What does it mean and how did it come about? Reflection & discussion of history and current practice
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.