Munich's first Smart(phone) party & a new democratic party concept that fosters inclusion.
Creating low-level access & means of participation in cultural venues
for new citizens with a focus on those with language barriers and/or different cultural backgrounds.
The party concept
- Almost everyone has a smartphone
- People use their phone to listen to music
- New citizens have almost no places where they can listen to the music they like LOUDLY nor can they dance to it with more than a handfull of people
Feierwerk developed the concept of a party involving the music stored on smart phones for a project of cultural exchange
How does the PLUG IN BEATS party work?
SAME CONDITIONS FOR EVERYONE
- A smartphone
- Free entrance
- The system of values does not apply to a specific group but for all
START - TAKE A NUMBER
Close to the DJ-booth there are friendly people who provide number cards.
You‘ll know it‘s your turn when your number is projected on a screen (if you miss your turn you’ll have to pick a new number)
GO TO THE DJ BOOTH
Please show up at the DJ-booth one number BEFORE your own because the technician needs to give a listen and level out the volume.
PLUG-IN YOUR PHONE
It´s very important that your phone is fully charged! (If you have a weak battery you can charge your phone at the charging station. Please do this before it´s your turn!)
SWIPE YOUR PHONE
The technician doesn't know your pin (and don’t want to know it), so please switch it temporarily off and unlock your screensaver.
Choose your song and turn the volume up to maximum.
Usually tracks are played until the end but after 8 minutes the song will be faded out.
Please respect other people´s feelings when choosing your track. Feierwerk is a place for everybody, no matter what gender, nationality or sexual orientation. Everybody should enjoy the evening. If your track has racist, sexist or homophobic lyrics, it will be stopped immediately. Interpreters are on site that will indicate violations.
Why such a project?
Actively working with newcomers became an evidence for the organisation when the city of Munich installed a refugee camp in front of one of Feierwerk's music venues.
The PLUG IN BEATS party creates actively possibilities for new citizens to participate.
It contributes to the creation of accessible cultural spaces and include diversity in our cultural work.
- Society talks a lot about "US" vs "THEM" which leads to excluding attitudes ("Othering")
- Not-integration is being seen as a personal or individual failure
- Integration tends towards (total) assimilation and therefore leads to invisibility – but diversity should be an integral part of our cultural work
A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE IS THE CONDITION FOR THIS PROJECT
- Departs from the opinion that society consists of one major group that is relatively homogeneous
- Smaller groups from outside must be "integrated" into the system of the majority
- Watches differences consciously
- Demands that individuals adapt themselves to the majority in order to become full members of society
- Integration is seen as the duty of individuals
- Possibilities of participation are mostly abstract
- Regards human beings as absolute equal individuals playing a part in the whole entity, independent of their personal preconditions or characteristics
- Comprehends diversity and the heterogeneity of society as a basic matter of course
- Therefore it’s not the individual that has to adapt to the system but rather the social framework that must be flexibly arranged
- Understands that enabling access to society is the duty of the society itself
- Is enabling participation on very concrete levels
The PLUG IN BEATS - Party concept creates actively participation and fosters inclusion.
PLUG IN BEATS...
... facilitates actively the participation of target groups (here: new citizens of Munich).
... functions as platform where individual knowledge, individual cultures and different experiences are useful, desired and appreciated (here: knowledge of music listened to in the countries of the new citizens).
... is conceived in a way so that EVERYBODY can access to it (here: free entrance, "cultural buddy" programme, clear guidelines to follow, translations, etc.).
... as no DJ defines the music, everyone can participate and contribute.
... during the evening, different groups start to interact.
... the common space and its defined values is being defended.
... new guests are being involved actively.
... traditional structures are being broken (example: women are being involved in classical male / men only dances).
... a strong sense of community and cooperation is present during the party (exemple: sharing choreographies and dance techniques).
CREATING SOCIAL INCLUSION....
The challenges Feierwerk came across
Many different language are present and the party concept and values need to be translated into those languages.
>>> Feierwerk worked with other socio-cultural organisations and volunteers to overcome this challenge.
How to stick to and defend the values if the lyrics of the music cannot be understand?
2. RESPECTING VALUES
>>> During the first evening, volunteer interpreters were present, later,as the party guests became interpreters themselves and could alert if there was a problem.
Which procedure is fair to generate an order of the playlist ?
3. FINDING A FAIR PROCEDURE
>>> Feierwerk solved this solution with by having the guest pick numbers upon their arrival.
How to avoid noises, crackles, different volumes to not quickly destroy the party atmosphere?
4. LEVELING THE SOUND
>>> Feierwerk solved this by having a sound technician pre-listening to the song and leveling those aspects before playing it. After a few parties, guests asked for training and took over this role.
How to manage to attract newcomers and locals to participate together at the party?
5. PARTICIPANT DIVERSITY
>>> As Feierwerk is a socio-cultural organisation, it already reaches out to a quite diverse audience with its social and cultural programme. Creating inclusive events with active participation of citizens is part of their long term project. Actively working with newcomers became an evidence for the organisation when the city of Munich installed a refugee camp in front of one of Feierwerk's music venues.
Feierwerk imagined Plug in Beats in reaction to a situation the organisation and the city of Munich were confronted to: the arrival in very large numbers of newcomers from different countries.
This project can serve as an inspiration and can be adapted to other individual contexts, for example: fostering participation and inclusion in a multicultural neighborhood. As a live music venue or other cultural organisation, such a project could be co-constructed with local socio-cultural partners.
Feierwerk is a non-profit socio-cultural organisation for children, adolescents, young adults and families that has been supporting young Munich art, music and culture for over 30 years.
Feierwerk manages four concert and party venues, they have an in-house radio station, an exhibition space, an information and networking centre for pop culture & music, an expert office that watches on racist movement developments, five socio-cultural spaces for children, adolescents and families.
Thomas Lechner is head of events at Feierwerk and responsible for the organisation's mission to support young and emerging musicians in Munich. He has initiated the party concept Plug in Beats that has become a regular event at Feierwerk. Thomas is also very active in social and political movements defending human rights, diversity and inclusion. In 2018, Thomas participated as expert at a Live DMA working group on the topic "audience diversity".
You can listen to the interview with Thomas Lechner, the project founder of PLUG IN BEATS in December 2017.
TO GO FURTHER