3rd regional workshop – a deepened investigation on cross-over inititaives and coworking in rural contexts

The third out of four planned regional workshops took place in the middle of May in the very unusual setting of the Alte Mühle (old mill) in Himmelpfort, one and a half hours by car north of Berlin. The village counts only around 550 inhabitants and is a popular holiday resort famous for being Santa Clause’s home, but devoid of any kind of industry or economy whatsoever.

The Alte Mühle is an old industrial mill, owned by Tilman Kunowski and his partner Brit Eisman, who seek to transform the place into a meeting place for creative professionals who want to transplant their work- and living space to the country side for a while.

To this special venue we had invited some of the participants of our last workshop (from Neuruppin, Oranienburg, Eberswalde and Strausberg), who were and are already working with and on the issues of cross-over inititaives and have or plan to acquire a space where this can happen – be it under the format called coworking or in a different manner.

As a special guest we had invited Marc Piesbergen, the project leader of Grüne Werkstatt Wendland, an open source project in the very rural region Wendland, mostly famous for the regular protest against the passing Castor Transport, for Ex-Hippie communes and the historical rundlings villages.

In this remote area, the Grüne Werkstatt manages to bring together designers, students and local companies to work together on innovative new products and services in their annual project week called Designcamp.

As this project is already running very successfully and is open to being transferred to other regions, Marc was really the perfect guest for our workshop.

In the first part, he shared all his experience and answered to all the many questions the group had. In the second part, we concentrated on the participants’ own projects, their challenges and visions and collected ideas on how to go on from there. It definitely seems as though stronger collaboration between all sectors and local players is a good starting point.

Right now we are in the middle of conceptualizing the next steps on which we will keep you posted here.