A post from our World Citizen School Lead Juna
When we first heard about the World Citizen Artists almost two years ago, we were thrilled: Not only does the organisation carry the same name as ours. We also share the same vision. We talked to the founder of the project, Valerie, and agreed: we had to cooperate.
As both organisations are largely driven by the commitment of student volunteers, we concluded that we should bring our students together and let them develop a joint project. There we were, sitting in front ouf our computer cameras, on one side enthusiastic, on the other side wondering: What could be realised – despite the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the physical distance between Bristol and Tübingen, and above all: despite busy schedules and great uncertainties? How can we, as initiators and leaders of the projects, step back with our own ideas and agenda and let the students decide?
At our first big meeting, it was already clear: The students of the World Citizen Artists and the World Citizen School wanted to organise an event. The topic was also quickly identified: the connection between mental health and the challenges of the climate crisis was to be addressed, discussed and worked on. In order to be able to accompany the students well in their projects, we thought about the strengths of our two organisations. The World Citizen Artists are excellent networkers, great in marketing and very experienced in organising (online) events. We from World Citizen School were able to contribute in organising, facilitating our working meetings, and most importantly, ensuring a participatory process. Over a period of several meetings, the students, in consultation with us, developed the concept of the online event, the vision, researched speakers and artists, and put together initial marketing materials and texts. The “World Citizen Society” was in the world, and the launch date – Nov. 6, 2021 – was also set together.
Then, the moment when it became clear, arose: Our agile team, which had come together ad hoc, would have to split up again. Our different ways of working, which initially complemented each other, began to interfere now and then. And even though our organisations are united by a vision: the goals diverge. For our World Citizen School teams, the focus is on learning and self-education, reflecting on team processes and subjects. Often, our way of working is compatible with the planning of larger event formats – but not always. We discussed how to proceed, reflected on what we had achieved – and then let the artists go. It was a difficult moment for our students, who had put time and energy into the project and enjoyed the exchange with the Bristol students very much.
However, now we are very happy that the World Citizen Society Festival will take place – with interesting speakers, exciting artists, discussions, inputs and performances. We are convinced by the programme of the festival and congratulate the World Citizen Artists for the realisation of this huge, jointly dreamed project!