Karen Czock, Greta Much, Bettina Nagler, Amelie Neb
The project aims at connecting initiatives through an online platform, providing a shared space for local knowledge and practices as well as a place of exchange for specific needs and competencies facing the structural changes in the former eastern German coal regions. In addition facilitating access to small and mid-scale funding provided by the government and private corporations, in order to stabilise current cultural as well as economic activities. Allocating, bringing together, moderating and implementing co-creative solutions.When presenting the platform to Stabsstelle Mitteldeutschland, the institution organising the process, they avoided clear plans to integrate the platform proposed – therefore a continuous development with CIVIC, Leipzig has been agreed on.
In January 2020, the German Government decided to promote a renewable energy policy while phasing out coal-based energy production until 2038, announcing an investment of 40 billion Euros for transformations and structural changes. Through the replacement of coal infrastructure, livelihoods are being transformed and whole industries are facing intense changes. Power plants and mines are being shut down, settlements lose their site-specific functions, and jobs in the field change or lose meaning. The resulting transformations show effects from industry and work environments down to the family and individual level. After the German reunification, the former GDR region “Mitteldeutschland” already underwent severe changes, most of which did not play out well for local economies and traditional industries. This generated a high distrust among residents for vast transformation dynamics (Treuhand Trauma). Many young people leave the areas to find work and find their future elsewhere. The former coal region is one of Germany’s most rapidly depopulating zones. Simultaneously, new networks emerge on a civic level. People make use of low-cost spaces, engage and create new micro-economies, cultural production zones and collective practices. Yet those small-scale initiatives and networks are oftentimes not made part of the government planning and related funding.