Kiezacker Neighborhood Academy

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Katharina Moebus:

“To take the experiences from these two “schools” further, architect Melissa Harrison and I initiated an early version of a neighbourhood academy together in 2016 called Kiezacker. 12 We asked people what they could contribute and what they’d like to learn. An issue, as before with Trade School, was that people were reluctant to teach their specific skill as many didn’t have any experience in teaching. Also, the issue of what people would get back in return came up – which could be both an issue of a reciprocal ‘habitus’ and one of true economic need. In a next iteration, also for the practical part of my current PhD research at Sheffield University, we plan to tackle and explore this issue further with the commons as a basis for all interactions. The methods developed at Kiezacker proved useful in a smaller context while I was part of the Trojan Summer School for ‘critical design practices’ on a small island in Southern Finland in 2016. Students came up with the things they wanted to learn and share with others, created a flexible schedule for the days we spent together and taught each other in different formats and ways. The classes ranged from love meditation over knot-making to nature observation, morning gymnastics, Youtube-sessions on the economy and many more. Depending on the kind of community behind each initiative, the foci of the classes offered shifted between the practical and the theoretical, in both cases creating strong links amongst its members. What I find particularly interesting, is that it was predominantly hands-on practical knowledge that was exchanged in the different projects. There is a rising interest in DIY-practices around the world that empowers people to reclaim their means of production and to become less dependent of the market by acquiring knowledge and resources from self-managed communities.” (