While visiting NewThinking, Andrea and I bumped into her colleague Andreas Gebhard, who, similarly to Andrea, was also very actively involved in the orgainising of re:publica conference, to commence the following week. We engaged in conversation, and Andreas invited me to a two-day workshop on cultural entrepreneurship starting the next day, called WSLab. The workshop was one of the preliminary events leading up to the conference. I arrived at Station Berlin – a renovated industrial premises – without having a clear idea of what our task would be, and no idea regarding who else would be participating. When I got to the venue, the preparations for the following week’s conference were already well under way, with boxes being assembled, placed on top of one another all over the spacious warehouse hall.
The workshop was spread over two rooms in a different hall. Various sheets – to be filled in later – decorated the walls and the desks, felt tip pens and markers were in abundance. The beginning of the workshop was unconventional in the sense that we omitted introductions – so up to the point, about an hour in, when we sat down in alternating small groups to brainstorm together, we had no idea who everyone else was or why they were here, but this in my opinion was beneficial to the working process. (We later had plenty of time to get to know each other better during the end-of-the day beer garden event, where we joined forces with another pre-re:publica workshop).
The initial, warm-up rounds began with discussing ad defining creativity and the significance of creativity in one’s personal and professional life, as well as in relation to communities and society. It was from here that the workshop gradually shifted to more focused group work around more specifically defined questions, but never moving too far from the central question, namely: ‘How could we enable and promote creative spaces to influence global action?‘ The workshop used so-called open storytelling as method, building on the stages of (1) empathy; (2) define; (3) ideate; and (4) test. It seemed to be an efficient method of gradually drawing up precise scenarios from a bunch of vague ideas at the start.
The workshop continued the following day (when I was no longer able to attend), and the results were later presented at re:publica.