Barcamp in Leipzig 8-9 June 2024

As part of the Zug um Zug Democracy project, a trip to Leipzig took place on Juny 8-9, where participants discussed stereotypes and polarization in society. Here's how it went.
At 9:00 AM, the main group of participants met at the Ostbahnhof square, waiting for the group bus. Even at this early stage, everyone started talking and getting to know each other, engaging all attendees in interesting conversations.

This year, we were able to gather a truly multinational group: among the participants were people born in Russia, Germany, USA, UK, China, Bosnia, Netherlands, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Cameroon, Latvia, Kazakhstan, and India, as well as Israel.
During the bus ride, we suggested that participants get to know each other through speed dating: passengers sitting next to each other answered a question for five minutes, then switched seats and answered the next question with a different partner. This allowed participants to briefly interact with a large number of people and form new connections. Some of the questions included:

- What job did you want when you were a child and why?
- What stereotypes bother you the most?
- An amazing coincidence that happened to you
- How would you want to pass away?
Upon arrival in Leipzig, the entire group gathered in the hotel conference room, where pitches began on topics that participants wanted to discuss. Since a barcamp is an informal conference, participants themselves are the speakers and shape the meeting agenda. Each interested person had only 1 minute to engage the audience. Then people voted for the topics they wanted to discuss. Based on the results of 24 pitches, we selected the most popular topics. The following program was formed:

  • Preparing digital natives for future using ai in education
  • Why is authorship important
  • Manage the stress through body
  • False friends of the translator
  • AI Ethics
  • Global sustainable development goals workshop
  • Using metaphoric pictures to discuss social conversation
  • How to organize an event without money in Berlin
  • Out of bubble: how to bring people to politics
  • Сourse self help apologies
  • How do make our world a better place for everyone who identifies themselves as woman
  • Escape from freedom
  • How I learned to stop worrying and love looking silly
  • Perspective between statistics and personal views
  • Theater improvisation
In addition to the main program, participants suggested and conducted several entertaining workshops: a physical practice for relieving body tension, as well as art workshops on creating portraits of people sitting across from them. It turned into an entire gallery!

In the evening, after such a communication-filled day, participants went to a nearby park, where they sang songs with a guitar and continued informal interaction with each other.
On the second day of our trip, we conducted the "Black and White Leipzig" tour. It was a walk through historical sites and discussions of memorable events from different perspectives. The history, reflected in black and white photographs, prompts us to think in black and white. But is that really the case?

At each stop on the tour, we sent black and white photographs related to that place to the participants' group chat and conducted a survey about historical facts and attitudes towards them. For example:

"In economic terms, the Unification of Germany is?"

1. The collapse of the GDR economy.
2. A chance for a decent life for all.
3. A burden on the West German economy.
4. The story of the deception of the naive inhabitants of the GDR by the capitalists.
5. The murky history of the “Dashing 90s”.
6. Never thought about it.

Additionally, we suggested that participants take black and white photos with their phones during the tour and send them to the group chat. The authors of the best black and white photos received commemorative prizes from the organizers.
As a result, we had a packed trip full of networking, interesting topics and workshops, lots of educational and entertaining content, and a boost of good mood for the whole summer!

Trip results in numbers:

  • 60 participants
  • Participants from 14 countries of origin
  • 24 topic pitches
  • 15 thematic sessions
  • 205 black and white photos from participants after the tour!
Here's what the participants themselves wrote about their impressions:
«It was great to meet so many people and I'd love to have got to know more of you. Hopefully in future events that will become possible. It was also a pleasure to experience the culture of most of those present, your communication, thoughts, passions and musical talents. It was my hope to meet a few people with whom I could do a few podcasts and there are one or two who have hinted at contacting me».

«I was surprised how good the trip was balanced, introvert friendly: a lot of options for networking and also opportunities to recharge.Singing together with you guys in the park was amazing, I realized I’ve been missing that feeling for a long time»

«I’d also like to express my gratitude to the organizers and to all of the participants! It was a pleasure to get to know most of you! What a wonderful weekend full of emotions, laughter, exciting talks and cool practices (chicka-chicka was one of my favorites!)»

«A huge thank you to everyone for such a great weekend! But especially to the organizers for bringing us back to the happy times of a summer camp for the kids. It was one of the most liberating experiences for the past couple of years, a weekend that had it all: a good cry, a good laugh, a little bit of stress and lots of relief. This time i chickened out with a speech, it was already scary enough even to speak out my hashtags. But seeing the speakers being brave and confident was so inspiring, so I hope to find the balls for the next barcamp. I will never forget this trip, vielen lieben Dank!»