable professional working conditions – in the middle of the village and in the countryside. At the respective stations, they are to stand for two to three months at a time and also act as a cultural and social meeting place. In this way, we create opportunities for participation that would otherwise never exist in our region and reach people who would never come into contact with such technology without the project. In doing so, we involve both youth and seniors – and, of course, all ages in between.
Tell your story
One editorial format of our offering is called “Tell Your Story.” This is “social storytelling” in which, for example, an 80-year-old farmer’s wife discusses with a 15-year-old teenager how views and lifestyles have changed over the decades. Their dialogues are the basis for online radio features, podcasts and articles published in local media. A high degree of professionalism is very important to us. We therefore involve journalists, historians, photographers and radio editors, who assist the volunteers on site and provide them with the necessary expertise.
Important impulses from which the district will benefit for years to come
The “Kultainers” provide our association with sustainable and multifunctional equipment. They will enable us to work flexibly, decentrally and participatively in the coming years. This would not have been possible without the funding from the German Foundation for Commitment and Volunteerism; other funding sources only support the work in a project, moreover only up to 30 percent of the costs, but no investments. The new DSEE funding program has made this important contribution by providing simple, effective and efficient funding.
Due to the short timeframe for implementation and the corona-related supply bottlenecks, it was a logistical challenge for us to equip the media stations. On the other hand, we were particularly motivated by this form of recognition of volunteer work and the fact that we will benefit from it in our district for years to come. That’s why the funding and the impetus it provides are all the more valuable.
© Peter Oswald