(Schätze in der Nachbarschaft - Nachbarschaft schätzen)
This participatory action research project located in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus - the 15th district of Vienna with the highest part of migrants in its population - dealt with the topic of neighbourhood of girls and women. The three steps project that combined participatory elements with public events worked together both with institutions of the district and local female residents. Our focus for participation was set on persons who are known as hard to involve in such participatory processes, as migrants, women, elderly or very young people.
We reached our target groups through different institutions working in the district. They were: the municipal center for health and social affairs, seniors talking rounds, the migrant advisory service, the youth center Zeit!Raum and several local cultural associations. With the help of these institutions we established three project groups in different parts of the district. We also involved participants of local cultural and service venues like churches, schools and service centers (Gebietsbetreuung, Nachbarschaftszentrum etc). With this structure we were able to bring together different persons and institutions across target groups and topics and make them visible in the neighbourhood. The project contributed to an advancement of working and living together in the district.
In a series of workshops we could work out experiences and ideas of female residents in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus. By asking how they are perceiving their neighbourhood in their daily life, if there are existing institutions or persons in their vicinity who support their social network around them, and if there is mutual exchange and solidarity that crosses cultural borders - we have set up a range of interactive methods like working on district maps, mind maps, photo-interviews and collages.
In the installation "public living room" that we have set up three times at different locations in the district according to the locations of the project groups, we showed the results of the workshops. These public events that lasted one afternoon also contained cultural activities, performances of local cultural associations und participatory elements like the "Seifenkistl", a mobile herb garden, or the "Frauenkulturfahne" which was produced together with the project participants and a female textile artist.
At these public events we encouraged women of different ages and origins to articulate their needs, experiences and ideas and exchange them with other women and persons from their neighbourhood under the eyes of the public, so that also passersbys could join the discussions. By making voices of women public we could contribute to an awareness raising concerning relevant female topics and opinions and made them heard. We could also find out which communication models are appropriate for "public thinking" with women.
We enhanced the identification of the women with the neighbourhood, their readiness for further engagement and influence in the respective area. Based on these new needs for common future perspectives and other continuing neighbourhood ideas and activities were developed.