Covid has been weaponised across numerous locations in order to increasingly restrict, contain and exclude marginalized voices. Young generations have been especially affected. The current war in Ukraine is adding a new rapidly changing layer to this geopolitical transformation within Europe. SOUP3 puts youth and marginalised communities centre stage in designing creative solutions to counteract the issues affecting them most. Participants are invited into an interdisciplinary transnational ecosystem of exchange that amplifies their voices and power by providing seed funding, training and connections to develop and test creative, artistic and sociocultural solutions in 2022. SOUP3 is based on principles of inclusion, empowerment and solidarity. The partnership builds a dialogical bridge between rural East Germany and urban Athens, Greece.
SOUP3 is utilising a methodology wherein communities come together over a bowl of soup to present and participate in locally initiated projects. The presented community projects receive this a small seed funding for the proposal while also being provided with tools, mentoring and trainingm access to networks and professional advice to develop and test proposed solutions by the partnership.
The project aims to revitalise the power of communal knowledge systems and merge these with creative and feminist approaches to entrepreneurship. All partners have extensive experience of working with marginalised communities using culture and design practices: Oyoun specialises in the production of culture and knowledge from class-critical and neurodiverse convictions expressed through multiple art forms; Haus des Wandels specialises in artistic approaches to creating structurally sustainable infrastructures and libertarian forms of organisation; and the Office of Displaced Designers specialises in co-design methodologies, often employing design-thinking and creative research practices to surface issues, patterns and the relationships between them.
In addition to the SOUP3 presentations, the partners will provide one workshop day each month, with some of that time connecting across locations, plus bi-weekly mentoring sessions for each group/project. These activities support: the conceptualisation of artistic and sociocultural projects; presentation skills; project planning and impact measurement training; finding partners and funders; support for prototyping and testing. Empowerment, self-care and solidarity are the driving values behind this mentoring. External experts will also be called upon where required to supplement knowledge in other areas of expertise such as business administration, legal advice and local accounting.
SOUP3 works primarily with displaced and marginalised communities that intrinsically employ creative coping mechanisms adapted to the unique challenges that they face. This knowledge is regularly overlooked and undervalued and this project aims to redefine how we understand creativity. Working with these groups in the rural Brandenburg area of Germany and the urban area of Athens, the project provides a platform for perspectives by BIPoC and diasporic artists, curators, designers, creative professionals and social entrepreneurs where tacit community knowledge holds value.
All three partners have extensive (lived) experience in empowerment work with migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in their neighbourhoods and surrounding areas and their work is therefore grounded in discrimination-sensitive and privilege-sensitive critical methodological approaches.
SOUP3 impacts all project participants directly by: building mutually beneficial dialogical communication and trust-based relationships; up-skilling in design, analytical and creative tools; increasing autonomy and building self-esteem. The wider community will benefit by having their community representatives amplify the issues most affecting them and grant access to targeted, relevant support including skills, connections and wealth. The empowerment and social cohesion elements of this collaboration are central to this project, not the timely growth of project ideas into products.