The Schöpflin Biotop think-tank focuses on projects that are not mainstream, but which are so interesting and promising that we feel they are worthy of further investigation. The Biotop may throw up new issues, or give rise to new cooperation projects. In short, the Biotop is where the Schöpflin Foundation can experiment with its own future.
The Schöpflin Biotop is also developing the Foundation’s regional initiative, »Lörrach im Wandel« (»A Changing Lörrach«). Here we want to bring people on board and support them as they develop a positive future vision for their own region; we will also help them to create the change needed to achieve their vision. The »Wandelbudget« (»Budget for Change«) provides grants of between €100 and €1,000 for this initiative. The funding is allocated to projects that promote social change, greater social justice, environmental responsibility and economic public good in Lörrach and the surrounding area. The »Zukunftsforum« (»Future Forum«) is a citizen-oriented participatory platform that each year addresses different issues. It brings together people from the fields of education, culture, civil society, politics, administration and economics to strengthen the region and promote regional networking.
Another area of the work of the Schöpflin Biotop is research projects and training schemes for NGO management teams. Biotop works with partner organisations to develop leadership programmes. The programmes are then attended by people who work in administration, and with NGOs and social enterprises. We change the focus of the courses each year in order to study a range of issues, including management, voluntary work and remuneration systems; and as part of each course, we look at the specific issues facing those NGOs with colleagues taking part on the course.
Diskutier Mit Mir is a new initiative that campaigns for democratic dialogue. Its first project was to develop an online platform tool for the 2017 German parliamentary elections. The tool brought together people with different political views in a one-on-one format and enabled them to chat about political issues. The www.diskutiermitmir.de website prompted a considerable media response and resulted in some 20,000 conversations between people with diverging opinions.
Political discourse in Germany has become characterised by what are known as online »filter bubbles« – in other words we are, for the most part, connected with only those people who share our views. Pre-selected information, and a lack of discourse and political polarisation – often led by the media – create a divided society. Instead of well-thought-out debate, emotionally charged half-truths seem to be the order of the day. We are supporting the Diskutier Mit Mir project because it promotes contact between people with diverging points of view.
We want Diskutier Mit Mir to become the go-to digital tool for interaction between people with different views and from different backgrounds.
The Maxim Gorki Theater is housed in the former Choral Academy on Berlin’s central thoroughfare, Unter den Linden. The theatre aims to be a place – quite literally - for a society in transition. This is a place that invites people into a public space so that – through the art of making and watching theatre – they can reflect on the contemporary human condition and all its associated identity conflicts. The aim is to encourage considered and calm debate about how, as a diverse society, we can live together.
It is rare to discover unusual insights into how we live together - and to have the space to reflect on how we live together. But this is vital if we are to have a future-oriented and open discussion among all those involved in this process. We are supporting the Maxim Gorki Theater because it plays a key role in Germany in this debate and thus carries a certain responsibility for art and social dialogue in this country.
The Maxim Gorki Theater and the Schöpflin Foundation are supporting the art event, »Das Braune Haus«, created by the Zentrum für Politische Schönheit (Center for Political Beauty) as part of the 3rd Berliner Herbstsalon (Berlin Autumn Salon). The idea is that together we create a platform through which an open society is empowered to take a stand in the socio-political life of our country.
The Zentrum für Politische Schönheit (Center for Political Beauty) describes itself as an assault team that establishes moral beauty, political poetry and human greatness – all with the aim of protecting humanity. The Center is one of the most innovative incubators for political performance art and is a byword for a broader form of theatre: art must hurt, provoke and rise up in revolt. This can all be summed up by the term »aggressive humanism«.
The aim here is to promote and support the development of a transparent, self-determined and democratic society. In this context, action – particularly action through art and specifically theatre – that is targeted, disruptive and extraordinary, can lead to greater awareness and thus to change. As an incubator for political performance art, the Zentrum für Politische Schönheit has a central civil-society role to play.
Together we can make the lessons of the Second World War one of the most important issues for the younger generation and thereby actively promote the defence of human rights.
€100 - €1,000
Lörrach and beyond
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to bring about positive change in a region. Through its »Wandelbudget« (Budget for Change) the Schöpflin Foundation provides organisations and citizens with straightforward and rapid financial support – from €100 to a maximum of €1,000 – enabling them to implement their ideas for change. The total amount allocated to the »Wandelbudget« each year is €10,000.
Often small and fledgling initiatives are unable to get going because there is no or insufficient start-up funding to put a plan into action - and the usual funding sources are too expensive. The »Wandelbudget«will simultaneously activate and uncover social momentum within the community.
The »Wandelbudget« is aimed at projects that promote social change, greater social justice, environmental responsibility and economic public good in Lörrach and the surrounding area. Through its »Wandelbudget« the Schöpflin Foundation wants to bring about positive change in the Lörrach region.
Lörrach and beyond
The Zukunftsforum (Future Forum) was launched in autumn 2016 by the Schöpflin Foundation in association with the citizens platform, fairNETZt. It brings together players from different spheres to examine key issues and is intended to pave the way for stand-alone initiatives and projects. The Future Forum’s findings were presented and discussed this autumn at the Future Day event at Lörrach castle.
Civic involvement can grow if it is visible and when different initiatives are networked. Equally when initiatives and projects are given professional support and encouragement, viable and truly effective ideas and concepts can be turned into a reality.
The Zukunftsforum should identify existing projects and areas where action is needed and then initiate concrete projects. The overall aim is to strengthen regional networks, promote greater sustainability and bolster social cohesion.News