What We Do
Turning Tables Germany works to empower marginalized youth by providing the means to process and express their hopes, dreams and challenges, through the Creative Arts of music and film. We strive to support youth in Germany's deprived areas by creating an environment in which young people can learn new technical skills and provide a platform for self-expression where they can regain self-confidence and claim their rights.
From Germany, we take advantage of innovative, easily accessible low-fi technologies for digital music and filmmaking. By producing high-quality music and film products together with young people from different backgrounds, we enable them to have creative access to civic engagement and promote social inclusion.
The societal marginalization affects, in particular, adolescent refugees. More than a quarter of the asylum seekers who arrived in Germany between 2015 and 2017 are between 16 and 25 years old. While the most vulnerable unaccompanied minors and adults are taken into custody by the youth welfare service, accompanied young refugees who live with their parents in collective accommodation often lack access to support and leisure facilities. Many young refugees often remain excluded from full participation in society for several years, leading to great frustration.
Our unique approach of promoting youth participation is established to value and amplify their voices and use experiences to share their stories responsibly through film and music through multiple media outlets. The use of an artistic medium creates a non-violent space to widen and deepen the context of their issues, which in turn creates space for increased peace dividend and non-violent transformation that provides alternative opportunities to transcend conflicts in their society and shift narratives.
Music and film are both engaging formats from which young people can raise their voices and creatively express themselves, as well as a highly effective means of transforming narratives. Due to a variety of digital innovations, there is now a wide range of affordable and easy-to-use hardware and software for professional music and film production. These technologies can be used to a greater extent in civil society work with young people and refugees, thus giving them the tools to share their worries, hopes and dreams with the world in a self-determined manner.
Social work with marginalized youth can make a decisive contribution to reducing tensions in socially disadvantaged communities, overcoming exclusionary attitudes and creating bonds between local and refugee youths that strengthen the social cohesion. It is important to open spaces for youth where they can be taken seriously and articulate their frustrations and desires. Studies on youth and migration in Europe increasingly demonstrate that projects that working with popular music and promote access to digital music, film or video game production are powerful tools for shifting the narratives on social inclusion. We aim to address the lack of youth access to inclusion and education by empowering the youth to express themselves through our ‘product-based approach’. By utilizing creative tools for music, film and video game production, we seek to instigate collective and individual processes of self-reflection and critical thinking, thus inspiring and cultivating youth in Germany to advocate for change in a non-violent way.
The product-based approach is designed to strengthen networks and build bridges within and outside deprived German communities. Building and designing products reduces distances between people while working towards a common goal. The process also promotes a technical skill-building capacity in an open space from where youth can self-reflect and advocate through their products.
The Turntable Lab
Based on 7 years of success, we believe that we have now found a truly efficient and operational innovative concept in the Turntable Lab. The Turntable Lab is a mobile 0% energy music and film production facility which can be set up in different locations - especially outside of large cities in socially marginalized and remote areas. In several-day workshops, we teach the youth to write, record and produce their own songs, as well as to develop, shoot and edit documentary videos. We are supported by a team of experienced music producers, filmmakers and studio technicians who act as mentors, as well as experienced social workers.
The Lab functions not only as a production facility, but also as a creative safe-space for youth to come together and learn, exercise and practice their skills, nurturing a safe environment for mutual understanding and common ground for all youth. In Denmark and Sweden, the Turntable Labs also conducted digital photography workshops at homeless and asylum centers. This approach and experiences are now to be harnessed in Germany as well. Turning Tables' work and innovation through digital engagement was honored at the MIT Build Peace Conference in 2014 and 2017, the UN Social Goods Summit 2015 and 2016 and by winning the Social Innovation and Leadership Award at the World CSR Congress 2017.
The Turntable lab was developed in partnership with the Danish Center for Maritime Architecture. The space for a sustainable and scaleable solution for youth has been refined and is now implemented by our CSR partner Arcgency Architecture Copenhagen.
Watch the video: The Turntable lab
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