Empowering refugee women through deliberation and theatre 

Social Science Works is beginning a series of workshops by women for women in a Potsdam refugee accommodation. The innovative aspect of this workshop is the interweaving of deliberative discussion with approaches from theater pedagogy to promote inner mobility. Deliberation means an open exchange of opinions aimed at better understanding one’s ideas and views, putting them into context, and enriching them with alternative perspectives. Often, however, cognitive exploration alone has its limits especially when participants have little experience with such rounds of discussion. Approaches from theatre can help to make the topics and questions initially affectively perceptible and to communicate playfully what would otherwise have remained unspoken. Through theater one promotes the ability to concentrate as well as becomes aware of their own body and voice in context. We want to make use of this.

We aim to make women more aware of their strengths and to encourage them to reflect on their role in our society. We would like to encourage women to reflect on themselves; strengthen their body awareness, and thus, their self-perception; inform them about their rights and possibilities for shaping their lives in Germany; understand and reflect on role-patterns together; jointly process experiences of discrimination; and talk about values like freedom, equality, and respect.

The series starts with 12 meetings. It is important to us that the meetings and discussions take place at eye-level and in a protected space. We do not want to teach from above and are convinced that we will learn a lot as well. This social gathering exclusively among women is intended to create an atmosphere of trust in which deeper conversations are possible. Accordingly, we will provide a cozy atmosphere and coffee and delicious food.