Learning by doing: practicing democracy at the Berlin Agora

It is Saturday August 13, 2011 at 12pm. I am standing at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin. 50 years ago the Berlin Wall was built in and around this city.

I am thinking about the Syntagma World Café the we hosted at the Berlin Agora a week ago on August 06, 2011.

About 20 people were attracted by our invitation Imagine you wake up in Berlin and you are living in real democracy. What will happen on that day?

In three rounds, we were looking at:

– How do I imagine real democracy or where have I already experience it?
– Which are my skills that I can use to develop real democracy?
– What else is needed for real democracy to emerge?

One of the questions, I was working on a lot during preparations, in the interview with a journalist who wrote this taz article afterwards and in an email exchange with my brothers in Ireland and France afterwards: why are people still expecting clear outcomes when we are working with social transformation?

What if the process of building relationships and creating personal meaning (which is different for every participant) in conversations ensures sustainable results that we maybe cannot see instantly?

Insights that surfaced for me during the Syntagma Café:

– What is the role of the media in this transformation process? I cannot remember having met a journalist in the Art of Hosting network…How can journalists be invited into Art of Hosting trainings?

– Real democracy is not the end but a means for social transformation. Real democracy is a process that is constantly changing. What longing is underneath this current movement for real democracy?

– Qualities that are needed in citizens for social change: process design/facilitation skills and systemic thinking.

– Where are the free policital spaces in the city that can host these learning processes? Can theatres provide this free space?


All pictures by Giulia Molinengo

The most beautiful moment was the closing remark of a couchsurfer from Moskow in the harvesting circle: „I thought, I am living in a democracy but after all these different perspectives, I have to think about it.“

More harvest in German:
Berlin Agora documentation
Antje, a participant reflects
Ursel, another participant reflects
video from the harvesting round
video from the hosting team after the Café

Dieser Beitrag wurde unter English, Ereignisse, Geschichte, Gesellschaftliches Lernen, Lernräume, Netzwerke veröffentlicht. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink.

Eine Antwort zu Learning by doing: practicing democracy at the Berlin Agora

  1. Pingback: Wie kann echte Demokratie gelingen? Impressionen von der Berlin Agora am Samstag im Radialsystem | Antjes Blog

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