„Sophie Scholl – (Hi)Stories of Courage“

A language project with the means of cultural and media empowerment in digital space

Cultural and media education in times of the pandemic provides challenges as well as opportunities. This is especially true for cultural and media education projects in interational contexts. The project „Sophie Scholl – (Hi)Stories of Courage“ paradigmatically shows the specific „profit-and-loss-account“: Commissioned by the Goethe Institute Athens and supported by the „Foundation White Rose e.V.“, the project was implemented by Stephan Reischl together with Dagmar Boeck-Siebenhaar, the community dance-choreographer Josef Eder and the media pedagogue Matthias Baumann. Planned as a physical/analogue language camp with youths from ten countries in Southeast Europe, it had to be transformed into a hybrid format because of Covid-19. Yet this at the same time offered the opportunity to step on new paths and to develop a unique multi-months digital pilot project that most probably will be the model for future international projects and workshops.

The IKMW-teamdeveloped extensive material on the project partner and on the topic „social engagement“ as well as on online workshop formats for teachers and school children.

Specifically the two central creative formats DaF(German as Foreign Language)-documentary theater and DaF-dance theater had to be realized in the digital space. From now on the challenge consisted in merging online teaching in digital space with the youths‘ real living and experience space into a hybrid community space.

The project started with a kick-off, with workshops with teachers from PASCH-schools in the region and with a small idea fair where the topic was discussed and the project materials were explained. After this it was up to the school children for the first time: Framed by three questions they were to present in a creative way relevant places, role models and challenges – formulated as a „message to the world – in their corresponding contexts, their cities or countries. All contributions of the „young Southeast European artists“ became the first element of a PASCH-VR-360-degrees-exhibition. Around 300 youths participated in this initial stage.

Subsequently the participants for the digital camp were chosen through a competion. In the camp the youths first worked on  Sophie Scholl and then proceeded to discuss contemporary societal challenges and to highlight perspectives for the future. Original documents – letters, diary entries and quotes – provided the basis for first linguistic artistic teamworks across country borders. It was fascinating to experience how the PASCH-school children, prepared through a daily „online dance warm-up“, introduced their various talents into the development of works for the exhibition spaces: As „dancers“, „musicians“, „actors“, „film producers“ or „audio drama producers“ they worked together in teams, using Zomm as well as multiple othe online tools for their creative exchange.

A „world premiere“ is waiting at the end of the project: the first VR-exhibition in the history of PASCH. The „Southeast Europe“ department of the newly established VR-360-Degree-Musem presents its visitors a host of „language-artworks“ in different formats. The „South America“ department shall be online starting End of November 2021.

With their potentials with respect to sustainability and costs this kind of hybrid cultural and media education formats will be part of the future also in post-pandemic times. IKMW will proceed on this path and will further develop and expand technological, didactical, artistical, aesthetic and content-related aspects of these formats.

A documentation of the project is availale on Youtube.