Post by Maren
Project ideas and work progress
After a weekend fully packed with new experiences and a Monday working on our presentations, we started our Tuesday slowly. We slept long, had breakfast and at midday we began with our work sessions. We finally finished the slides, we would present at the university the next day. For lunch we went to a restaurant called ‘Abu Hammam’. It is not exactly a restaurant, it’s more of a canteen. The interior and the atmosphere was less fancy but the food was really good and also very affordable. I had a meal called ”fried tomatoes”a thick soup made of tomatoes, onions and peperoni. It is served with bread, falafel sandwich or rice with green beans.
Afterwards, we walked through the city and could not resist to do a little bit of shopping.
The next day was the first day of working at Birzeit University (BZU) with the whole group of Palestinian and German students, and we gave our presentations. These were done in groups, and they were about scientific and creative methods, but also about research papers about previous research efforts from the University of Siegen in the West Bank. The aim of those presentations was to establish a common ground for all participants on how to work scientifically. The presentation format was Pecha Kucha. It means that you have to present with a maximum of 20 slides, with maximum of 20 seconds to explain each slide.
My presented research paper was ”Challenges of CI Initiatives in a Political Unstable Situation – Case Study of a Computer Club in a Refugee Camp” by Konstantin Aal, Marios Mouratidis, Anne Weibert and Volker Wulf. My fellow german students presented “Computer-enabled Project Spaces: Connecting with Palestinian Refugees across Camp Boundaries” by George Yerousis, Konstantin Aal, Thomas von Rekowski, David W. Randall, Markus Rohde and Volker Wulf and the paper “3D Printing as a Means for Participation in Developmental Settings – A Field Study” by Oliver Stickel, Dominik Hornung, Sarah Rüller, Volkmar Pipek and Volker Wulf.
The presented methods from the Uni Siegen students were interviews, field notes and observations. The Palestinian students presented the Walt Disney Method and the Future Workshop, Cultural Probes and Brainstorming/Brainwriting. Before each presentation, everybody had one slide for a brief introduction of him- or herself.
After lunch, we started the creative process to work on project areas. In the first step, we did a Brainwriting session. Everybody wrote his/her specific ideas or what he/she has noticed what problems there are in silence on small pieces of colored paper. After that we spread the ideas on our round table and started to cluster them into groups, putting them next to each other on the table and adding paper slips with respective group names above them to get a better overview.
Everyone looked up which possible ideas there were and then groups were formed around these topics. There were ideas about upcycling of different things like cans or clothes. Another topic was the refugee camp al’Amari and the computer club there: ideas were formed to do some workshops with the kids about animal rights, arts or videos. Other ideas that evolved were concerned with garbage, creating spaces, sexual liberation and environmental issues.
In the next step we stuck the ideas on the wall to get a better overview. We further narrowed the ideas down, by renaming clusters and rearranging cards, combining and excluding some, discussing possibilities and so on to further compress them. Everyone engaged in the planning of first steps, and also gave feedback on each of the project ideas, so in the end everyone had a good overview about all the topics. We formed loose groups around the topics to be able to work in smaller groups.
The final problem areas to work on were the following:
• Food Sharing/Food Saving
• Creating Spaces on Roof Tops
• Garbage & Rewarding Bins
• Computer Club in al-Amari refugee camp
• Any kind of Workshops
• 2nd Hand Shop for Clothes
• Cooperation with Bibliobus
• Sexual Liberation/Sex education
• Detailed information about Programs in BZU
The final and definitive project ideas were to worked out by the project groups after some research and pre-evaluation.
In the evening, some of us spontaneously decided to go out to a club for the first time. It was a little scary to walk in such a dark unknown territory. There was a DJ playing techno music. The party crowd was resembling party crowds anywhere around Europe. One detail was different: the club closed at 12:30 am. We learned that this was due to the fact that the police do not allow parties after that and club managers would have to pay a heavy fine if they disobeyed that rule.