Category: Research

KochGelegenheiten — research

The sharing of food has always been part of the human history. Eating as a common experience brings people together. The topic of food is therefore predestined to foster open care. Trying to find out more about this power of food culture in the context of open care, we went into the field primarily asking ourselves:

“How can food culture contribute to make people on the move feel at home wherever they are at that very moment?”

Amongst others we ended up talking to a 24 year-old guy from Syria and a girl from Korea about the same age. One of them had to flee home and the other moved for love.

We learned that missing the food one grew up with is a good motivation to become active: Both are regularly preparing the dishes they know from back home. It still belongs to their most favourite food and eating it makes them feel well and comfortable.

Than there is this whole topic of interactive food customs and traditions in public spaces. We heard about Syrian nights when the streets are being turned into living rooms. People drink tea, smoke, chat and even sleep outside. In Korea the young people often enjoy street food together when meeting up and in Morocco for example people gather in parks in the evenings and bring their tagine out to cook and mingle.

In the context of food and wellbeing we also found out, that eating out, when being new to a country, easily triggers uncomfortableness due to not being able to see the food preparation. Even though it was hard to tell whether this is because of hygienic concerns or dietary laws, it became clear that being able to cook for oneself and others definitely is a desire. A need which stays often unfulfilled in refugee camps, where food is often provided either by catering services or in canteens.

For more details on our research see the articles we posted on Edgeryders:

Plauderpicknick with strangers

We decided for a qualitative research model in which the participants would have no face to face meeting but rather a round of people chatting about questions we would throw in from time to time. We asked about their feelings when coming to Germany, how easy it was to integrate, how they had progressed with learning German, what did help them in better learning about language and culture.

This was our facebook invite to friends and friends of friends:


Do you speak german? Sprachpicknick

We would like to invite both to a chilly picnic at the river to chat, get to know new people and have some drinks together.

Well, we first of all believe that Non-German-speakers should meet up more with German-speakers. And who doesn’t love selfmade food, good weather (yes we will do the sundance tonight…), and to talk to a bunch of really cool folks?

And then we would like to film some of your reactions, ask you some questions and take this nice experience back home to work on a solution for Berliners to meet each other more often, in order to learn German, have fun, and inspire each other.

So do us a favor and start in German.

Don’t be shy – perfect German never existed…


At the event itself only people who wanted to learn German came. From which we assumed that our instinct after first researches was right: It is much harder to convince locals to take part in such events than newcomers. The event was a success though, because we could interact directly with the participants and ask a lot of our questions.

Newcomer – Research

When people arrive at a new place without knowing anyone, exploring and connecting to others can be quite difficult and scary. Although this is the case for most people on the move, it is especially true for refugees. Required to cope with a completely new and foreign environment, a prolonged unclear and undefined residential status prevents refugees from feeling settled. This time spent in limbo often takes months and prevents the newly arrived from becoming active, easing into their new reality and feeling less isolated. For our project we interviewed numerous refugees and talked about the problems and difficulties they encounter every day. In order to help ease everyday problems ranging from having little to no contact with locals to missing a favorite spot, landmark or cafe we decided to put our heads together.

NEWCOMER_Milan:Philipp_Siegers:Hainke_Prozess_Web_6    NEWCOMER_Milan:Philipp_Siegers:Hainke_Prozess_Web_5    NEWCOMER_Milan:Philipp_Siegers:Hainke_Prozess_Web_1    NEWCOMER_Milan:Philipp_Siegers:Hainke_Prozess_Web_4

SAY HEY backgrounds and research

People say the are willing to help, but they don´t want to feel obligated!


There are two parties: the NEWBIES on the one hand and the Germans, or LOCALS on the other hand.

Both of them are having different needs because they are in different situations.

We were doing surveys with both groups:



We went to a Language school at Berlin where people take German lessons and asked them following questions.


-NEWBIES are looking so badly for LOCALS who would like to spend just a little time with them!

-NEWBIES are afraid of doing the first step towards LOCALS.

-NEWBIES are afraid of being rejected.



-LOCALS are willing to help.

-But they say they don´t have that much time and don’t want to have more appointments.

-LOCALS don’t want to be responsible.

-They want to stay spontaneous.


How can we balance those two perspectives?


Exhibition Setting – Studentenwerk Cafeteria

Visualization: How the Shit Show could look in a possible location like the lobby of the Studentenwerk Mensa

More images of the Studentenwerk facilities: The entrance hall is a place where lots of students and staff pass through. It includes a cafe/bistro, a shop, cash point and info area. Outside of the buildings there are more places where people hang out. On the wide path in front of the entrance there are often little promotional stalls.




Survey – How does it feel?

How does it feel to feel shitty?

As we found in our interviews, it is very difficult for people to talk about their feelings, especially bad ones. So to gain more insight, we designed a short online survey that would allow people to share their thoughts with us anonymously. The goal was to get people reflecting on their emotional condition and collect descriptions that could help us make it understandable.

We asked two questions:

  1. When was the last time you felt really really shitty?

2. How would you describe how it felt physically?

Survey Questions Screencap













The responses to the first question were reassuring. Most people admitted to feeling shitty within the last week. Proof: Bad feelings exist, people have them alot. We intentionally left it open to interpretation how bad “really really shitty” could be, because it depends on the person, but we gave some directions to make clear that we mean shitty in an emotional way.

Survey Results Question 1

Common Themes

In the answers to the second question, there were some recurring motifs:

  • numb, blurry, brain fog,  muffled sounds
  • heavy, aching shoulders/back
  • slow, paralyzed, disoriented
  • sweaty, itchy, restless, uneasy, tense
  • pressure on chest, lump in throat, difficulty breathing
  • weak, fragile, small

Interview Insights

Interview Partners

PEERS – essentially our users, young people between 18-30 from different backgrounds, particularly friends, university students 


  • When was the last time you felt really shitty? What caused it?
  • What helps you when you feel shitty?
  • Who do you go to for help? Why/Why not?
  • How do you decide when it is time to get help?
  • What fears do you have of getting help?
  • When do you feel vulnerable?
  • How do you take care of yourself?
  • How do you feel right now talking about these things?
  • What’s your definition of a mental health issue?
  • What do you know about therapy or medication for mental illness?

Main Insights

  • Found it difficult to be interviewed about their feelings, particularly with strange people around
  • Easier for them to share with people who they know had similar experiences
  • Academic struggles seen as personal weakness
  • Social media as an additional stressor, taking time offline helps
  • Physical distractions to avoid / help facing emotional issues


Interview Partners Psychologists Interview Partners Guidance Councellor

PROFESSIONALS – experts in the field of mental illness and treatment, psychologists / psychotherapists, a guidance councellor and a helpline


  • How do people reach you?
  • What kind of problems are most common? Most pressing? Most difficult to talk about?
  • What keeps people from sharing their feelings?
  • How can people be made more comfortable and inclined to open up?
  • What kind of help is available?
  • What is most helpful/important in recovery/resilience?
  • What differences are there in the way people deal with their issues?

Main Insights

  • Many people don’t reach out until they have been in pain for a long time
  • Not sharing as a justified defense mechanism
  • Friends and Family may not be equipped to offers support
  • Misconceptions and lack of general knowledge about conditions and treatment options
  • Trusted personal relationships and open conversation as a key step in recovery
  • People cannot be forced to seek help, may not be ready to face their problems
  • Many issues stem from self-image / self-concept problems

Interview with Rosalie and her parents

On monday we met 11 year old Rosalie and her parents for a drink. During the pregnancy, Rosalie lost the frontal part of her brain. Thus she has difficulties to talk, but she understands everything. Rosi is a very attentive young girl. She has spasticity and sits in a wheelchair. The wheelchair supports her in an upright position.

Rosalies parents told us, that there was no barrier-free playground when she was little. Her parents used to carry her out of the wheelchair so that she could play at the playground. Rosalies parents actually advocate this, since she was then given the opportunity to experience variety. She learned, felt and experienced things outside of her wheelchair. Apart from this, she didn’t feel different from the other kids anymore.

The family emphasized, that the variety and the new feeling a child gets when being or playing outside the wheelchair, is much more valuable than one might imagine. But unfortunately there is no equipment, no seats, which supports the body and ensures children with paralysis or spasticity a comfortable seat, for example while swinging. Her mother gave us the example of a beanbag chair. Thanks to its soft filling, the beanbag ensures a cozy seating and adapts to the body at once. The beanbag chair is body ergonomically.

The interview and the experiences the family has already made, gave us a whole new view of needs.

After a little observation and a couple of statements, we narrowed it down to the main elements, which are most popular by children in different ages: sandbox, swing, slide. We made sketches and gathered ideas of how each element could be inclusive. After adding the beanbag chair into our sketches, they led more and more into a swing.

So we minimized our target group into children at the age of 2 to 10 years, due to weight and hight.

Right now, we have a few ideas and sketches for a swing, in which you can sit or lay down together as two. Already existing swings inspired us, like in the pictures below.

The strength of our concept is currently more on the inclusion than on accessibility. Our idea of the swing is more about togetherness and common experiences with children with and without disabilities.
We could not imagine before, that inclusion and accessibility are two different topics/areas. Looking at our first idea of the playground and the current one, our current one is not barrier-free. The swing can not be used with a wheelchair. However, the current swing gives children the opportunity to experience moments outside their wheelchair, in a suitable way.

development of our design challenge

Our last design challenge was „how might we help society to drop down social and environmental barriers, because that is what disables people.“

We understood that the word society is too big in this context and we need to narrow it down. So we asked ourselves what is our target group? Where would it be most useful to start with all our gained insights? We decided to focus on children.

Keeping in mind the insights we gained from Raul Krauthausen, that because of a non barrier-free environment, there won’t be meetings with people with and without disabilities. This leads to prejudices and fears. It was our goal to work on accessibility in order to make meetings happen. Thus, our target is a barrier-free enviroment. In connection to children, the best place to start is the playground.

On a barrier-free playground children with and without disabilities can play together and meet each other. This way we could counteract fears of contacts in an early age/stage.

The idea was to give children with and without disabilities the opportunity to play together on one drive. Our goal was to develop an inclusive device, which two children with disabilities, two without or one with and one without disabilities, could use and have fun with.

We started to make further interviews with kids and their children, to gain more insights in this matter.

Interview with Raul Krauthausen

On Sunday the 15th of june i met with Raul Krauthausen. Raul is a activist for disability rights and founder of the nonprofit organisation „Sozialhelden“.
Raul has glass bones and sits in a wheelchair. I asked him several questions and a couple of them i will list in this essay:

Raul believes that people with disabilities are in a way sorted out of the everyday life. They are in special-needs schools, sheltered workshops, care homes etc. This results in prejudice and fear.
„Every tenth person in our society has a disability, but not every tenth person in our circle of friends is disabled. That means: They have to be somewhere! We are hidden. In „specialized institutions“. We are engaged in sheltered workshops, brought into care homes, because we are too expensive if we want to live alone…“

In our conversation, he emphasized, that people with disabilities are always associated with a cost-factor. But not only that. There is always a „special“ solution for people with disabilities. He gave me the advice, since I study product design, to always try to include people with disability into my designs. Not to try to find a special solution for people with disabilities but to mainstream it. This would be a big step towards inclusion.

We also talked about the „ Behindertengleichstellungsgesetzt“. (Disabled-equality-law)

This law aims to eliminate or prevent discrimination against persons with disabilities and ensures equal participation of people with disabilities in the life in society and enables them to independent living.
In Germany however, only the state is obliged to guarantee accessibility, e.g. in public offices, buildings, etc.

But if we compare how often we go to a state office and how often we go to a café, restaurant, cinema or supermarket, it is very unbalanced. Inclusion and participation can therefore only work, if the private sector must be involved. Furthermore private companies provide jobs, that may be also filled up with people with disabilities. It is unrealistic to believe, that the „disabled-equality-law“ is sufficient enough, if it only takes the state in the duty.

So to make a step towards an inclusive society, it must come to encounters between people with and without disabilities. But for creating encounters, we have to remove barriers. So the cause is the barrier and the result is the non existing encounter. For successful inclusion, in which it is no longer necessary to use term „inclusion“, we need accessibility.

I also asked Raul what he wishes for the social intercourse between people with and without disabilites. This was his answer:

„More normality. More everyday life. Not that someone needs to change his behavior, that happens naturally. I don’t want to teach a seminar with the topic how to interact with people with disabilities. Everyone will teach it themselves if we meet each other. This would mean, that we need to remove barriers. We have to open schools and universities for people with disabilities. If we would meet each other, we would learn from each other. I personally only learned how to interact with disability by interacting with disability. Its learning by doing. There is no school for that.“

How to change the society’s perspective on differences

I started this project with the question „how can i help by giving someone the opportunity to help themselves?“

Everyone wants to be independent in a way. We want to be understood as a person of freedom and to be able to act out of this freedom. The freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons is a human right.

I thought of a scenario, if someone has specific or non-specific difficulties with something or in certain situations, I would design a tool, which can then be used from an individual or a group alone. The goal at first was to provide a product, service, etc., that is actually really needed. Whatever „it“ is going to be, it is designed for a need, which I have to find out.
It should not result in a situation of one helper and one taker. My thought was to help someone in a functional way, and not take their voice away. I want to contribute, so that people can fulfill theirselves, in the way they want to.

So I started to think/ look for someone who would have difficulties with something or maybe even a difficulty that the person itself is not aware of.
I thought of children, who still develop their motor skills/ movement skills, elderly people in which the body in various factors weakens and people with a disability.
I dug deeper into the term disability. What is disability?

I asked and still ask myself, where does disability start? Is it the disability itself, that disables people? Or is it the attitude and perception of the society and a non-barrier-free environment which actually disables?

A lot of people and especially the media are using phrases as „tied to the wheelchair“, „suffers from …“ „despite the disability“. Thus, a more negative image of disabilities and diseases is shaped.

Why don’t we use phrases as „lives in a wheelchair“ or „has a disease“ ? This way one does not classify anything. How can a outside observer judge, if a person suffers from a disease and not lives with a disease? Why do we only see the things, that someone can not do? Why do we only see the deficit? Why do we reduce people with a disability to their deficits?

Does my original challenge lead me into a new one; how can we change the society’s perspective on differences?

The public image of people with a disability restricts rather on sufferers, victims or heroes. Other aspects of life take a back seat. At the end of the day, there is not and never will be one human being on this earth, who can do anything. Aren’t we all disabled in a way? Having a disability can change someones values and goals. Therefore it can not only mean  fate, but a win too.
Why do we think that living a happy, fulfilled and satisfied life is easier without disabilities?
Why do we think the nonplus ultra is a complete and functioning body? And if so, why being content with e.g. two functioning arms, but only writing with one? Why do we only use our feet for standing or walking? Why not writing, eating or doing other things with our feet instead?

We limit ourselves without noticing, and at the same time assume that others are limited.

Interview 4.0

Recently we had a telephon interview with Peter*, whos child has certain limitations. As one of three kids Fabian* grew up in a endearing family, which gives him on one side as much personal and special support and on the other side treat him like his two older brothers.

Fabian lost half of his brain function after having a stroke, which lead to spastic hemiparalysis. Because of that further problems came up like a malposition of his hips and a curvature of the spine.

When I met him he was full of power, running around, shaking everybodys hand and laughing. But most of the time he should sit in his wheelchair, in order to guard against swollen and painful knees. Because of a cognitive limitation Fabian is receiving all the stimuli. As we can focus on one thing and block our environment out, Fabian can not filter environmental informations. That makes him most of the time an observer, someone who is rather watching, than being in the focus of interest. Since one year his parents noticing an aggressivity againgt himself, because he starts to reflect himself, his position and possibilties. A psychologyst told them that often kids with disabilitys that are more supported are more reflecting themselves and knowing what limitations they have than kids that are not getting that well supported.

Getting that special and individual support is really important for them, thats why the parents decided to send Fabian to a school for physically handicapped kids. There they will have a class with about eight kids, one teacher and one pedagog. Trained assistants with different specializations like physiotherapist, care worker or ergotherapist are working in the school as well. Peter said that inclusion or integration is the actual content and sounds good, but it does not always work, as we can see in Fabians case.

And that individuality makes it even difficult on playgrounds to build it barrierfree.

For Fabian, who can walk and run but not grab, force or push with his one arm, playgrounds would need to have different requirements than for other handicapped kids.

Swinging is a really nice, exciting and relaxating activity. Swings with only a plank do not fit Fabian’s physical needs, since he is not able to hold himself with one arm. Laying on a birds nest swing is more easy for him.

Slides are good to use in case the entrance is easy to reach. Climbing nets or round ladders makes it difficult for Fabian.

Water and Sand is an interesting sensorial material, that all childs love. playing in the mud, splashing with the water, diging holes or baking sand cakes are activities that could be on hip height and done while sitting in a wheelchair.

Getting this insight from a parents view leades us more in the direction what kids with handicappes are able to do, what they like, what they prefer and what should have been thought from another perspective.


*Names changed to protect privacy

KochGelegenheiten — Experimental cooking with only a few tools

We had an experimental cooking dinner where our guests had to cook a dish from their home country. There was a Group from Syria, one from Israel, one from Austria and another one from China. They had to choose from three different stations their limited cooking appliances and had only one hotplate.

For more details on the experimen see also:


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Food Projects

Kitchen Guerilla



Kitchen Stories

„Kitchen Stories, founded in 2014, is an international, user-friendly cooking app for iOS and Android devices in which beautiful design intersects with a rich variety of recipes for delicious, everyday dishes. High-resolution videos, step-by-step images, practical kitchen tips and informative food articles transform cooking into a unique, personal experience by making it easily accessible and providing a global platform for users to connect with one another.“




Imker in der Stadt bzw. ökologische Honigherstellung in Pankow-Niederschönhausen



Grandhotel Cosmopolis

kosmopolitische Küche

„Die kosmopolitische Küche ist ein Ort des Zusammenkommens. Hier kochen Menschen unterschiedlicher Herkunft, Generationen und Hintergründe vegetarische, vegane, traditionelle und experimentelle Gerichte. Verwendet werden Zutaten aus ökologischem Anbau, das Gemüse stammt zum grossen Teil vom Bauern aus der Region. Der Raum ist als Gaststätte für bis zu 60 Personen, als Festsaal, Konzertbühne und Veranstaltungsort nutzbar.“





Bi’bak oder bi’bakstube

„bi’bakstube ist ein interkulturelles und interkulinarisches Dinner, das zwei Mal im Monat am Freitag stattfindet. Gekocht wird von Geflüchteten aus unserem Kiez. Wir öffnen unsere Tür, um gemeinsam an einem großen gedeckten Tisch Platz zu nehmen, gutes Essen zu genießen und dabei ins Gespräch zu kommen. Einerseits möchten wir den neu Angekommenen einen Raum bieten, in dem sie in gemütlicher Atmosphäre die ihnen bekannte Küche vorfinden, andererseits geben wir den Kiezbewohner_innen die Möglichkeit, leckere, aber eher nicht bekannte Gerichte zu kosten oder einfach nur bei einem Glas Tee zusammenzusitzen.

bi’bakstube wurde 2015 mit dem Demokratiepreis Respekt gewinnt vom Berliner Ratschlag für Demokratie und dem Quartiersmeisterpreis ausgezeichnet.

Allgmeiner hier:

bi’bak* (türkisch: “schau mal”)

bi’bak e.V ist ein eingetragener gemeinnütziger Verein und betreibt einen Projektraum in Berlin-Wedding.

bi’bak beschäftigt sich mit gesellschaftspolitisch relevanten Themen wie Migration, Mobilitätsdiskursen, Identitätskonstruktionen, Konsumgesellschaft, kulturelles Gedächtnis und legt den Schwerpunkt dabei auf deren ästhetische Dimensionen. Die interdisziplinär ausgerichteten Projekte sollen den Blickwinkel in den sich aktuell oft wiederholenden Debatten ändern und einen neuen Diskurs initiieren. Der kritische Umgang mit Medien, Globalisierung und Neoliberalismus wird dabei als wichtiger Aspekt gesehen.

bi’bak hat ein vielfältiges Programm, das Ausstellungen, Filmvorführungen, Seminare, Vorträge, Workshops, sowie musikalisch-kulinarische Unterhaltungsabende beinhaltet. Dies soll an den Schnittstellen zwischen Kunst, Wissenschaft und Nachbarschaft entstehen.

bi’bak interessiert sich für die Entwicklung von innovativen ortsbezogenen Vermittlungskonzepten, die auf eine gleichberechtigte Beteiligung und den Austausch von Ideen, Wissen und Kreativität zielt.

bi’bak strebt die grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit mit Kulturakteuren, Projekträumen und Initiativen an. Ausgehend von interdisziplinären Kooperationsprojekten zwischen Berlin und Istanbul knüpfen wir ein internationales Netzwerk und suchen den Austausch von Ideen, Erfahrungen und Know-How. Uns interessiert die dezentrale, rhizomhafte Verbindung von Kunst, Design, Wissenschaft, Partizipation, Stadtraum und lokales Engagement.“




Refugees` Kitchen

Refugees’ Kitchen

„Refugees´ Kitchen ist ein Küchenmobil, entstehend in Zusammenarbeit von KünstlerInnen und Geflüchteten. Eine mobile Küche, die in gemeinsamer Arbeit geplant, gebaut und betrieben wird. Anschließend rollt sie von Stadt zu Stadt und beleuchtet die jeweilige Region, aus denen die Zuflucht-Suchenden geflohen sind – kulinarisch sowie mit zusätzlichem Programm: Konzerte, Vorträge, Diskussionen etc..

An verschiedenen innerstädtischen Standorten kochen in Refugees´ Kitchen Geflüchtete aus jeweils einer Region traditionelle Speisen. Über das Essen werden in kleinen Häppchen auch politische Informationen verabreicht: Hintergründe zu Kriegen und Krisen, Regierungssystemen, Militärinterventionen, Geschichte des jeweiligen Landes: Fastfood mit Fastfacts zu Krisengebieten.

Refugees´ Kitchen unterfüttert das Thema Flucht mit subjektiven Geschichten sowie mit politischen Hintergründen und konfrontiert (welt)politisch Uninteressierte mit dem Thema Flucht.

Bald folgen hier viele weitere Geschichten, von der Entstehung der Küche und ihrer Wanderung!“





Rezepte, Tipps, Restaurants für gluten-, milch-, soja- und maisfreie Ernährung – der Ernährung der beiden Gründerinnen entsprechend




Himmelbeet Berlin








Detroit SOUP



How can we help people to help themselves? / First Research

The young male refugees are often regarded as healthy and fit, able to work and therefore are not treated as a priority in terms of care. However; of what use could these benefits be if there is nothing to do? In Germany, refugees are not allowed to pick proper work for the first three months of their stay. After that period, a working permit is needed to apply for a job. The permit, however, is only granted if the person is no longer living in a refugee camp. Needless to say, the said three months often pass without anything really happening and three months slowly turn into six months and into a year

­ during which there is nothing to do.

We are currently working at the Internationales Congress Centrum (ICC) in Berlin
­ a former congress center that has recently been turned into a refugee camp. Even with the circumstances being unfavourable, the atmosphere at the ICC is quite the opposite: The interaction between the refugees and the staff and security is remarkably free and friendly. Volunteers playing with children; refugees and security joking around and everybody is eating at the same table. There is no hint of the provider/receiver­dilemma that you would witness in other establishments.
We’ve been warmly welcomed by the people and the relationships have gradually grown more personal since our first visit.

_ Excerpt of the Edgeryders Article