From 26. to 28. November 17 volunteers that are active in few of the manifold Berlin support initiatives for refugees came together to learn about racism, critical whiteness and to reflect about their own role within the complex power relations in the field.
The workshop was carried out in the context of the aftermath of the so-called “summer of migration”. Back then many of the already existing support structures grew significantly and became increasingly crucial supplement to state or federal initiatives. However, despite the great motivation and good will of the volunteers their work is not free of conflicts. Many of these conflicts have to do with social power relations that are shaped by racism and the immense institutional thresholds that refugees face in Berlin.
In order to mitigate and prevent these conflicts the participants learned about historical dimensions of migration and racism, modern manifestations of racism in the context of flight and asylum in Germany, the critical whiteness approach and engaged in intense exchange on common challenges and conflicts they experienced in their volunteer work.
Therefore the trainers made use of a variety of non-formal education methods in order to address different learning types but the core of the workshop was the peer to peer exchange in small groups and plenary discussions. At the end of the workshop participants learned about and practiced to use conflict analysis tools and developed their own strategies on how to constructively deal with different kinds of conflicts that they experienced using Augusto Boal’s theater of the oppressed.
At the end the participants were very happy stated to have enjoyed eye-opening new perspectives on their work and the exchange with likeminded peers in particular. After the workshop they will serve as multipliers and prepare offers and events for their co-workers who did not attend the workshop in order to pass on the lessons learned.
Volunteers that work in refugee-support-structures in Berlin
The overall goal was to better prepare volunteers for their work in the context of flight and migration and sensitized for their own role as well as unconscious patterns of thinking and behavior.
The target group were volunteers that are actively engaging in the Berlin refugee support initiatives