Every three months, we bring club culture actors and experts from a variety of fields together in our roundtables to enable an exchange at »eye-level« regarding a diverse and safer club culture.
While each roundtable addresses current topics relevant to Berlin’s club scene, their broader aim is to foster consistent, open dialogue, enable shared learning and develop standards and action steps for awareness and diversity work.
If you would like more in-depth information or minutes of past roundtables, feel free to write us an email.
Die aktuelle Realität der Berliner Clubkultur ist vor allem durch eines geprägt: steigende Kosten und Preise und extremer wirtschaftlicher Druck. Seit der Wiedereröffnung der Clubs nach der Pandemie wird die Verwobenheit in den Strukturen des neoliberalen Kapitalismus wie unter dem Brennglas sichtbar. Alles wird teurer, die Arbeitsbedingungen immer schwieriger und es drängt sich die Frage auf: Wer hat eigentlich noch Zugang zu Clubkultur und zu welchen Bedingungen? Wie können so noch vielfältige und offene Räume entstehen?
Schauen wir die aktuellen Herausforderungen der Berliner Clubkultur an, kommt man auf der Suche nach der Ursache des Problems sehr oft auf dem ein oder anderen Wege bei der Dimension des Sozialen Status, von Klasse und damit verbundenen prekären Verhältnissen heraus. Eintritts- und Getränkepreise haben sich verdoppelt, was vor allem marginalisierten Personen den Zugang zu und Teilhabe an Clubkultur erschwert, wo es doch gerade für sie ein Safer Space sein sollte. DJ und Booking Fees steigen an, während für einige nicht mal die Reisekosten erstattet werden und Promoter umsonst arbeiten. Kollektive können sich die Mieten für Clubs nicht mehr leisten und verlieren mit jeder Veranstaltung viel Geld. Auch für Clubs sind die Kosten unermesslich – die Preise für Personal, Energie, Heizung und Materialien müssen aufgrund der Inflation und der Energiekrise angehoben werden. Um hier nur einige Beispiele zu nennen.
Die Teilhabe an Clubkultur ist heutzutage zu einem Privileg geworden. Die ursprünglich mit Berlin eng verbundene Underground- und DIY-Kultur verschwindet, Clubs werden schließen und Kollektive verschwinden. Damit einher geht die Gefahr des Verlusts einer vielfältigen Szene und der Nischen.
Obwohl die Problemstellungen sowie Ausschlüsse durch Klassismuss und kaptilistische Verwertungszwänge so allumfassend und omnipräsent sind, fällt es noch immer schwer, darüber zu sprechen und eine echte Debatte zu führen. Oft sind sie schwer greifbar und verwoben mit anderen Problemstellungen und Diskriminierungsformen und das Thema mit Scham besetzt.
Mit diesem Roundtable möchten wir die verschiedenen Perspektiven von Veranstalter:innen, Clubmitarbeitenden, Clubs, DJs und Gästen zusammenbringen, überhaupt erst einmal den Austausch starten, die aktuelle Lage der Berliner Clubkultur analysieren und überlegen, wie prekäre Strukturen begriffen und Strategien, die dem entgegenwirken, entwickelt werden können.
Dienstag, 20.06.2023, 19:00 – 22:00 Uhr
Ort: Mensch Meier
Anmeldung via: email@example.com
If we look at the current challenges of Berlin’s club culture, when searching for the cause of the problem, one very often comes up one way or another with the dimension of social status, class, and the precarious conditions associated with it. Admission and drink prices have doubled, making it difficult for marginalized people in particular to access and participate in club culture, when it should be a safe space for them in particular. DJ and booking fees are rising, while for some not even travel expenses are reimbursed and promoters work for free. Collectives can no longer afford the rents for clubs and lose a lot of money with every event. The costs for clubs are also immeasurable – the prices for staff, energy, heating and materials have to be raised due to inflation and the energy crisis. To give just a few examples here.
Participation in club culture has become a privilege these days. The underground and DIY culture originally closely associated with Berlin is disappearing, clubs are closing and collectives are disappearing. This is accompanied by the danger of losing a diverse scene and niches.
Although the problems as well as exclusions due to classism and captilistic exploitation constraints are so all-encompassing and omnipresent, it is still difficult to talk about them and have a real debate. They are often elusive and interwoven with other problematics and forms of discrimination, and the topic is fraught with shame.
With this roundtable we would like to bring together the different perspectives of organizers, club staff, clubs, DJs and guests, start an exchange in the first place, analyze the current situation of Berlin club culture and consider how precarious structures can be understood and strategies that counteract them can be developed.
Tuesday, June 20, 7-10pm
Location: Mensch Meier
Registration via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barrierefreiheit bedeutet, dass alle Bereiche des täglichen Lebens für alle Menschen gleichermaßen ohne fremde Hilfe zugänglich sind, und ist ein Thema, das auch im Kontext von Veranstaltungen und Clubkultur eine immer wichtigere Rolle spielt. Trotzdem sind Menschen mit Behinderung nur selten in Clubs und Bars oder auf Konzerten anzutreffen, weil selbstbestimmtes Ausgehen für sie an vielen Orten in Berlin unmöglich ist. Geht man als Club, Kollektiv oder Veranstalter*in das Thema Barrierefreiheit an, dann gibt es viele verschiedene Dinge zu bedenken. Diese Komplexität und die meist fehlende eigene Erfahrung, durch Barrieren an der Teilnahme am gesellschaftlichen und sozialen Leben gehindert zu werden, kann zu Verunsicherung und Überforderung führen, und auch dazu, dass das Thema gar nicht erst angegangen wird.
Mit diesem Roundtable möchten wir den Perspektivwechsel fördern, dass Menschen mit Behinderungen nicht behindert sind, sondern durch bestimmte Barrieren behindert werden und dass wir in unserer Arbeit alle eine Beitrag für mehr Teilhabe leisten können. Gemeinsam mit den eingeladenen Expert*innen schauen wir aus den unterschiedlichen Blickwinkeln der Clubgäste mit Behinderung, der Clubbetreibenden sowie Initiativen, die sich für den Abbau von Barrieren auf Veranstaltungen engagieren und des rechtlichen Rahmens auf das Thema Barrierefreiheit. Wir wollen uns austauschen und gemeinsam lernen, was wir alle für mehr Teilhabe und den Abbau von Barrieren in Clubs und auf clubkulturellen Veranstaltungen tun können.
Mittwoch, den 22.03.2023 von 18:00 – 21:00 Uhr
Revier Suedost, Schnellerstraße 137, 12439 Berlin
Anmeldung via: email@example.com
18:00 – 18:10: Begrüßung durch die Awareness Akademie
18:10 – 18:30: Alle mitdenken. Barrierearm bedeutet nicht nur rollstuhlgerecht – mit Judyta Smykowski (Input auf Deutsch)
18:30 – 18:50: Barrierefreiheit (Realität) vs. Barrierearmut (Vision) in Clubs – mit Marcel Weber (Input auf Englisch)
19:10 – 19:30: Wie mich meine Erfahrungen als Club- und Festivalgast mit Behinderung dazu brachten, meine eigene Veranstaltungsreihe zu entwickeln – mit Katouche (Input auf Englisch)
19:30 – 19:45: Der Rechtliche Rahmen Selbstbestimmten Ausgehens für Menschen mit (zugeschriebener) Behinderung – mit Melissa Kolukisagil (Input auf Deutsch)
19:45 – 20:30: Gruppenarbeit: Barrieren abbauen in Clubs und auf Veranstaltungen – wie und wo anfangen?
20:30 – 21:00 Präsentation der Ergebnisse & Abschluss
Together against Spiking
For some time we have been receiving reports of spiking in Berlin clubs. We take these reports very seriously and are in contact with various experts and organisations. Our aim is to create spaces where everyone can feel safe. Instead of telling potential victims how to protect themselves from spiking, we have to do everything we can to prevent these acts and exclude perpetrators from our places.
In the meantime, cases of needle spiking have also been reported in Berlin. What is particularly worrying is that so far there is hardly any reliable knowledge about the substances used, the perpetrators or the motives. The lack of awareness of how to deal with spiking victims on the part of guests, staff or rescue services makes it difficult to clarify the situation. The dangers that can arise in combination with the voluntary use of legalised or illegalised substances should not be underestimated. We can only deal with these challenges together.
On 16 June, we would like to exchange ideas with you about spiking in the Berlin club scene and discuss what measures we can take. We have invited experts to speak from the perspective of medical professionals, drug field professionals and victim support groups. In addition, we would like to invite everyone to contribute their own perspectives and approaches in a town hall format.
16.06.2022, 18:00-20:00 pm
Location: Marie Antoinette, Holzmarktstraße 15-18, 10179 Berlin
Registration via: firstname.lastname@example.org
This time, in light of the reopening of the clubs and venues and after more than two years of intensive work, exchange, networking and mutual learning, we want to dedicate ourselves again concretely to one of the fundamental visions with which we started the Awareness Academy project in 2020: Awareness & Diversity Minimum Standards and Values for Club Culture.
We are now in the third year of the Awareness Akademie – one of the goals we started with was to work with you towards common values and achievable guidelines regarding anti-discrimination, awareness work and the promotion of diversity and equality in Berlin club culture.
Despite the pandemic and the associated state of emergency for society and especially our scene, the Awareness Akademie has been able to find itself, has worked a lot, advised and created offers for dialogue, networking and further education, which are now being accepted with trust and great interest and commitment. Along the way, we repeatedly come to the point in discussions that an awareness and diversity code of values can be an essential and helpful instrument for sustainable positive changes in Berlin’s club culture.
Accordingly, this year we would like to take a closer look at the development of such values and standards together with you. This roundtable should be the first impulse for this process. For this reason, we will refrain from the usual frontal inputs this time and spend the three hours together with you in the form of workshops and discussions. We very much hope that you will participate in large numbers.
31.05.2022, 18:00-21:00 pm
Location: Fitzroy, S-Bahn Bogen 46, Holzmarktstraße 15, 10179 Berlin
Registration via: email@example.com
18:00 – 18:20: Welcome and report of the last months and current activities of the AK Awareness & Diversity of the Clubcommission/ Awareness Academy.
18:20 – 18:40 Impulse: Values – what are we actually talking about?
18:50 – 19:30 Workshop Phase I: Values
19:40 – 20:30 Workshop Phase II: Strategies & Minimum Standards
20:30 – 21:00 Presentation & joint discussion of the results
21:00 – 21:05 Conclusion & Outlook
All actors in the field of awareness, anti-discrimination and club culture in Berlin are invited – club operators and staff, collectives, festivals, initiatives, organisers, bookers, researchers, consultants, interested parties and more. Welcome are those who are already actively working on the topics of awareness and diversity in club culture as well as those who are just starting out. The aim is to exchange ideas on achievable guidelines and values regarding Awareness & Diversity in club culture.
The roundtable will be held in German and English.
Let’s talk about G in Berlin Club Culture
On one hand, G —when freely consumed, and when used in drink spiking — places a burden on already threatened clubs, their operators and employees. On the other hand, the stigmatization of G users, plus the anxiety and strain that G use places on club operators, means that too often, people in need of assistance don't receive it, intoxicated users get kicked out instead of being supported, and help is not called in emergencies. This is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken through constructive dialogue, education, sensitization, training and awareness.
The consumption of G in a club context has increased significantly in recent years. Since the reopening of the clubs, the public debate about this in Berlin has once again taken on new relevance and is polarizing due to very different perspectives and approaches to the topic. G is a particularly high-risk substance, as there is a very high potential of unintentional overdose—which can be fatal. The danger increases especially when mixed with alcohol or other downers.
Therefore, we stand for a responsible and open approach to the topic. In order to illuminate this dialogue from different perspectives, to discuss responsibilities and challenges in more depth, we dedicate the next roundtable of the Awareness Academy to the topic and would like to invite you to join us.
Alte Münze Berlin, Molkenmarkt 2, 10179 Berlin
This time, the roundtable will take place on site exclusively in English and will be available online as a livestream.
Pansy is the stage and internet persona of Parker Tilghman. The American-born artist developed his work increasingly in nightclubs, festivals and public cultural institutions. For her, drag is a form of expression that promotes social justice and the voices of other female*, trans* and non-binary artists. In his work, she mixes comedy and camp in order to discuss issues such as HIV, racism, mental health and sexual violence.
Leur Hirz is a clinical psychologist. She works at the Berliner Krisendienst, at Lara e.V. – Fachberatungsstelle gegen sexuelleisierte Gewalt an Frauen, as a feminist researcher and in counseling children and adolescents in school contexts. She has also been active for several years in eclipse e.V. – psychedelic crisis intervention.
Rüdiger Schmolke is a health scientist and has worked for over 25 years in the field of low-threshold, acceptance-oriented drug work. He is an active board member of SONICS Safer Nightlife Bundesverband and one of the coordinators of SONAR – Safer Nightlife Berlin.
Lukas Roediger is a second-year resident in psychiatry at the Charité. He has been part of the working group »AG Psychotrope Substanzen« for about 3 years. Within this framework, Felix has contributed to several surveys and publications on the topic of »party drugs«.
In the context of his inpatient work on the acute ward, he has accompanied about 10-20 inpatient GBL withdrawals, experienced and treated complications and acute intoxications in the consultation service (advising on other wards) and in the emergency department.
Karina Nawrat is running the booking for several clubs in Berlin as well as in Poland and is hosting a floor at Undercity Festival, PL. The events in the clubs she books reflect her long lasting interest in creating an inclusive, experimental and safe environment for the artists of many different social and musical backgrounds. Karina has been hosting a number of queer events at venues she books such as RIOT, Mala Junta, BRENN, DURCH and many others.
Community Accountability & Silence
In this roundtable we want to talk about, discuss and consider together how constructive processes of taking responsibility can look and be designed in our clubs, collectives and communities. How can we work together to create safety and support for those affected by violence? What steps and skills are needed to recognise and seriously reflect on transgressions? How can this lead to real change to actually make club culture a bit safer and more inclusive?
What does it mean and how did it come about? Reflection & discussion of history and current practice
Awareness teams, awareness work, awareness as a concept in itself is something we see and read more and more often in the context of club events, festivals and open airs. But where does awareness actually come from, from which movements did awareness as a practice emerge? What is it about the special attitude that should underlie every awareness concept, no matter for which space it was developed? How can mindful and safe spaces, especially for marginalised communities, be created and sustained within our club culture? How could the concept of acting aware become an achievable guideline for all our club cultural spaces, while maintaining attitude?
Ann Wiesental is active in support groups for people affected by sexual violence as well as in various social movements. She is co-founder of the >Antisexist Contact and Awareness Group<, which laid a foundation for the concept of awareness in the context of the protest against the G8 summit in Heiligendamm in 2007. Ann Wiesental offers supervision and awareness workshops and accompanies »transformative work» with perpetrator of violence. She is also the author of the book »Antisexist Awareness – A Handbook» (Unrast Verlag).
In her input on »Awareness – an attitude and an action», Ann gives insights into concepts for support work. Awareness is part of an action that does not look on passively, but supports affected people actively. This includes an attitude that does not patronise affected people but stands by them in solidarity. Incidents of discrimination or (sexual) violence are not seen as individual fate, but as structural consequences of current power relations.
Erkan Affan is a curator and a writer who was born in South London. They research the intersections of sexuality, gender and migration. In 2019, Erkan co-founded the Berlin-based collective Queer Arab Party, which promotes the visibility of the queer Arab community and provides its members an intentional and safer space to experiment with identity.
Erkan shares experiences of the Queer Arab Party collective’s awareness practice and how the spaces, workshops and discussions Erkan hosts for the queer, Muslim and migrant community in Berlin and beyond can become safer spaces.
Rave Awareness is a group of five people who have been active in awareness work together for some years now. As people who work in event management, social work and political education, they approach the topic from different perspectives. They share their experiences and knowledge through awareness workshops for organisers, collectives and festivals. Together with the participants they always try to ask new questions in order to find new answers.
Agi and Sulamith give an insight into the roots of awareness work and present which social developments and movements are formative for today’s concepts.
Insights and outlook
- In order to create and maintain more safer spaces in our club culture, awareness work must increasingly find its way into club cultural spaces. Training of all actors who are involved in nightlife as well as workshops and campaigns, discussion spaces for clubbers and regular exchanges between clubs are central to this.
- It should be noted that the clubs’ level of knowledge about awareness can be very different. Therefore, all participants must be picked up in terms of language and content. The content which is developed by radical thinkers must be communicated sensitively. The restraint of club owners due to e.g. the privilege of unawareness and image protection must be counteracted with low-threshold requirements and programmes.
- In order to shape awareness work collectively, intersectionally and inclusively, clubs, staff and awareness teams must themselves be diverse. Conversations with people affected by different forms of discrimination must not only be held, but experiences, best practice examples and knowledge must be collected and made accessible transparently and as low-threshold as possible.
- The integration of awareness teams as permanent, trained and paid employees within club operations is also required, as well as the acquisition of state funds to finance ongoing supervision for club staff. The Club Commission is currently working with community stakeholders on »Awareness Standards» that we can all agree on. These »minimum guidelines» are necessary to be eligible for funding.
Mental Health and Club Culture
Feelings of community, ecstasy, crisis - What is the relationship between club culture and mental health?
Clubs can act as protected spaces for people who experience the weight of discrimination or marginalization in everyday life. Consequently, the loss of these spaces during the time of the pandemic can lead to further stress. Meanwhile, for those working behind the scenes, clubs sometimes also represent workplace challenges or financial insecurity. On the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, this roundtable discussed the tension between mental wellbeing, going out, and work in club culture.
- Leur Hirz is a clinical psychologist. She works at the Berliner Krisendienst, at Lara e.V. – Fachberatungsstelle gegen sexuelleisierte Gewalt an Frauen, as a feminist researcher and in counseling children and adolescents in school contexts. She has also been active for several years in eclipse e.V. – psychedelic crisis intervention.
- Katrin Will works as an addiction therapist and counselor at Vista and is a member of the Sonar crew.
- Rüdiger Schmolke is a health scientist and has worked for over 25 years in the field of low-threshold, acceptance-oriented drug work. He is an active board member of SONICS Safer Nightlife Bundesverband and one of the coordinators of SONAR – Safer Nightlife Berlin.
- Silan Derin is a psychologist, works as a counselor at Stillpoint Spaces Berlin and has herself worked in various Berlin clubs and club culture contexts.
Insights and outlook
- How can the community support each other? Especially in times when Corona constrains our social networks, we need effective ways to recognize mental crisis situations. People who otherwise only meet each other at parties need spaces to reconnect to ensure one another’s well-being.
- The creators and organizers of club spaces are also missing places to come together. Due to the crisis, many have lost their work and the daily structures it offered. We need new ways to support and provide companionship to one another.
- How can education, e.g. about drug use, take place outside clubs? Support opportunities need to be shared across all social classes and communities. Resources, such as referrals to help hotlines or therapists with proximity to club culture, could be made available on social media until it is possible to share in person and at parties again.
Racism and Club Culture
Where are the problems and how does anti-racism work in club cultural spaces?
The pandemic not only threatens the livelihoods of many people within club culture, but also throws the inequalities and shortcomings of our society into stark relief. Much of this is happening without concrete awareness of racist mechanisms within our own structures. But racist practices and actions also take place in club culture in various dimensions and areas—in teams, in communication, on the dance floor, at the door, in programming. This roundtable hosted actors and initiatives who actively work against racism and for equal treatment in club culture. Together, these actors and roundtable participants discussed and analyzed the status quo, and developed countermeasures and opportunities for action.
- Celine Barry led (through fall 2020) the anti-discrimination counseling of Each One Teach One, a community-based education and empowerment project in Berlin. Within the framework of the federal program Demokratie leben!, EOTO is active in the structural development of federal centers for racism prevention and empowerment of Black communities.
- Kikelomo is a DJ, radio show host and Boiler Room host.
- Maureen Mutheu is, among other things, organizer and curator of the Berlin club series Higher Grounds and Songversations. Her mission is to create access and visibility for talented, diverse creatives and artists and to strengthen the sense of community among BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color).
- Rafia Shahnaz and Can Tunç are active in GLADT e.V., an independent organization for and by Black, Indigenous & of Color Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals, Trans*, Queer community in Berlin. They are active on different levels—including within Berlin’s club culture—against racism, sexism, trans- and homophobia, ableism and other forms of discrimination.
Insights and outlook
- How can we recognize racist structures? Even within communities or in supposedly safe spaces, discriminatory situations arise. Club culture should train itself to understand these situations and create infrastructures to support those affected.
- Atmosphere, booking, club door: diversity and awareness play a role in all areas. In order to create party and nightlife spaces that are inviting and free from discrimination for everyone, anti-racism must be seen as a cross-cutting task.
- Strategies are needed to effectively establish anti-racist door policies. Among other strategies, this could be achieved through more diversity in the team at the door, or through training of and for door staff.
Awareness work in the club - good practice
What are the different approaches to awareness work in clubs?
Ranging from door policies, codes of conducts that prohibit discrimination, infrastructure for support work, to acceptance-oriented drug work - awareness work can be designed in many different ways, each of which come with its own set of challenges. For the second roundtable, the Berlin clubs ://aboutblank and Mensch Meier were invited to present their many years of practical work in the field of awareness. Together with all participants, different approaches, possibilities and problem situations were discussed.
Insights and outlook
- To what extent is awareness a part of the door team’s work? It is possible to provide specific training and sufficient capacity so that door staff can also support those affected. A separate awareness team makes it possible to dissociate door policy and care work, but also requires additional financial resources.
- What kind of infrastructure is needed on the ground? To contact the awareness team, they can either be marked or accessible through alarm systems at the bar or entrance. Quiet rooms, for example, are useful as retreats.
How can cases be handled in the long term? Incident logs that are created the same evening help to classify situations and discuss them in hindsight. Counseling centers can help: see the guide offered by the Berliner Landesantidiskriminierungsstelle (LADS; in German): (Berliner Beratungswegweiser der LADS).
What are the issues in the areas of awareness and diversity in the club and festival scene?
This opening roundtable brought together stakeholders from the club and festival scene to jointly shape the working group and set goals. Only through an ongoing and open dialogue with all stakeholders can a diverse club culture free from discrimination emerge. The Awareness Akademie presented its work and projects to date. In the discourse between those present, the following lines of inquiry emerged:
- How can initiatives network and learn from each other? Many initiatives are already making important contributions in this field, but would like to think more deeply about their concepts, share their knowledge or exchange information about specific situations. There is also a desire to pool knowledge, data and competencies.
- Can the needs of different actors in club culture be united? Those who work at the door or at the bar, Kick-Offas well as different target groups within the club scene have different issues that concern them in the areas of awareness and diversity. It would also be desirable to make this knowledge accessible beyond club culture.
- What kind of standards are needed in awareness work? This question is also important in regards to an independent complaints mechanism or certificates; a further challenge is developing standards for the long term.
- Who finances the costs? Affordable opportunities for further training are important, but long-term work must often be implemented on small budgets. Here it is necessary to discuss the tension between voluntary work and professional care work.