Mentoring Insights – Our Experiences and Thoughts

Franziska Seise, Clara Bolldorf, Mona Hartel, Josefine Hilbeck, Leonie Anna Koll, Nina McAllister, Dennis Lange, Stefanie Roth, Katharina Sonnberg, Elena Tietze Illustrations: Elena Tietze For our work placement project ‘Integration as a Dialogic Process’ (2019-2020), we – a group of students at Freie Universität Berlin’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology – worked with Wedding-based charity WIR GESTALTEN e.V. to mentor young refugees. We regularly held private, guided discussions in

Kiezstory 10 – The Meaning of Life 

In the workshop The Meaning of Life we looked for connections between philosophical considerations and cinematic artistic implementation. After an introduction to philosophical thought, three groups got together, contemplated important questions of life and started filming. A short film with three chapters was created in the process. Shadow A Kiezstory by Brooj Al-Ammari, İdil Deniz Şakar, Patrycja Komor & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2021 The film is an expression of

Shelves Gigs – Jaqee

In times when we all are searching for meaning in our lives, Jaqee’s music comes to our hearts filled with hope, strength and light. Our musical encounter with Jaqee and guitarist Jeff Chapah took place on a sunny winter morning between the bookshelves of Theodor-Heuss library. We invite you to our second Shelves Gigs session!

“Encounter in Motion – the Stop Motion Film”

On Saturday, 24 April 2021, “Encounter in Motion – the Stop Motion Film” made its online premiere on YouTube.The workshop hosts and participants were excited to share their final project with their audience, who cheered and applauded. The film consists of five short films that were created by the participants of a Medienwerkstatt Encounters stop motion workshop led by Azam Aghalouy and Hassan Tavakoli. Put together, the collaborative project provides

Extremely far, incredibly close: the last 3000 meters

Text: Zeynep Disbudak & Burçin Tetik  Photography: Zeynep Disbudak  “Does it feel any different?” I asked Burçin as I was embarking on the journey which she, on paper, has completed, while fearing to ask the main question, “will it ever feel any different?” Upon this, we decided to walk the path she did every year until she received her citizenship.  We have spent a day sitting in front of Ausländerbehörde*,

Cuddly Toy Sleepover – The Movie

As a cooperation project of the Tempelhof-Schöneberg city library, the Encounters media workshop has access to professional photo, video and sound equipment. Staff members of the Tempelhof Schöneberg city library requested a workshop that would equip them with the know-how for handling this equipment in the long-term. A project idea was quickly developed: “Cuddly Toy Sleepover – The Movie”…


I was sitting in the nature, watching the clouds passing by and watching the trees and myself taking in the good sunlight and heat. That was the first time I felt my skin and eyes are exactly the same type of receptor as the surface of the leaves. Since then I have the idea that I sense my atmosphere as much as it senses me.

Lino Lukas

Judith Albrecht works as a social anthropologist and documentary filmmaker in Germany and abroad. For her fieldwork and film projects she spent long periods of time in Iran, Tanzania and Malawi. After the Libyan revolution she started to work with the Libyan women’s movement…

Shelves Gigs – Martin Marion

Interview by Alvaro Martinez Photos by Luiza Folegatti During a cold but sunny morning of the Berlin winter, Martin Marion, actor, musician and composer, delighted us with his voice and his guitar. He combines his skills as a theater and film actor with his ability to compose in order to reflect small but transformative facts of life. In the middle of the pandemic, in a lonely library, among the book

Kiezstory 8 – How Corona affects your Kiez and life

A Kiezstory by Nadim Helow, Jens Fischer Rodrian & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2020 2020 will be remembered as a year of dramatic changes for billions of people. No superlative seems big enough to describe the ongoing sociopolitical and cultural challenge facing global society. State decisions have a deep impact on the lives of people who have to come to terms with a “new normality”. What do people say who

Memories of ghost trains and ghost stations in former East and West Berlin

Anja Werner & Sarah Fichtner (text & story) Azam Aghalouie & Hassan Tavakoli (illustrations & video) How did it feel to ride the underground train underneath the divided city of Berlin? Passing through dimly lit, construction site-like stations where trains no longer stopped? What was it like to hear those very trains rumbling underground, but not being able to reach them from East Berlin? To picture them as ghost trains

Gardening in the library

Dagmar Giesecke, translated by Jenny Rosenberg There’s more going on in public libraries than just reading. For a few years now “reading rooms” (as they were called in their early days) have been expanding their offerings. The same is happening at the “Maria Buch” central library in Tempelhof’s Götzstraße. In a four-hour period on July 14th, one such offering took place – in the garden and with beautiful weather, appropriate for

Draw Happy Things

During the last more or less secluded months, Mina and Farshid started a YouTube channel where they publish drawing tutorials called “Draw Happy Things”. Franzi was curious to learn more about their concept and got in touch with them. The conversation they had is summarized in the following.

Kiezstory 7 – Corona Geschichten (Corona Stories)

A Kiezstory by Thomas Klein, Bianca Wiedersich & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2020 In an online-meeting, five Berlin citizens of different generations tell stories about their experiences in times of COVID-19.   Kiezstories by Medienwerkstatt Encounters Berlin is a mosaic of its history, people, places and stories, which are featured in our web series “Kiezstories” (= neighborhood stories). Become part of our web series by submitting your own video or

Kiezstory 6 – Geknüpft

A Kiezstory by Georgios Kechagias, Idil Deniz Sakar & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2020 Geknüpft (knotted) is a short film about Hamid and his Gallerie Schiras, an Iranian carpet shop close to Wittenbergplatz. Hamid, a migrant of Azerbaijani ethnicity who was born and raised in the carpet city of Tabriz in Iran, tells us how he grew up between carpet-making, music and traditional storytelling. The film focuses not only on his days

The Encounters Surrealist Web Chat

By Andrei Cucu The Encounters Surrealist Web Chat is an experiment in verbal communication happening between languages and between people that transcends semantics. Starting from the idea of the exquisite corpse, the surrealist word game where participants need to continue a text without knowing what the preceding participant wrote, the project develops the idea further, each participant receiving a message in a language they don’t understand and replying in their mother tongue.

The sun rises in the East and sets in the West – A reaction to #mynewritual

In May 2020 we asked you on Facebook and Instagram to send us a photo, an illustration, a short video, a GIF or a sentence about your new ritual, together with your first name and the city you live in. Which new ritual have you integrated into or rediscovered in your everyday life? Intensive hand washing, the gym app, talking to plants, baking bread rolls, walking around the block…?

Home (Heimat) 3 – Putting on someone else’s shoes, or: spending Easter somewhere like home

Zeynep Disbudak My acquaintance with Easter, surprisingly, goes a long way back to my childhood. It is surprising, given how I am a citizen of a “Muslim” country, whose history with its non-Muslim communities is indelibly violent; where we almost live by a bifurcated calendar and in different realities. From my childhood, I remember painting eggs or making some basic ornaments in art class, but the memories are hazy. I

Home (Heimat)* 1

Heimat /Home is a trilogy: three texts by three authors meet on our blog for three consecutive weeks and inspire each other. They all revolve around the question: What does home /Heimat mean to me? Heimat[ˈhaimaːt] Feminine noun 1) home, homeland, home town 2) habitat, biotope 3) native country, town or place Text and illustrations by Guillermo Alberto Diaz Morales Translated by Joanna Mitchell Heimat* is one of the most popular words I have heard

Kiezstory 5 – Berlin Carpet – The street has a memory

A Kiezstory by Klaus Abromeit, Adrian Banciu, Sonam Dechen & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2019 The streets, roads and pavements made of stone are western symbols for comfort, like the oriental rugs. We consider them unworthy of our attention, as voiceless servants. This movie will change that. Kiezstories by ©Medienwerkstatt Encounters Berlin is a mosaic of its history, people, places and stories, which are featured in our web series “Kiezstories”

Kiezstory 4 – My favorite season

A Kiezstory by Roja Ghoreishi, Vanessa Macedo & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2019 “My favorite season” is centered on gender issues. In order to challenge patriarchy, two people from different parts of the world share their experiences with each other. Kiezstories by ©Medienwerkstatt Encounters Berlin is a mosaic of its history, people, places and stories, which are featured in our web series “Kiezstories” (= neighborhood stories). Choose your subtitles in Arabic, Farsi,


Bogotrax is festival for electronic music and electronic art. Originally launched in 2003 as a small gathering of local and international creatives in Bogota, it has been held in February every year since then. Framed by a political demand for more social justice, the festival organises presentations, conferences, performances, workshops, exhibitions and even raves – all free-of-charge and accessible to all. The reappropriation of different urban spaces such as streets,

For European migration policies in accordance with human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic

Joint public statement about the situation at the EU external borders by the Working Groups Migration and Public Anthropology of the German Anthropological Association (GAA) While the COVID-19 pandemic draws public and media attention to the emergence of yet another crisis, the critical situation of migrants confined to Greek refugee camps has become nothing but a murmur on the sidelines of public debate. Due to the suspension of the EU-Turkey


Encountering Beauty: Beauty and the Norm in Berlin’s Everyday Life

By Amelie Bauer, Paul Gredig, Maysun Hijazi, Kesho-Tabitha Imadonmwinyi, Marie-Helen Jakob, Izabela Matulewicz, Jennifer Rosenberg, Arowotosuna Olaitan Smith, Elisabeth Winterer and Jodi Cheuk Tung Wong Norms of physical appearance are connected to processes of exclusion and recognition, especially within a city shaped as strongly by migration as Berlin. In this third part of our blog post series, based on research conducted during the seminar “Beauty and the Norm: Appearance and

Kiezstory 3 – Moving Sound

A Kiezstory by Charlotte Bütterich, Brooj Alammari, Sophie Erman & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2019 The short film “Moving Sound” is an experimental exploration of how sound is influencing our perception of the environment and the moving body. Kiezstories by ©Medienwerkstatt Encounters Berlin is a mosaic of its history, people, places and stories, which are featured in our web series “Kiezstories” (= neighborhood stories). Choose your subtitles in Arabic, Farsi,

Encountering Beauty: Places of Beauty Consumption, Spaces of Urban Encounters

By Amelie Bauer, Paul Gredig, Maysun Hijazi, Kesho-Tabitha Imadonmwinyi, Marie-Helen Jakob, Izabela Matulewicz, Jennifer Rosenberg, Arowotosuna Olaitan Smith, Elisabeth Winterer and Jodi Cheuk Tung Wong In this second part of our blog post series, we present several locations for beauty consumption which we visited as part of the seminar “Anthropology of Beauty: Global Norms, Local Bodies?” offered at the Freie Universität Berlin. These places presented themselves to us as spaces

Ruins, Old and New

by Ana Nenadovic Trampling they push through your doors, Violently they dismantle you piece by piece, Until you are left stripped, bare. Shamefully they avert their gaze, Contemplating your nakedness only from the corner of their eyes, Forgetting you slowly. But you, you do not forget, you try to, yet you can’t. Though, not forgetting does not equal pausing. You do not remain in your bareness, You strive for renovation

Kiezstory 2 – Der blaue Streifen

A Kiezstory by Noemi Brachvogel & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2019 On her way home, the filmmaker discovers a blue stripe in her neighborhood in Friedrichshain. She follows it and searches for its origin. It is a memorial to the former women’s prison on Barnimstrasse. “Der blaue Streifen” is a cinematic reflection on being a woman today and then and how the past meets the present in everyday life. Kiezstories

Encountering Beauty: Appearance and Exclusion in Berlin’s Everyday Life

By Amelie Bauer, Paul Gredig, Maysun Hijazi, Kesho-Tabitha Imadonmwinyi, Marie-Helen Jakob, Izabela Matulewicz, Jennifer Rosenberg, Arowotosuna Olaitan Smith, Elisabeth Winterer and Jodi Cheuk Tung Wong Preface: In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, on 22 March the German Federal Chancellor and the Prime Minister closed all service providers in the field of personal care, such as hairdressers, beauty salons, tattoo studios, etc. by official decree. Many of the people we

Kiezstory 1 – Mein Kiez Friedenau

A Kiezstory by Lou Rodrian & Encounters media workshop. Berlin 2019 Lou lives in Friedenau, has her favorite places and everyday life in her“Kiez”/neighborhood. On her way to school, she walks past a group of homeless men every day. One day she decides to speak to the group and get to know the men. The film wants to find out how they spend their days, what they see and think

Cities of migration – Tehran

“Tehran is a woman. One of those women who wasn´t lucky in marriage. Her husband didn´t have good manners. He didn´t pay alimony. He beat her up, made her age fast. She has many children, one malevolent, one aggressive and rebel. Tehran had many properties, but the fraudsters stole them from her. She has broken nerves and takes a feast full of pills everyday. You can see she used to

Cities of migration – Berlin

“Berlin is more a part of the world than a city” (Jean Paul (1763-1825), German poet, writer and educator) The German Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb) writes: “over 12 million German refugees, as well as 10 to 12 million ‘displaced persons‘, former forced labourers and foreign concentration camp prisoners had to find a new home after the end of World War II or had to be

Let’s talk about food: The recipes

Try out some of the favorite recipes of those behind the article “Let’s talk about food” that you find in the current issue of our print magazine Encounter. Order your copy here: Karen Spiced dark chocolate cream (vegan) This indulgent dark chocolate dessert with a hint of cardamom will make you forget the darkness of the Berlin winter. Great to prepare for fancy holiday dinners or just as a special


A guide for newcomers to Germany – particularly from Iran. By Azam Aghalouy Aghmiyouni When arriving in Germany, there are some small details that newcomers notice in everyday life, but which often remain unexplained. Being aware of these little things can make it easier to settle in. A project in User-Centered Design @ HMKW Berlin


Mehdi Bahmed Refugee integration, terror attacks and the rise of right-wing populism in Europe are subjects that delineate the fields of concern of this photo series. Here, I am especially concerned with the schism of the “Western” and the “Arab world”. This theme is closely connected to my own biography. My mother is French, my father comes from Algeria. With my photographs I would like to raise questions without providing


Web series “Kiez stories”

The web series “Kiez stories”   The web series “Kiez stories” intends to show the polyphony of Berlin. Possibly you know someone you are fascinated by or whose destiny touched you. Or there might be a place in town that you would like to present. Maybe you feel like telling the founding story of a shop, a bar or a café in your neighbourhood/your quarter (= your “Kiez”). You can

Voices on the move – Part 4

By Ina Schebler Everyone has a story. Everyone has a voice to tell it. And everyone has ears to hear or eyes to read it. Now it only needs people to listen to these voices, to see these faces and to change first their perspective and later the world. The Idea: In January 2016, I started collecting stories of people who once fled their homes and who are now living

Discovering the Human in “mensch. human.”

What it means to flee from persecution, hunger, death and suffering is hard for many to imagine. That is why it is so important to tell and get told about it. The short film “mensch.human.” tries to approach these experiences between suffering, being and hoping in conversations. As one of four film projects, it was created within three months in collaboration with refugees* from Brück in Brandenburg and German participants.

A dance visual by Canan Mona Pour-Norouz

  Text: Sarah Fichtner & Canan Mona Pour-Norouz   “As we move, we move others; in observing others move – we are moved.” (Judith Lynne Hanna, anthropologist and author of “Dancing to Learn”)   Mona impressed me. There was something in the dance video and in the words that she had sent to our encounter team that deeply touched me. I knew I had to meet her. Call it destiny.

Picturing an Everyday Life – A German-Refugee Encounter through Photo-Voice

1. Encountering the Other and Picturing the Unspeakable – Creating a Counter Image in German Discourse Bridging interspaces – the researcher in the field discussing Photo-Voice results with the originators, picture: JB. In the summer of 2015 in the so called “long summer of migration” or the “European refugee crisis” over one million refugees* reached Germany. The German administration, politics and society found themselves quite unprepared for a situation that

Tehran vs. Berlin

Tehran, the capital of Iran, home to the one of the oldest civilizations with a population of 13 million. Berlin, the capital of Germany, with a rich and storied history and population of 3.5 million.                                    Tehran                                                                                 Berlin These two cities have vastly different cultures, religions, topography, and landscapes. During my time spent living in both as an Iranian-born photographer, these cities have revealed unlikely

Berlin as a person – People imagining their city as a Person

In November 2016 I spent one short week in Berlin. I went to visit friends and explore Berlin’s realities. Building my traveling and city experiences in mostly southern European destination, the low sky and fairly empty spaces of Berlin stroke me. I wanted to grasp Berlin’s character. During my stay, I spoke to several people; I asked them to imagine Berlin as if it were a person; who would it

On The Bench

Run, Ahmed, run! You’re late for your German course. Six goddamn minutes until the next train? What will I tell this new teacher? I need to convince her I am the best student. She could now make an impression that I am just another lazy ‘migrant’. How do you say excuse my being late in German? Ouf! The class is closed. There is no course today. Fuck me, how could

Safe cities: Film and Reflection

Safe Cities “The film “Safe Cities” deals with three people, who were unknown to each other and who came to Berlin because of different reasons, from different places and through different ways. The film shows one Turkish, one Mexican, one Syrian person engaging in a conversation that ponders on different dimensions of migration, access to the host society and the social and emotional baggage that is implied in such experiences.

My Berlin: (be-)longing

This collaborative article was written in spring 2016 and can thus be seen as a ‘record of encounters’ after the arrival of a large number of refugees in Berlin. What encounters do you recall? And how have they shaped ‘your’ Berlin? Sarah Fichtner in collaboration with Hussam Tumma Al-Saadi, Rawaa Azizi, Alaa Ali, Sarah Hartmann. Illustrations Alvaro Martinez