Market at Maybachufer in Berlin-Neukölln
by Gabriela Chavez*
I knew early on in my research project that I wanted to focus on some aspect of the Turkish community but I began at first with an arguably unanswerable question: are the Turkish communities “integrated” into society in Berlin? After attempting an interviewing process with young Turks in Kreuzberg I soon realized how obtuse my focus was. Every person I spoke to had such different opinions of their own “integration” in Berlin that it would have been impossible to extrapolate or come to some sort of yes-or-no conclusion—especially with the small amount of interviews I could feasibly conduct. After spending so many Tuesdays and Fridays at the Turkish market, however, a new focus began to emerge. I began to see the space as more than just an opportunity for me to talk to young Turkish vendors, but as a space of recreation, business, and social interaction among many different types of people. This realization then inspired me to also visit the sports club Türkiyemspor and the Hamam Turkish Bathhouse in order to look at how all three of these recreational institutions function as spaces of interaction and cultural exchange for all sorts of Berliners. Furthermore, I hope to connect these observations with discussions of multiculturalism, social integration, and the specific integration of Turkish communities in Berlin (Bloomfield 2003, Silver 2006, Mueller 2007) and see how they might play into Berlin’s status as a global city, a bridge between East and West, and a future metropolis (Cochrane and Passmore 2001, Eckardt 2005, Molnar 2010, Scott 1997)
by Darius Rafieyan*
“Suddenly, they were all here. All these students, artists, layabouts. The complete mob called creative class[…] and suddenly all was changing. The rents were no longer cheap, the drug dealers left the Reuterplatz, whorehouses closed, instead we got open-minded and open-gendered[sic] galleries, junk dealer became to dealer in antiques, and dirty dog shit was turned into peaceful baby buggies. More general this phenomenon is called gentrification”1.
These words are taken from the so-called “video manifesto” of one Mathias Merkle, a disgruntled Neukölln bar owner who blames the recent influx of students and ex-pats for the rapid changes occurring in his beloved borough. This point of view is not an uncommon one in Berlin. Merkle’s 10 minute, broken-English rant went viral in Germany last year and he has become something of a self styled anti-hero for the hipster-averse Berlin purists who want to stem the tide of young, affluent creatives who are supposedly ruining the ‘old Berlin’, whatever that is. Continue reading
Photo: Sabine Slapa
by Markus Kather
For two weeks the temporary concept store of the Berlin-Neukölln based fashion network NEMONA presented an overview of contemporary design scene in one of Berlin’s most diverse neighbourhoods. Two weeks that will have a sustainable impact on local networks and economy. Continue reading
By Markus Kather
These days Karl-Marx-Straße, Neukölln’s beloved/notorious strip of gambling places and discount stores, has one more highlight. Local designers organized in the NEMONA fashion network are presenting their work at a temporary store. Continue reading
by Markus Kather
This weekend Neukölln, one of Berlin’s most interesting districts for art and design, is showing off: Nacht und Nebel is a festival for local art and culture. In more than 100 locations Neukölln’s artists will present their work. At the NEMONA store near Hermannplatz, two young fashion designers present pieces that result from a collaboration with seniors in Helsinki. Continue reading
Nemona designers at the Neukölln Fashion Weekend
By Claudia Rojas
After presenting an urban analysis of Nemona and narrating some histories of social integration in Neukölln, Berlin, in this article we will summarize the most important activities and accomplishments of Nemona´s fashion designers. Their participation (as well as the participation of fashion producers) has a special characteristic that contributed to the success of this network: cooperation. The network´s participants are not encouraged to compete against each other, but, on the contrary, they are encouraged to cooperate with each other. This might sound like an empty phrase, but a couple of real-life examples should help to make this point a little clearer.
Photo by Augustin Teboul
by Claudia Rojas
This article is the second of a series that analyzes Nemona – Network for fashion designers and seamstresses -, in which we present stories of integration in Neukölln around fashion production.
As we have written before, the target group of our project are fashion designers and producers. The members of these two groups are mostly women, in particular because of their abilities and long experience in sewing and knitting, among others. Women with migration background often suffer more obstacles / difficulties when entering the labour market – that is why we decided to focus our initiative on this particular social group. This way, we could contribute to the integration process in Neukölln. Continue reading
by Claudia Rojas
Are we helping to create a better neighbourhood or are we dispensable in its development? This is a question that we ask ourselves when analysing city development projects like Nemona.
Nemona is a project that fosters a sustainable partnership between seamstresses and fashion designers in Neukölln, Berlin, and it has already been presented in this blog (see here and here). One year after beginning the project, we thought it would be a good idea to make an analysis of what it has been achieved so far. Therefore, we will offer a series of 3 articles with an overview of the venture. Today, we start presenting an analysis of whether the project has contributed to neighbourhood development in Neukölln (part 1). In the upcoming weeks, we will submit integration stories from the fashion producers (part 2), and stories of the fashion designers (part 3). Continue reading
Watergate club in Kreuzberg
Have you ever been part of an expat community? I’m talking about those highly mobile groups who leave the comfort of their homeland for the latest fashionable place. They are very different from refugees or immigrants who are forced to leave for political reasons, even though expats love to play with notions of exile. A very luxurious exile indeed. Berlin seems to be the latest cry for expats and has been so for a while. For the untrained eye, the clubs and bars in the districts of Kreuzberg or Neukölln are full of tourists. But the people around you who speak English, Spanish, Swedish or French live in Berlin. At least for a limited period of time or repeatedly – again and again. Continue reading