Photomarathon „Europe- yesterday, today, tomorrow”- EuroPeers Germany between pioneers and guinea pigs
In the end of 2018 we, Linda, Laura, Rebecca, Kathrin and Zoe all EuroPeers from Germany, had the idea to organize a photo marathon in five different German cities. With the upcoming format “Solidarity Project” a frame was found in which to carry out this project. Hence, we decided to apply for a grant. Our project was one of eight submitted applications for the first deadline. We spent multiple evenings discussing our application via Skype and were euphoric when we heard of its approval. Thus, the path was clear for our project.
“Europe- yesterday, today, tomorrow”
“Where can I find Europe in my city?”, “What does Europe mean to me?”, “What is my dream for tomorrow?”, were some of the questions we hoped our participants were confronted with during the photo marathon. Each participant received the same five themes and was given three hours to take five pictures inspired by those themes. Afterwards, we collectively evaluated and discussed the participant’s submissions concerning their ideas about Europe.
The photo marathon took place simultaneously in five different cities in North, South, West and East Germany: Freiburg, Würzburg, Magdeburg, Lüneburg… and Fulda! Jokes about the fact that Fulda was the only city without “burg” (fortress) in its name accompanied us throughout the whole process. The rules were the same everywhere, other aspects were quite different. Whereas in Freiburg, apparently the sunniest city of Germany, the participants had to hide from the rain after a while; in the most Northern city, Lüneburg, the sun was shining upon everyone. In Magdeburg, even a rainbow showed up. Within only three hours, 39 participants had taken almost 200 photos. For each city and each theme, one photo was selected through participant voting. The winning pictures were to be printed and displayed in A3. Since most of the rest of the photos were beautiful and interesting as well, we decided to make a collage in the shape of Germany with them.
Our travelling exhibition started in the North. After many hours spent with printing and hanging pictures as well as organizing the event, the day of the first exhibition opening was finally there. More than 70 people showed up at the Lüneburg city museum to admire the pictures, discuss their wishes for Europe, talk about travelling Europe and debate how to be active citizens. Within the next weeks, our exhibition travelled to the oneworld House in Magdeburg, the “Wohnzimmer” (living room), an open meeting point for refugees, and the city library in Freiburg. Then unfortunately COVID-19 struck, so that we had to postpone the last exhibition opening to an undefined date. Rest assured that there will be an exhibition opening in Würzburg at some point in the future.
Solidarity projects, our struggles and why it is worth it
Solidarity projects have the aim to foster participation in the local community and should be carried out by a minimum of five volunteers. We were six people, living in five different cities and designed a project for those cities we lived in, which are far away from each other. Furthermore, we were one of the first people in Europe who carried out a Solidarity project. Of course, as EuroPeers, we had carried out projects before and some people on our team had already organized seminars, events or workshops together. Nonetheless, we were pioneers and guinea pigs (the German word for this is “Versuchskaninchen”, which translates to “experiment rabbit”). Concludingly, our project was quite ambitious, but it worked out excellent. Even if we had troubles and worried about not having enough participants, packages not being delivered on time, finding time to work for the project between studies, work and other volunteer work, we also had very pleasant experiences and surprises which made it all worth it. For example, we were invited to talk about our project in a seminar on “How to write Solidarity Projects”, had a discussion with the European Secretary of State from the Federal state of Hessen, received praise and enthusiasm by the many people who visited the exhibition and were asked by the participants if we could do a photomarathon 2.0. Organizing this project gave us the possibility to grow, despite having us doubt ourselves in between. Additionally, we got in contact with all different kinds of amazing people.
We are very happy that we could inspire EuroPeers UK who will now take over and continue this project by implementing it in the UK with their very own ideas.
We wish you all the best, you will rock this!
By Laura, Kathrin, Rebecca, Sjelle, Linda and Zoe