A participatory and open approach is central to the Kottishop, which is part of the neighbourhood at Kottbusser Tor since 2008. Who are the participants of the project? What are their ambitions?
We are working with the diverse neighbourhood of the Neue Kreuzberger Zentrum at Kottbusser Tor, with adults as well as children and elderly people. The Neue Kreuzberger Zentrum is a huge concrete building surrounding the Kottbusser Tor – known affectionately as “Kotti“. 1250 people are living alone in this particular building. It is embedded in one of Berlin’s most urban places yet, for the people living here it seems to be a small village: People know each other, they meet in the floors of the huge building, they see each other on the street.
In our projects and in this project in particular we are focusing on building bridges between people through participatory art and thus shaping and forming together the social fabric of our living environment. The Kottishop is part of the neighbourhood since 2008. It is an important place for the neighbours and the children living there, with an atmosphere of trust and respect. People from the neighbourhood who were passing by could join in anytime. Thus, during the last months, the group was growing, new relationships developed, people brought friends, their direct neighbours etc.
All of them enjoy expressing themselves artistically. Yet it is more important to get to know each other; to form and shape our relationships and our living environment together: to meet other people whom they wouldn’t have met otherwise, to get to know each other, to talk about important issues in their lives, to have a place to go regularly where people accept them for who they are.