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Activities and projects

There are often colourful activities concerning the subject of demography, with children and youngsters arranging and participating in them. Perhaps you´ll join in next time? On the following two pages, you can see three exciting activities and three further projects.


Project 1: New ideas from the deck chair

Have you ever noticed that the best ideas often come to mind when you´re totally relaxed, e.g. in a hammock or deck chair…

So, I arranged an exciting art project centred on deck chairs, together with Ulla Deetz, an artist from Bremen. The title of the project was “Future spaces – change of view from the deck chair.” Our aim was to motivate as many Bielefeld inhabitants as possible to think about the subject of demography and develop new ideas for the future of their municipal districts. It worked well and a lot of people took part – children, adults, musicians, writers, clowns and even a pantomime artist. You see him at Siegfriedplatz on the right.

Project 2: Books build bridges between young and old

What are you reading at the moment? Books are a great subject to start talking to someone about. When you were small, perhaps your grandmother or grandfather read books to you or you looked at the pictures together. Maybe today you could read something to older people who can´t see so well any more or talk to them about the stories. That´s exactly what is done in the reading project “Books build bridges.” This project took place for the second time in Bielefeld in 2011. A total of more than 50 school kids took part in the first project and almost 30 in the second.

LeseprojektRatz interviewt Frau Tatje

What´s so special about the project?
Susanne Tatje: “I think it´s important that younger and older people get together and that´s exactly what can be done in this project. Reading and listening are enjoyable for both generations, leading to interesting discussions. People can get into contact and learn a lot from each other.”


How does the reading project work?
First, the youngsters take part in training sessions with “Stiftung Lesen,” receiving tips on reading skills, plus a “reading box” containing selected books. Then they´re ready for take-off, visiting and reading to older people in senior citizens´ homes in Bielefeld. The readers themselves can choose what to read but sometimes the older people have wishes of their own.
After the reading sessions, the youngsters and the senior citizens have interesting talks about the texts and the youngsters get to hear about what life was like in the past and the older people can learn something about the life of “the kids of today.”

Visit to the town hall: you can see me here
with Class 7d from the Gymnasium am Waldhof,
beside the class teacher Karin Stallmann (centre)
and school principal Ruth Leutheusser-de Vries (left)

Project 3: Children and youngsters become experts on the future

In 2012, two Bielefeld schools „Gymnasium am Waldhof“ and „Kuhlo Realschule“ , carried out a large-scale demographic project together with the Department of Demography and Statistics. During school lessons, 12 to13-year-old pupils had a critical look at their future. They also carried out interviews, for example with the chairperson of the Senior Citizens´ Council, a demographic researcher or a representative from the Department of Integration in the town hall. One class visited me here at the end of the project and reported on their experiences. The highlight of the project was a workshop on the future, under the heading “How do we want to live?” There, the pupils thought about how Bielefeld should look in the year 2050. The pupils´ ideas and wishes for their future are shown in our demographic book “Our future – my town.”

How do we want to live in 2050?
One thing the pupils wanted was a learning machine to help them to learn quicker, more green play areas in town, better bus connections and modern schools with smaller classes. The environment should be clean, no older people should be lonely and everybody should have work and earn enough money.

Big presentation of the results
At the end of the day, parents, teachers, TV interviewers and camera people, newspaper journalists and the Mayor of Bielefeld were invited to the presentation. Up on stage, the pupils showed their results in pictures, on signs and notes, which they pulled out of a big soup pot and do you know what – the Mayor promised to go into some of the ideas in the town hall!

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