"Strong together" is the motto of the 2020 Social Design Award, which SPIEGEL WISSEN, in cooperation with the DIY chain Bauhaus, is sponsoring for the seventh time. Student projects, charitable organizations and a number of individual initiatives were among the 150 submissions. A jury of experts has appraised them all to come up with a shortlist.
Now, it is up to you, our readers, to choose your favorite for the Audience Prize, which comes with a 2,500-euro reward. There is one exception: The art happening "B6112" by the collective known as Staub zu Glitzer (Dust to Glitter) was an occupation of the Volksbühne theater in Berlin. Ultimately, theater director Chris Dercon decided to use his authority to bring the occupation to an end. As the happening had to be ended by the police, it is not eligible for the Audience Prize, although the jury had put it on the shortlist.
You can make your choice at the bottom of this article, with voting running through Oct. 19. The winner of the Audience Prize and the Jury Prize will be announced on Nov. 10 in the new issue of SPIEGEL WISSEN and on SPIEGEL.de.
Children's books are a part of every childhood, aren't they? Is there anything better than snuggling up on the couch as a family for a journey into the world of fantasy? And why are there so few books for blind girls and boys? Author Christina Oskui and product developer Pascal Heussner have devised a learning aid that vision impaired children can use together with children who have perfect eyesight. Called the Book Box, it is optically attractive and includes braille writing and relief printing. The goal is to promote better reading and writing as a way of introducing children to the world of the written word. Fun, though, is the primary aim, for both children who can see and children whose vision is impaired. Reading together, learning to understand the world: It's inclusion with the help of a clever idea. It is also quite useful. Part of the concept includes writing stencils to help teach children how to hold pens properly. The project is still in the development phase.
The Hat Project (Das Hut Projekt)
When you walk or drive into the city from your home, how many statues do you pass? And who do they depict? Maybe you don't really know? If that is the case, then you are no different than Lars Mackenbach, who decided 20 years ago to launch a project wherein he would place a red hat on the heads of statues and photograph them. The idea has since taken him to a number of different cities, from Bocholt to Dresden, and even to London. His goal, he says, is "to develop a new awareness for art in public spaces." During his shoots, Mackenbach says, he often ends up in conversation with passersby, who are frequently skeptical at first before growing amused. They often realize, he adds, that art and discussions about art have the power to bring people together. While he is happy to put a hat on almost any statue he sees, Mackenbach steers clear of war memorials.
Dulsberg Late Night
What a dismal time it was during the lockdown, when the schools were closed, computer screens replaced classrooms and schoolchildren were no longer able to see their friends. It is a view shared by Björn Lengwenus, head of Alter Teichweg, an elementary and secondary school in the socio-economically challenged Hamburg neighborhood of Dulsberg. In response, he launched a daily YouTube show called "Dulsberg Late Night" in the second week of the lockdown. The broadcast, filmed in the style of a late-night talk show, was shot on site at the school, with Lengwenus sitting behind a large desk, the outlines of the Hamburg skyline behind him. His guests would sometimes visit him on the set or would call in via Skype. School students would also contribute videos of their own to the show, talking about their lives in homeschooling or congratulating the director for his birthday. The show was produced by Kulturagenten, an agency which focuses on bringing art to schools and which cooperates with education officials in the city-state of Hamburg.
A Youth Center on Wheels (Durchkreuzer - ein mobiles Jugendzentrum)
The youth center is called Durchkreuzer, and it will be on the road starting in November. The plan calls for the large, converted panel van to travel throughout Germany and make stops along the way. Young people can then use the van as a place to hang out, talk, play games and many other things. An adult will be there for them at all times. The Durchkreuzer (a German word meaning "criss-crosser") is to produce a "flexible feeling of belonging" and "to bring together a young community." The idea was cultivated by 20 students at the University of Applied Sciences of Düsseldorf together with volunteers from the Diocese of Osnabrück, and took two years to develop. The diocese provided funding for the project, with the rest coming from donations.
"Cohesion" is the English translation of the Esperanto word "kohero," and that is the focus of the online magazine of the same name. Kohero is a web platform where refugees and Germans can write about what moves them, including commentaries on current events, discussions of multilingualism or even just a delicious recipe. Mutual understanding and the dismantling of prejudices are the goals of those behind the project, a Hamburg association called Miteinander Ankern (Anchor Together). It was founded in 2017 by a Syrian journalist who had fled to Hamburg and volunteers in Germany. It was originally called Flüchtling Magazin (Refugee Magazine), but the name was changed because after three years in Germany, many migrants no longer identify as refugees, but as members of the community.
Big cities have plenty of cultural events on offer, including opera performances, museum exhibits, cinemas, theaters and concerts. There is something for everybody. But what if you don't have enough money to take part? And what if you don't have anyone to share it with? After all, a partner helps you feel safer in the evenings and gives you someone with whom to discuss the event instead of simply walking home in silence once it is over. Kulturistenhoch2, a project by the multi-generational association known as Stiftung Generationen-Zusammenhalt, brings together people on a tight budget over the age of 63 with students aged 16 and older to enjoy cultural events together. The younger people pick up the seniors at their homes and bring them back again later. In the time between, they don't just share a cultural experience, they also get to know the perspectives of a completely different generation. The project, developed in Hamburg, is seen as a model of social franchising that can be emulated in other cities.
Meal x Time (Meal x Zeit)
Every society needs nourishment. And nothing brings people together more than cooking and eating together. Students at the Bauhaus University in Weimar have thus developed a cooking workshop that transforms any outside space into a designer open-air kitchen. The only thing necessary is the creative modular set, a couple of helping hands and the desire to make a difference. The creative team called mahl x zeit (meal x time), under the leadership of Julius Baumann, though, isn't just interested in promoting social cohesion. They also want to help establish a greater awareness of nutrition. "We believe that it will get more people to think about where their food comes from and how it can be well prepared." As such, cooperation with organic farmers in the area is also part of the concept. Quick set up and the meal is served, that is the idea. Enjoy your meal!
Daddy's Coming - Mommy's Coming (Mein Papa kommt - meine Mama kommt)
Is it possible to reassemble a feeling of family after it has been shattered? The initiative Mein Papa Kommt (My Daddy Is Coming), launched by Annette Habert, does just that. She helps parents from broken families find lodging with private hosts on the weekends when they travel across the country to visit their children. It gives mothers or fathers the possibility to crash in the guestrooms or couches of people interested in hosting them, saving the parents the expense of a hotel room, but still giving them a warm bed to sleep in. The initiative even tries to provide temporary access to playrooms for the parent-child combo to spend time in. The vision of the initiative is "a society in which all children can establish a lifelong relationship with both parents that is both meaningful and intimate, regardless of the parents' relationship status, geographical distance from one another or wealth." The initiative has been helping children and their families since 2008 – an idea that warms your heart.
Juice-Mobile – Money Grows on Trees (Saftmobil - Das Geld hängt an den Bäumen)
Even if the cold nights lasted late into the spring and there was a shortage of rain, this year will produce a better-than-average apple harvest. But not all orchard owners or those with apples in their gardens will actually harvest them. With that in mind, the founders launched the non-profit organization Das Geld hängt an den Bäumen (Money Grows on Trees), a project that combines social welfare with ecology. Since its founding, the project has created 25 jobs for people with disabilities, migrants, people suffering from chronic illnesses, those without job training, the unemployed and the homeless. And for the last 10 years, the team has been harvesting apples that nobody would otherwise want. The fruit is then transformed into apple juice and sold with the help of the juice-mobile at sites from Hamburg to Berlin.
Which one is your favorite?
The following ballot is in German, but you can participate easily by selecting the name of the entry and pressing the red "Abstimmung" (vote) button.
Not in Competition: Dust to Glitter
The collective Staub zu Glitzer (Dust to Glitter) wanted to demonstrate with their trans-medial happening "B6112" that the Berlin theater called Volksbühne (People's Stage) really should belong to the people. In September 2017, the artists occupied the theater, announced the dismissal of the theater's director, Chris Dercon, and proclaimed themselves as the new directors. For six days, the theater played host to municipal political initiatives and artists, declarations were read and discussed, and the activists also partied into the night in glittery costumes. The organizers of the controversial and much-discussed art happening estimate that around 20,000 people dropped by during the event and saw a "feminist and anti-racist theater concept that was critical of capitalism." Ultimately, the police cleared the theater.