I would like to express myself primarily from the point of view of an activist in a district advertised by the city of Munich as an artists' quarter, the Kreativ Quartier. I lead an initiative in the creative district of Munich called Zona Libre and works completely free of charge. Fortunately, the city provided us with free premises and a green area for the implementation of our projects (a free shop, distribution of rescued food, a distribution point for solidarity agriculture and community garden). Of course, these lack any comfort (no heating, no water). So the initiatives in Glasgow like Rumpus Room, Vevar and still life in Glasgow impressed me the most. Here, too, the means seem to be small, the premises are provisionally equipped, and yet these very operators seem to me to be extremely committed. I've practically learned that the lack of comfort can strengthen the will to assert yourself with your idea and to stick with it.

The opening up to the neighborhood via urban gardening and creative offers and workshops by Rumpus Room in combination with joint festivals and activities reminded me that the Zona Libre also hosted a free festival on every 11th of the month where rescued food was cooked, music was made and was exchanged until the city removed the installations (stage, bar made of clay and bottles, etc.) used for this purpose on the open spaces.

The creative quarter in Munich was originally supposed to be a site developed by the city together with the users, on which there are old buildings worth preserving, but also various buildings are to be demolished at regular intervals and new buildings are planned. Since the site is very large, it is also very diverse. Since the beginning there have been efforts to organize the quarter together with all users and to determine how you use it (button up). Many disputes with the city and a formal union of the users, which was shaped with many ups and downs, were necessary so that the users themselves can also have a say in their future. 

It has long been ineffective to create a unifying group that speaks out with one voice and is heard by the city. The many different initiatives, activists and workshops also have different requirements.

For example, we visited the Atelierhaus Dachauerstrasse, which is primarily used by older artists. The users have made several attempts to consolidate their right to stay and not to submit to a change of user desired by the city, but the attempt to obtain lifelong right to stay or to buy the building also failed. The visit to the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, where the initiators and a sponsor managed to own a building, was all the more interesting for us. The functioning overall system impressed me the most here. There is room for artists who work individually and artists in residence and the excellently equipped workshops that can be used by everyone are very special. The cooperation with neighboring schools and the diverse range of offers by the artists for the citizens are implemented directly on site. This increases the visibility of the artists working in the house and creates incentives for everyone to be creative. At the Kreative Quartier also are always workshops, exhibitions and festivals for visitors and the neighborhood in the creative district. Nevertheless, it separates the visitors into different interest groups, the needy tend to come to the Zona Libre, those interested in art to other events, other visitors to concerts and parties, etc, so they rarely mingle. 

The visit to Edinburgh and Glasgow made it clear to me that there must be many competencies so that initiatives in the artistic sector can function internally and that they have a social and cultural-pedagogical impact externally. My personal mission, however, is more about reuse and sustainability, so I invest my energy in teaching techniques for recycling old clothes and providing a platform for distributing commodities and food. Perhaps, by carefully observing the various and different initiatives being conducted on our visit to Scotland, I have learned that it is better to concentrate on one's own talents, to use one's skills in a targeted manner and to get the maximum out of it and make it available to society and not to fight to lead on lost ground. So you have to connect with different capacities, do public relations and join forces with professionals in other fields also to have a better effectiveness towards city and state institutions.

I hope that by working together with individual initiatives in Scotland (e.g. Edinburgh Sculpture workshop and rumpus room) we can continue to exchange our experiences in the future and also run an artist exchange so that the individual creative people can experience where and why they felt comfortable and also what is missing to apply the results in their own environment. Such an exchange greatly increases the motivation to continue and also enables a change of perspective and, above all, a break from one's own problems. Overall, the encounter really motivated me to keep going, but to focus my energy on the feasibility of projects instead of working on David versus Goliath projects.

In view of the many brilliant and successful examples in Edinburgh and Glasgow, I certainly see the possibility that the Kreativ Quartier and its initiatives can continue to develop. However, I am absolutely of the opinion that it is not necessary to put an umbrella over the whole thing and try to get everyone under one roof and let them speak with a unified voice, as the city wants and as it is partly in the district pushed forward. It is important to increase the visibility of the individual initiatives, especially those that are grassroots, to give them funding to continue their projects and to give them a place on a (digital) platform like make.works so that they can increase their impact. Even as expanding initiatives such as “Treibgut/Treibstoff” (where sets, costumes and other used materials are stored and offered for recycling) migrate from the city’s designated Kreativquartier district because they need larger an cheaper spaces, the initiative still exists and is of greater importance for the sustainable use of materials in the city and for its artists and manufacturer. It is also necessary to pay attention to social fringe groups, in this case the aging artists, because they have prepared the way for what is now taking place on the surfaces, i.e. they have more than 40 years ago started to transform the Industry and municipal utilities and now need support to be able to stay.

I hope that our BESPOKE project, which is funded by Cultural Bridge, will create an expanding network that will pick up the small manufacturers and cultural outsider initiatives.