Latest News At Social Science Works
16th February 2017 – Social Science Works Attends the Brandenburg Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Open Day
Social Science Works were invited to the Brandenburg Landeszentrale für politische Bildung for their open day. The morning was dedicated to speakers addressing question of inequality – primarily inequality and its intersection with political participation. This emerged as a key theme for the day: engaging with politically alienated people – a priority for the coming year for all of us working in this field. There was also a lot of discussion about talking to people outside of the usual attendees of projects financed by the LZPB – this remains a challenge that we at Social Science Works seek to address in the upcoming projects.
13th Feburary 2017 – Patrick Sullivan Joins Social Science Works as In-House Associate
Social Science Works are delighted to welcome US student Patrick Sullivan to our team as our in-house associate. Patrick is a former teacher from the US currently studying for a Masters in Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Germany.
23rd November 2016 – Report from the ground: Strengthening democracy in Brandenburg
As the end of the year approaches, it’s time we took a moment to update you, our friends, colleagues and supporters, about what we have been doing so far this year and what lies ahead for 2017. We’ve been working on a number of projects connected to the so-called ‘Refugee Crisis’ and have been sharpening our deliberative skills to hold workshops with stakeholders and refugees to discuss crucial social issues like democracy, freedom and identity.
Our first major project, sponsored by the Integrationsbeauftragte in the federal state of Brandenburg is entitled “Understanding Europe: Strengthening Young Refugee Men’s Integration In Europe”. Equally, the project could easily be titled “Understanding People” as at its core it deals with central social issues like democracy, freedom and identity.
The project works with men under 30, who arrived in Germany as refugees. In our workshops we provide three groups of ten refugees the opportunity to meet and discuss the cultural values that are fundamental for a successful integration in Germany with a member of the SSW team. Each series of workshops is comprised of six meetings, each of which address different themes around liberal social values and are tailored to the needs of the group. So far, we have completed two series of workshops, and will complete the final series before Christmas. We have worked with three very different groups of men. The first group from Afghanistan, the second group from a number of African countries and the final group come mostly from Syria.
So far the workshops have been extremely successful and we have enjoyed a number of very interesting conversations with participants from all over the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, participants that have fled to Germany from places like Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate serious interest in discussing democracy and freedom. We will write up a more extensive report on our findings once the project is complete.
This has only been possible with considerable help and contributions from several of our associates who have been working closely with us on this project, hence a special thanks is due to Lily Cichanowicz, Johannes Kuhnert and Oktay Tun for their work here.
The Buddy Project
In addition to our workshops, we have paired our sessions with a buddy project. Our buddy project couples German, or German-speaking men, with a workshop participant for a period of several months for bi-monthly meetings. The project is financed by the Landeszentrale für politische Bildung in Brandenburg and focuses on working with men. This is because the volunteering and civil society sector, especially in connection to refugees, is overwhelmingly staffed by women, and of course the majority of refugees are men.
We have so far recruited around 20 buddies who will meet with our participants to discuss the content of the workshops as well as visit social and cultural event together. The project has already begun, with our buddies attending a training session in Potsdam or Berlin in the last couple of weeks and we intend to hold an official ‘kick off’ sports event this month for buddies and workshop participants.
Are you a German or German-speaking man interested in becoming a buddy? Email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org, let her buy you some coffee and discuss the project together in more depth!
Our final project brings together the expertise we have acquired in the Understanding Europe workshops to offer potential ‘multiplicators’ the same workshops we have offered to refugee participants. These multiplicators are stakeholders in a number of forms: volunteers, social workers, academics and others who have experience working in this sector and who would benefit from being able to better discuss key social issues.
For this project, sponsored by the Bundesministrium für Migranten und Flüchtlinge, we have partnered with the lovely people at Start With a Friend (SWAF) to train their buddies. SWAF have their own buddy programme and were interested in taking our workshops to strengthen their offer to their buddies and to equip them to deal better with difficult topics. Our first workshop for this project will be in Berlin this Saturday!
If you’re interested in participating in the next series of workshops email Sarah at the above address.
Projects for 2017
Looking forward to hearing from some of you soon! Your Social Science Works team.
31st October 2016: Deliberative workshops with young refugee men underway
In the last week of October we held our first series of deliberative workshops with young refugee men in Brandenburg. The deliberations have confirmed our view that, in fact, people of all kinds and cultural backgrounds can talk about important issues, provided they are met with respect and respect.
The first group of boys came from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. The boys in the second group came from a number of African countries including Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria and Somalia. The themes of the workshops were democracy, freedom, autonomy, tolerance, civil society, human rights, identity, equality between the sexes, homosexuality and masculinity. These are hardly straight-forward topics, however, our participants discussed each theme with respect and understanding. Sometimes there were differences of opinion, regardless, these differences did not derail our discussions. In the coming months, we will hold the same workshops with men from Syria. An overview of the project is available here.
Also this week we held our first buddy training session. Our buddies, civil society volunteers that participate in workshops and work with a young refugee man for six months for regular meetings, attended a workshop outlining their roles and the responsibilities that come with it. The aim is to help to further integration through cultural exchange. There will be several blogs relating to this project on our website in the coming months.
We will publish our insights from the workshops themselves and of the project as a whole in the near future on our website. Above all, the insights into our encounters with the institutions that devote themselves to migration and integration, as well as the ways in which participants and buddies can be recruited, should be of interest to both to those working in this field and the public.
27th September 2016 – Tong Wang & Lily Cichanowicz Join Social Science Works
Two new scholars have joined Social Science Works. Tong holds a PhD in Behavioral Economics from Erasmus University Rotterdam and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in behavioral economics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Lily earned her Bachelor’s from Cornell University where she studied Development Sociology with a concentration in Inequality studies. Currently Lily works as a writer and editor for various publications based in Berlin and beyond. Read more about Tong, Lily and our other associates.
16th September 2016 – Multiplicator workshops for civil society actors underway
In this pilot project, financed by the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (the BAMF) we support civil society actors currently working in the field of integration. The workshops rely on deliberative methodologies and involve discussions of normative values which are vital for those working to help newcomers integrate. We discuss, for example, topics like equality between the sexes, gender, tolerance, democracy, freedom, civil society, identity, socialisation and emancipation as well as the mutual fears of ‘the other’ among migrants and locals. For interested potential participants – social workers and volunteers in this sector are especially welcome, please contacts us (email@example.com). The courses are free and will take place in Berlin and Potsdam in November and December. There is more information about the workshops available here.
9th September 2016 – Social Science Works Signs Cooperation Contract With FaZIT
Social Science Works has signed a cooperation contract with Brandenburg’s FaZIT (Fachberatungsdient Zuwanderung, Integration und Toleranz im Land Brandenburg). We look forward to working with them and supporting each others’ projects in the near future.