Civic Design Project: “In the Eyes of the Other”

Multimedia discussion on the topic of cultural identity and integration of refugees.
2nd semester / Sommersemester 2017
Supervisor: Prof. Michaela Köhler, Prof. Christiane Nowottny, Prof. Fred Arnold
Cooperation Partners: 
Angelika Scheffknecht und Dorothee Firus, Katholische Kirchengemeinde St. Maria, Neustadt-Hohenacker  
Lizika Deufel, Katholische Erwachsenenbildung Rems-Murr e.V.
Christine Lutz, Kunstschule Unteres Remstal

published on:

“Identity comes from the fact that the others make a picture of us.”
Quote: André Vladimir Heiz, Identities and Differences, Fundamentals of Design, Volume 4, Verlag Niggli 2012

In the summer semester 2017 students of the Communication Design course of studies in the modules Basics of Design, Visual Communication, supervised by Prof. Michaela Köhler and Media Technology I+II, supervised by Prof. Christiane Nowottny dealt with the topic of cultural identity and the integration of refugees in the second semester. The aim was to examine the topic from different perspectives with different actors and to illuminate it in a multimedia way.

At the beginning of the study project “In the Eyes of the Other” the students met with young refugees in a 2-day workshop in the community centre of the Catholic community St. Maria in Neustadt-Hohenacker. After getting to know each other for the first time and having dinner together, the students and the young refugees worked together and in groups on the following day with different multimedia design techniques on the portrait of their counterpart in order to experience and present differences and similarities. The focus was on the development and creation of identities.

The results of the workshop in text and picture formed the basis for a further creative discussion in the form of serigraphs, which the students produced in the screen printing workshop of the art school Unteres Remstal. The results of the two workshops led to an exhibition of serigraphs, a video installation and a performance in the church St. Maria in Neustadt-Hohenacker.

In order to reflect and further develop the experience, the topic was further developed as a seminar paper in the modules Fundamentals of Design, Visual Communication and Media Technology I+II. The students deepened their contact to the refugees in Neustadt and to other refugees and extended their extensive research for further contents and statements. They developed zines, infographics, stop motion films as well as a homepage out of the developed contents.

The project was developed in cooperation with the Private University for Communication and Design, the Catholic Parish St. Maria Neustadt Hohenacker, the Catholic Adult Education Unteres Remstal e.V., the Art School Unteres Remstal as well as the friendly support of the City of Waiblingen and the Kreissparkasse Waiblingen.

In the winter semester 2017/18, the student works were shown in a vernissage for the exhibition “In den Augen des Anderen” (In the Eyes of the Other) in the vault of the university on the Stuttgart campus.