The idea for the project Saxony in Dialogue was not born out of thin air. The ‘Why’ results from a combination of biography/past work with a view to the 30th anniversary of the peaceful revolution and reunification, the contemplation of current discursive and social tensions.
For the question of ‘how’ we draw on the experiences and contacts of the project team. Central points of contact include the journalism/media project Traces of Togetherness (Kultur Aktiv, 2018) and the communication format demoSlam (Hertie Innovationskolleg, 2018). The initiators of both formats are now applying their concepts in the Saxon context – with the aim of strengthening the exchange between regions, cities and countryside.
The communication format demoSlam was developed in 2018 by Evgeniya Sayko at the Hertie Innovationskolleg in the style of formats such as science or poetry slam and celebrated its premiere with the support of the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) in Ekaterinburg, in cooperation with Jelzin Centre, and Dresden, in cooperation with riesa efau. Originally geared to the German-Russian context, it consists of a workshop for constructive discussion of conflict-laden topics and a presentation in pairs with controversial opinions.
Cornelia Reichel (project leader, Saxony in Dialogue) has already coordinated the German-Russian demoSlam in Dresden, and together with her the idea of further development to Saxon and German controversies arose. The initiator and trainer of the German-Russian demoSlam Dr. Evgeniya Sayko will accompany the further development and conduct the workshop as well as advise the slammers before the events. Further information at demoslam.org
“The demoSlam is perfect to get to know each other better, to understand your opinion better and to express it in a way that others can also accept it.”
Regina Khvastunova, participant
Traces of Togetherness
The project Traces of Togetherness, sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) and led by photographer and journalist Matthias Schumann, pursued the goal of giving members of civil society from Russia and the South Caucasus states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) the opportunity as (prospective) citizen journalists to promote civil society dialogue, network and thus strengthen the exchange between Russia and the former Soviet republics. The citizen journalists improved their skills in the areas of photography, text, video and social media under the guidance of experienced media trainers in a workshop.
In the first step of the confrontation with the “other in their own”, the Caucasian workshop participants searched for Russian traces in their Caucasian homelands and produced journalistic articles from them. Afterwards, the Caucasian citizen journalists followed up Caucasian traces in the city of Ulyanovsk together with Russian interested parties in a 10-day workshop. Among other things, they interviewed representatives of the Caucasian minorities in the Volga city and worked through history and stories. The results of this research were presented in two multimedia exhibitions. A selection of contributions and a deeper insight can be found in the accompanying print publication ‘Traces of Togetherness’ (free download HIER).
Saxony in Dialogue tests innovative methods to (re-)activate a lively and controversial culture of conversation. Citizens from different communities enter into the inner-Saxon dialogue about everyday experiences and opinions on topics that are important for society as a whole. Two project modules (workshops, discussion events) contribute to creating encounters and exchanges between village and city dwellers from Saxony.