PECE Community Project – Everyday Ethnographies of multicultural living in Bremen-Gröpelingen
With the establishment of a science-based ForschungswerkStadt (FWS) (“city research lab”) in Bremen-Gröpelingen – a superdiverse and important arrival city neighborhood in Bremen - the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Research at Bremen University (IfEK) is expanding its activities in the field of public anthropology. It simultaneously probes and seeks new ways and formats of cultural and social research and collaborative knowledge production. This invokes a long-term community commitment with a locally anchored presence in the neighorhood. In addition a digital archive and knowledge infrastructure will be set up to support collaboration. The ForschungswerkStadt combines ethnographic research with the experimentation of new forms of collaborative research and knowledge transfer such as communal storytelling, walking tours, and neighborhood workshops. Future plans also include training and working with multilingual community researchers and the development of new research-based study modules with students, partners and experts of the community.
The project receives funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany (BMBF) as one of two transfer projects of the newly established Research Institute Social Cohesion (FGZ) at Bremen University. The FGZ is a joint research initiative of eleven universities and research institutes in Germany that will investigate current challenges of social cohesion from an interdisciplinary perspective over the next four years (https://www.fgz-risc.de). In cooperation with the research being done at Bremen University, activities and transfer projects of the ForschungswerkStadt address potentials and challenges of multicultural living in urban settings. This includes practices of segregation and distancing as well as spaces of encounter, connections and solidarity between different groups. Bremen-Gröpelingen is a particularly suitable place to explore these questions. More than any other urban district in Bremen this old port and industrial quarter in the west of Bremen brings together both problematic dynamics and innovative potentials of urban structural change: high health risks and unemployment rates, dependence on welfare and public assistance with negative consequences, especially for children and young people, as well as persisting poverty go hand in hand with a considerable range of social, cultural, and ecological initiatives in the neighborhood engaged in and performing various types of community work.
Genealogy of Scientific Community Intervention
A first project of the ForschungswerkStadt aims at developing a critical genealogy of interventionist scientific practice in Gröpelingen by reconstructing and critically reflecting on the history of scientific intervention in Gröpelingen in a collaborative effort with the participation of the former researchers, students, experts and residents from the neighborhood. The process will be captured and documented in ethnographic filmmaking. A central goal of the project is to generate insights into the effects and impacts of scientific intervention which often only become visible in the longer run. In addition, we also see the project as the beginning of an ongoing methodological reflection and discussion with the community about collaboration. This enriches our critical thinking on collaborative methodologies and provides new ideas for innovative transfer formats.
Building up a Community PECE Archiv
Supported by the PECE Design team (Kim and Mike Fortun, Tim Schütz, among others) and the Digital Impact Lab in Gröpelingen we are working on setting up a community PECE instance with a public interface for the ForschungswerkStadt which allows the collection and sharing of different types of data such as personal narratives on mobility trajectories, work and migrant biographies, everyday ethnographies of surviving, resistance and collaboration, but also historical documents, photos and other visual and written material.
The idea behind this is to create and build up a digital community archiv that opens up new spaces for collaboration and collaborative research with and within the neighborhood.
Collaborative Storytelling and Field Trips “WerkStadtgespräche”
Another format of the FWS are neighborhood talks (Werkstadtgespräche) with different groups, stakeholders and residents on relevant community topics: stories of arriving, staying and leaving; stories of work and protest; stories about places and places of remembrance in their neighborhood. Different storytelling methods will be used: In addition to narrative interviews and storytelling workshops we will also do collaborative walking and field trips in the neighborhood. As a method of "redistributing" knowledge and experience between different groups or generations, such walking tours are well established in urban ethnography. Such explorative walks with heterogeneous will open up space for different and new perspectives on this place and its hidden stories.
Brief Summary for the project "ForschungswerkStadt Bremen-Gröpelingen" Political education as transfer lab and collaborative knowledge production in a super diverse neighborhood: New formats of public social and cultural research.
Dr. Martina Grimmig
Prof. Dr. Michi Knecht
Martina Grimmig and Michi Knecht, "PECE Community Project: Everyday Ethnographies of multicultural living", contributed by Mike Fortun, Kim Fortun and Tim Schütz, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 9 October 2020, accessed 22 September 2021.