We-Traders finale and aftermath

© Goethe-Institut

Goodbye BOZAR © Goethe-Institut
Goodbye BOZAR
Hello Cultureghem © Goethe-Institut
Hello Cultureghem

On Sunday 12th of April the last of six We-Traders exhibitions was dismantled for good at BOZAR, but the We-Traders spirit will continue.

We are very happy to announce that the association Cultureghem in Brussels will upcycle the exhibition elements for their activities such as KOOKMET and COLLECTMET at the Abbatoir Market. Thus the We-Traders exhibition which was originally conceived as a market place will find its way back to the heart of the city!

The We-Traders experience of the last three years cannot be expressed in numbers. However, we would like to share some of them with you:

  • 30 We-Trades from Madrid, Turin, Berlin, Lisbon, Toulouse and Brussels and even more collaborating initiatives exchanged their projects, experiences and challenges in the We-Traders exhibitions and fora throughout Europe.
  • More than 300 people including We-Traders, curators, team members from the Goethe-Institut and partner institutions were actively involved in the making of We-Traders.
  • 1,100 members joined the We-Traders Open Call online community.
  • 47,000 exhibition visitors in the 6 cities joined us in “Swapping Crisis for City” and are hopefully inspired to spread the seed and make it grow.
We now published all We-Traders exhibition films from Madrid, Turin, Berlin, Lisbon and Toulouse online. You can find them in six languages in the We-Trades section on our website.

Currently a We-Traders eBook is being edited in collaboration with the magazine for urban research dérive. In October 2015 you can discover and download this manual for We-Trading as urban practice on this website!

Thanks a lot to all of you! We are very much looking forward to future encounters.

For the We-Traders team:
Susanne Höhn, project director
Julia Förster, project coordinator
Angelika Fitz and Rose Epple, curators

15 April 2015 by Admin

    The We-Traders arrived in Brussels

    © Hanne van Reusel

    The “We-Traders” project considers citizens as central players in the future of cities. It creates bridges between initiatives based in Madrid, Turin, Berlin, Lisbon, Toulouse and Brussels.

    In Brussels, the exhibition We-Traders. Swapping crisis for city! looks at five local projects that propose, each in their field and in their own way, to exchange the crisis against a constructive urban project: CanalPark BXL, Commons Josaphat, Community Landtrust BXL (CLTB), The Brussels Poetry Collective und w-o-l-k-e. The initiatives participating in the exhibition will also organise workshops from March 5 to April 12, 2015 at BOZAR.

    Already during the opening on Wednesday 4 March 2015 at 6:45pm, you will be invited to a screen printing workshop with Rütli-Wear from Berlin, to play the "Mobile Pétanque" with Canalpark BXL and to follow the writing of a poem by the Brussels Poetry Collective.

    For further information you may visit the website of Goethe-Institut Brussels (in German).

    © Hanne van Reusel
    © Hanne van Reusel

    On 25th January 2015 the voting for the open call "What yould you do with a 100 m² in Brussels?" ended, and the online community chose BAZAAR FESTIVAL of Hanne Van Reusel as the winning idea which will be shown at the exhibition from 4 March.

    3 March 2015 by Admin

      Brussels goes We-Traders!

      © Julia Förster

      The journey through Europe is not yet over – after Madrid, Turin, Berlin, Lisbon and Toulouse, you can meet the We-Traders in Brussels on 4 March! At the Center for Fine Arts Brussels (BOZAR), five Belgian initiatives will feature amongst the 25 We-Traders ventures to date and will show how crisis can be swapped for city in the capital of Belgium and Europe.

      © Julia Förster
      We-Traders workshop at the Goethe-Institut in Brussels on 13.1.2015 (photo: Julia Förster)

      Preparations for the extension of the exhibition are in full swing. The We-Traders workshop took place on 13 January at the Goethe-Institut Brüssel. The Brussels activists from CanalPark BXL, Commons Josaphat, Community Landtrust BXL (CLTB), The Brussels Poetry Collective and w-o-l-k-e drew up the content, programme and open call question for the latest exhibition event in cooperation with the curators and teams from the Goethe-Institut and BOZAR and the urban planner Eric Corijn.

      The five initiatives will be presented in all seven languages on the We-Traders website from February. Until then it’s “Ruil crisis voor stad” as the site is already available in Dutch, an official national language in Belgium alongside French and German.

      The Brussels open call on the question of “What would you do with 100 m² in Brussels?” starts on 26.1.2015. You can register on the We-Traders community now in order to upload your idea from 26 January.

      23 January 2015 by Admin


        © Foto:Frédéric Malenfer
        © Foto:Frédéric Malenfer
        © Frédéric Malenfer

        The Toulouse Open Call is closed: the community chose CANALDATA by Urbain, trop Urbain as the best idea. Canal du Midi + Open Data = CANALDATA! is the formula on which the idea is based. Each interested inhabitant of Toulouse takes care of 10 m of the Canal du Midi crossing the city: green spaces, urban furniture, artistic interventions and many more activities are possible. The interventions will be presented and connected through an open data platform. A one-day festival will be the opportunity for testing and celebrating together.

        More information on this idea and a varied program on “Swapping Crisis for City” can be discovered in the We-Traders exhibition in Toulouse! The opening takes place on Thursday 13 November at 18:30 in the premises Centre Méridional de l’Architecture et de la Ville (CMAV).

        More infos and dates can be found on the website of the Goethe-Institut Toulouse and the We-Traders Facebook-Page.

        Download Programme We-Traders Toulouse 

        11 November 2014 by Admin

          Retrospective “We-Traders Lisbon”

          © Foto: Francisco Jorge Nenclares
          © Foto: Francisco Jorge Nenclares

          On November 2nd the exhibition We-Traders Lisbon closed its doors, with the youth orchestra Camerata de Cordas da Orquestra Municipal Geração da Amadora being the highlight of the closing night with a delightful and passionate concert, the young musicians entertained the audience with their interpretation of classical and contemporary pieces.

          From the 3rd of October till the 2nd of November, We-Traders Lisbon offered a wide range of creative events. Hundreds of visitors and the project team came to see the exhibition, and also had the opportunity to actively participate in the many local events.

          With workshops, public debates and presentations We-Traders Lisbon introduced following projects: O Espelho, A Linha, Agulha num Palheiro, BIP/ZIP and the fun community kitchen Cozinha Popular da Mouraria. We Traders from Toulouse and Torino presented the projects AERA / Le potager de Camille and Il Piccolo Cinema, and the audience got to enjoy various other activities and presentations revolving around the topics of urban intervention, community work, recycling and integration/diversity:

          A presentation by Prof. Roque Amaro, ISCTE, about Social and Solidarity Economy; a workshop about Eco Design by "Projecto REMIX", the Banco do Tempo (Time Bank) by GRAAL. The topics Public space and Democracy were addressed during an evening curated by Artéria. Guest speakers Susana Ventura and Patrícia Santos Pedrosa discussed how education, tools and rules have an impact on today´s public space. Also part of the program was the Urban art and architecture project -Integration and transformation presented by Prof. António Lima, FAUL; BIP/ZIP-ing with Miguel Brito and 2 de Maio todos os dias, Casa do Vapor, Projecto Remix, Patio Ambulante: What kind of public Space promotes social cohesion?; Stéphane Gruet, co-curator from Toulouse who joined for a talk on SOUS LA VILLE, LA CRISE! A socially very relevant EU project presented by Hugo Cardoso from the Loures City Council, Communication for Integration "C4I", The theater group Teatro IBISCO followed by a presentation of ABOTA (Neighborhood Actions for Work Opportunity and Autonomy) underlining the rich cultural diversity of Portugal's Capital; "Adventure in the City" a project by Associação ARISCO aiming to improve health and to promote better social integration, the poetry workshop with Poetas sem Rede and the Open Call winners Dream Circus from Berlin and Patio de Dom Fradique from Lisbon presented their Projects.

          The Goethe-Institut in Lisbon (Claudia Hahn-Raabe, director; Adriana Delgado Martins and Karina Müller, local coordination) and the co-curator Julia Albani thank everyone involved but most of all the public and the Facebook community!

          Here a few impressions from the exhibition:

          Photos: Francisco Jorge Nenclares

          11 November 2014 by Admin
          Tags: Lisbon

            The Open Call Toulouse is launched !

            © Rose Epple
            © Rose Epple

            What else can be shared?

            What can inhabitants and fellow citizens share to make living together more durable and sustainable? Besides urban space, people already share cars, gardens, meals, child care, games, workshops and living spaces. Is sharing not only to their personal advantage, but also an answer to the economic and environmental crisis? Is sharing not more than anything else a way to rediscover the advantages of urban life and the very purpose of a city? We are launching a call for ideas or initiatives around the concept of sharing. You can participate by subscribing and uploading an idea at the We-Traders community.
            The ideas will be promoted, spread and published in the framework of the exhibition WE-TRADERS. Swapping crisis for city.
            The winner will be able to have their idea presented at the exhibition in Toulouse and travel to the exhibition in Brussels in 2015!

            07. October 2014 by Admin


            Julia Albani
            Julia Albani

            Over the course of 5 weeks between 3 October and 2 November, through a dense programme of exhibition, parliaments, workshops, cooking, conversations, plays, tours, debates and civic actions, everyone is invited to join the We-Traders experience at the LX Factory!

            More infos and dates can be found on the We-Traders Facebook-Page.

            3 October by admin
            Tags: Lisbon

            Berlin Summer of We-Trading

            The Berlin edition of We-Traders. Swapping Crisis for City closed on Sunday 17. August 2014 with a lively finissage, including an open screen-printing session by RÜTLI-WEAR, a live performance of the KRISE workshop and a presentation by SHAREHAUS.
            Over the last six weeks, We-Traders from Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Turin and Toulouse and more than 6000 visitors turned the exhibition into a busy marketplace of ideas for the transformation of our cities.
            The exhibition now travels to Lisbon where the Open Call has already started, but its Berlin legacy remains: participants used the We-Traders platform as a testing ground for new ideas and a place to connect with initiatives from other cities. One exhibition visitor called her D.I.Y. catalogue a “perfect travel guide” to like-minded projects in Southwest Europe. Many told us that they left encouraged and inspired to carry on with their work.

            This was the Berlin Summer of We-Traders:

            Photos: (1) Sandra Le Damany, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12) Rose Epple (4) Angelika Fitz (8) Jörg Schirner (9, 11) Julia Förster, Goethe-Institut

            19 August 2014 by Admin
            Tags: Berlin

            We-Traders edition Berlin celebrates half time

            Since the opening on 3 July at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien nearly 3.000 visitors came to see the We-Traders exhibition in Berlin and to participate in diverse related activities such as workshops, panels and concerts. Until 17 August, the exhibition opens daily from 12:00 – 19:00 until 17 August, the entry is free. All Berlin dates can be found on the project website.

            30 July 2014 by Admin
            Tags: Berlin

            23 – 25 July in the We-Traders exhibition: The Working Concert

            Trading Room + City as Stage
            Christopher Dell

            © Klaus Meyer
            Christopher Dell, Photo: Klaus Meyer

            In three days, vibraphonist and architectural theorist Christopher Dell joins with musicians from five European countries to develop The Working Concert: Following public rehearsals as a negotiating process within the ever "working” We-Traders exhibition, the city becomes the stage for improvisation as urban praxis. Christopher Dell (DE) vibraphone, concept, composition, musical director; Pierre Borel (FR) saxophone; Antonio Borghini (IT) double bass; Christian Lillinger (DE) drums; Lucia Martinez (ES) drums; Jonas Westergaard (DK) double bass


            Wednesday 23 July + Thursday 24 July, 15:00
            Mode 1: Trading Room
            In the exhibition at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien
            * Free entrance

            Friday 25 July, 19:00
            Mode 2: City As Stage
            At Kunstraum Kreuzberg or on Mariannenplatz (depending on the weather)
            * Free entrance

            More information about The working concert.

            21 July 2014 by Admin
            Tags: Berlin

            The We-Traders Exhibition in Berlin is Open!

            The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive programme of events. Activists from Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Turin and Toulouse share their expertise in performances, workshops and concerts. Come on by and become a We-Trader!

            14 July 2014 by Admin
            Tags: Berlin

            We-Traders in Berlin opening on Thursday, 3 July at 7 PM!

            © Photo: Eleonora Diana
            © Photo: Eleonora Diana
            Winning idea Open Call Berlin: Dream Circus by Daniele Catalli © Photo: Eleonora Diana

            It’s almost time. Following triumphs in Madrid and Turin, the travelling exhibition We-Traders: Swapping Crisis for City is now coming to the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin. The exhibition will present 24 initiatives from five cities, four manifestos, nine expert diagnoses of the crisis and invites visitors to make their own diagnoses with do-it-yourself statistics. Our extensive event programme, which we developed together with the Berlin We-Traders and our guests from Madrid, Lisbon, Turin and Toulouse, will be given a boost by a number of local Berlin initiatives.

            Everyone is cordially invited to celebrate with us on 3 July from 7 pm! Visitors can print their own We-Traders fashion statement at the opening with RÜTLI-WEAR, or to try a taste of Berlin with Stadt macht satt.

            On Saturday, come and get to know the architects from Arteria in Lisbon and the Madrid activists of Campo de Cebada or learn the technique of fast composting with DIE BODEN SCHAFFT in the neighbouring TonSteineGärten.

            At PITCHING SOUTH – a joint event by Goethe-Institut and Instituto Cervantes – on Sunday 6 July, European networks will be expanded with co-curator Javier Duero from Madrid, Instituto Cervantes and many international guests.

            We are thrilled about our new item on the agenda: the Open Call winner for Berlin! In his project Dream Circus, Daniele Catalli swaps dreams for drawings and drawings for dreams. He will present his project in a drawing performance at the We-Traders Coffee Clash on Sunday, 20 July.

            You can find more information and all the dates on the We-Traders website and on the We-Traders Facebook page.

            27 June 2014 by Admin
            Tags: Berlin

              The last round of We-Traders Turin begins before the Grand Finale takes place on Sunday evening, June 15th!

              © We-Traders Turin

              © We-Traders Turin

              The last week of the We-Traders exhibition Turin begins within the scope of the festival Architettura in Città. A large number of events are still planned and the exhibition in Via Egeo 18 can be visited till Sunday. After four intense weeks and a rich program the finissage with the rock choir VocaleXcess will take place on Sunday evening. You can find the program on the Goethe-Institut Turin homepage and on Facebook. The next stop of the exhibition is Berlin where it will be inaugurated on July 3rd.

              © We-Traders Turin

              Sie benötigen den Flashplayer, um dieses Video zu sehen
              12 June 2014 by Admin
              Tags: Turin

                We-Traders exhibition Turin

                Until June 15th We-Traders. Swapping crisis for city - exhibition, platform, laboratory of ideas and place of exchange - stops off in Turin. We-Traders is a coproduction by the Goethe-Institut Brussels together with the institutes of Lisbon, Madrid, Turin and Toulouse.

                Photos 1-8 u. 10-14: Yukai Ebisuno & Raffaella Mantegazza © Goethe-Institut
                Photo 9: Rose Epple © Rose Epple

                10 June 2014 by Admin
                Tags: Turin

                OPEN CALL BERLIN

                © Goethe-Institit Turin© Rose Epple

                Swapping bureaucracy for self-initiative
                Swapping industrial wastelands for vegetable gardens
                Swapping culture for context
                Swapping investor ruins for experimentation fields
                Swapping discards for re-use
                Swapping on-looking for acting

                We-Traders swap crisis for city.

                What do you swap? For what, why and, most of all, how?
                Join in and become a We-Trader!

                Express your trade in one photograph and one text (max. 1,000 characters in German or English) and upload it to the Community!

                The Community will vote and the idea with the most votes will be presented between 4 July and 17 August 2014 at the We-Traders exhibition at the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin. The winner will be able to travel to Lisbon this autumn!

                Entry deadline: 20 June 2014 at 23:59 hrs.
                Voting deadline: 24 June 2014 at 12:00 hrs. Winner Open Call Berlin

                29 May 2014 by Admin

                  We-Traders Turin – the Open Call has a winner and the exhibition opens on 15 May!

                  © Goethe-Institit Turin

                  The Turin Open Call is closed: the community chose Al nuovo Piano Verde („Green Level“) by Mirjam Struppek, Serena Perrone und Gabriele Iasi as the best idea. A green roof to embellish grey courtyards and to improve the air quality – a place where Tai Chi and other activities proposed by the group can be practiced.

                  More information on this idea and a varied program with workshops, cinema sessions and panels on “Swapping Crisis for City” can be discovered in the We-Traders exhibition in Turin! The opening takes place on 15 May at 18:00 in the new premises of Toolbox, only a few minutes away from Puerta Nova train station.

                  More infos and dates can be found on the website of the Goethe-Institut Turin and the We-Traders Torino Facebook-Page.

                  13 May 2014 by Admin
                  Tags: Turin

                    We-Traders Turin gets ready for take-off

                    © Goethe-Institit Turin
                    © Goethe-Institit Turin
                    Preparations for the We-Traders exhibition Turin

                    The Turin We-Traders team is looking forward to a busy month of April: the preparations for the second exhibition stop after Madrid are in full swing! On 15 May We-Traders in Turin will open its doors in the venue of Toolbox/FabLab. Already now, everybody can participate in the Open Call Turin until 24 April.

                    Foto: Students at Scuola Holden present their projects © Goethe-Institut Torino
                    Students at Scuola Holden present their projects

                    Together with students of the Scuola Holden for Storytelling & Performing Arts, the Goethe-Institut Turin has launched a Facebook page as part of a joint project. Here you can not only stay up to date and receive the latest news from Turin but also get inspired by the two very opposed "moderators".

                    Students at Scuola Holden present their projects We-Traders Torino on Facebook.

                    17 April 2014 by Admin
                    Tags: Turin

                      The open call Turin starts on 27 March 2014
                      Which place in Turin would you like to adopt? And how?

                      © Rose Epple
                      © Rose Epple

                      Prior to every We-Traders exhibition you can take part in the Open Call of the current city online. The Open Call Turin on the question Which place in Turin would you like to adopt? And how? starts on 27 March 2014. The winner will be able to have their idea presented at the We-Traders exhibition in Turin and travel to Berlin.

                      Join the Open Call Turin and become a We-Trader!

                      26 March 2014 by Admin
                      Tags: Turin, We-Traders

                        We-Traders exhibition in Madrid finished on Sunday 16 March – during six weeks 19.000 people visited the exhibition and joined the activities at Matadero!

                        © WT Madrid
                        © WT Madrid

                        The Madrid We-Traders edition at Matadero finished around a collectively cooked and eaten paella dish!
                        Now We-Traders travels to Turin where the exhibition will open its doors on 15 May 2014 in the venue of Toolbox Office Lab & Coworking.

                        21 March 2014 by Admin
                        Tags: Madrid

                          More than 2,000 visitors at the opening of the
                          We-Traders exhibition in Madrid!

                          Here are some photo impressions from the opening weekend at Matadero. Various activities will take place in the interactive We-Traders exhibition until 16 March.

                          7 February 2014 by Admin
                          Tags: Madrid

                          The countdown has begun: the We-Traders’ first stop is Madrid!

                          © Tommaso Marzocchini
                          © Tommaso Marzocchini

                          The We-Traders team in Madrid is busy preparing for the opening on 31 January at Matadero Madrid. And the Open Call has enhanced the We-Traders by another initiative: SIEMPRE FIESTA by Andrés Carretero and Carolina Klocker made it – the online community cast the most votes for this concept, making it part of the exhibition. Congratulations!

                          The exhibition modules have already arrived and are being assembled, the We- Traders and local partners are putting the finishing touches on their work in order to open the interactive marketplace this coming Friday.

                          From Monday to Thursday, Zuloark is building a chief element of the exhibition – an urban parliament – in a workshop open to all. Taller Omnívoros is providing worktables, information points and recycled chairs, Puesto PEC is preparing the "garden" with a natural air purification system made of plants and on Saturday, 1 February Cocook will open the vibrant market with a collaborative cooking event to which participates only need to bring one ingredient.

                          With these and many other activities accompanying the exhibition, the Madrid project invites everyone to join the We-Traders platform until 16 March.
                          Be there for the launch in Madrid and if you can’t make it, you can get updates right here!

                          28 January 2014 by Rebeca Castellano
                          Tags: Madrid

                            City and Crisis: Diagnoses from the We-Traders Forums

                            A selection of the video interviews filmed at the We-Traders forums in Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin, Turin and Toulouse can now be viewed on our website . All diagnoses can then be seen beginning late January 2014 at the first We-Traders Exhibition in Madrid.

                            Video: Piccolo Cinema © Goethe-Institut

                            Marco Revelli, Political scientist, Turin, IT
                            “People continue to see this crisis as a kind of interlude, and that afterwards everything will carry on as before. It isn't an interlude but a metamorphosis that will transform the world.”

                            Sonja Beeck, Professor for urban planning Berlin, DE
                            “A crisis is a saddle point in time. It's the exact point at which it is decided whether a situation gets better again or ultimately slides down towards an even worse situation.“

                            Jorge da Silva Macaísta Malheiros, Doctor of urban geography, Lisbon, PT
                            “Participation is essential, but it has to be serious. Being serious means ensuring that those involved are heard, that actors are respected in their transformation process, and that everyone is involved from beginning to end.”

                            17 January 2014 by Admin
                            Tags: We-Traders

                            Be a We-Trader: The Open Call Madrid is launched!

                            © Rose Epple
                            © Rose Epple

                            Madrid has turned into a huge Swiss cheese. Thousands of rooms and buildings are standing vacant, even in the city center. At the same time, many local groups are desperately searching for affordable spaces to create added cultural, social and political value for the city. Therefore, the Open Call Madrid asks: How can we gain access to and make use of Madrid's vacant spaces?

                            Anyone can get involved and be a We-Trader! The community will vote on the winning contribution. The chosen concept will be presented at the We-Traders exhibition and the winner will travel to the exhibition in Turin in May 2014. Visit the We-Traders Open Call Madrid here.

                            13 December 2013 by Admin

                            We-Traders Madrid – on the road to the exhibition

                            The first We-Traders exhibition will be launched at the end of January 2014 in Madrid. It is being co-created with the We-Traders, who are presently working hard to make the exhibition an interactive marketplace of ideas.

                            Video by Gema Segura produced by the Goethe-Institut Madrid for We-Traders.
                            Comments: Angelika Fitz, Sonja Beeck, Eva Gil, Manuel Pascual, Florian Schmidt, Rose Epple, Rebeca Castellano

                            15 November 2013 by Admin
                            Tags: Madrid

                            Impressions of the Mercado do Forno do Tijolo, the venue of the Lisbon We-Traders Forum

                            © Jürgen Willinghöfer
                            © Jürgen Willinghöfer

                            There is no consumer potential here. The former customers are no more, or they go next door to Lidl, which is open from nine to nine. Here, in the market hall, the customary opening hours are still from five in the morning, when the fresh fish is delivered, until one in the afternoon. By ten, the hall is already a yawning void. Hardly any stands still display their wares. In the evening, an old woman feeds hundreds of pigeons. Less and less of Lisbon’s former 30 to 40 markets exist. Some of them manage to transition to specialized gourmet food markets, but most of them simply disappear.

                            Bernardo Gaeiras, an Amsterdam-trained designer who operates a FabLab for the city of Lisbon in one of the adjoining buildings, an old rabbit slaughterhouse, shows us what all can be done with empty spaces. The sign with the triskelion of rabbits on a wall of the FabLab would be a good logo, since this place is a market on mutual terms. It’s all about sharing infrastructure – a 3-D printer, laser cutter, CNC router, desktop miller and vinyl cutter – that would be far too expensive for each individual. Those who then share their designs may use the machinery for free: learning by doing. The old abattoirs were only renovated once. Toilets, a few doors and lighting were installed; everything else will come in time. The fact that the old woman does not feed hundreds of pigeons this evening, but instead a converted Mercedes lorry from the Gerhardsried fire brigade, the pátio ambulante, serves the visitors of the We-Traders Forum wine and bread, is perhaps a sign of impending change. Maybe triple-rabbit production potential will be created here!

                            15 November 2013 by Weltstadt correspondents Sonja Beeck and Jürgen Willinghöfer
                            Tags: Lisbon

                            Notes from the four We-Traders Forums in Lisbon, Madrid, Turin and Toulouse

                            © Yukai Ebisuno & Raffaella Mantegazza
                            © Yukai Ebisuno & Raffaella Mantegazza

                            Everybody is talking about the crisis, but how is it actually manifested? Have cities changed? Where do We-Traders come from and what unites them? And how can these and other questions be negotiated by the 2014 travelling exhibition? In October 2013, the We-Traders community worked on this at forums in Lisbon, Madrid, Turin and Toulouse. Here are a few pickings from our notes.

                            City and Crisis

                            “The problem isn’t a capitalist economy, but a capitalist society,” is the diagnosis of sociologist Claus Leggewie at the We-Traders Forum in Lisbon. Maria João Guardão and Maria Tengarrinha from O Espelho see a political and a media crisis. They launched their wall newspaper “the day that Angela Merkel came to Portugal.”

                            In their city, our co-curators in Turin, Lisa Parola and Luisa Perlo, identify not just the financial plight, but an acute identity crisis. Together with the urban geographer Carlo Salone they are warning about a “disneyfication” of culture in the light of the inflationary festival culture that post-industrial Turin is using to try and reinvent itself. At the Madrid We-Traders Forum, Santiago Eraso, one of those responsible for the 2016 San Sebastian capital of culture, calls for “anti-monumental activities.”

                            In Madrid, the crisis is directly experienced mainly by young people who cannot find work. Those who create their own jobs cannot find affordable spaces due to real estate speculation. “I can’t afford a proper office in Madrid. If I had more space, I could create new jobs,” reports our co-curator Javier Duero.

                            What are We-Trades?

                            It is certainly not about interpreting We-Trades one-dimensionally as a reaction to the crisis. “We are tired of the crisis being presented to us as an opportunity; it would be better if there were no crisis,” says Lisbon geographer Jorge da Silva Macaísta Malheiros on behalf of many We-Traders. If at all, it was a missed opportunity says Davide Ziveri from Turin’s Buenavista Social Housing. “I thought now everything will be different with the banks.”

                            “Are We-Trades reformist projects or do they want a change in the system?” asks Joël Lecussan from Mix'Art Myrys, while his counterparts in Toulouse from Bois & Cie quite pragmatically trust in their doer qualities. “Notre réaction, c’est l’action!” Frauke Hehl from the Berlin workstation initiative advocates continuing to hold the city responsible so that temporary solutions do not become permanent ones.

                            “We want work that we enjoy and that makes us better,” is how the Walkinn Coop describes its motivation to found a We-Trade. Non-hierarchic alliances and fluid identities play pivotal roles – “We don’t ask who we are, but with whom we can enter a relationship” (VIC) – and collective authorship – “The author of Campo de Cebada is Campo de Cebada.” We-Trades put meaning before profits. “AMAP gave me back my pride in being a farmer. Now, we are feeding people, not markets,” says Alain Gatti of Le Potager de Camille.

                            A crisis is the saddle point that decides the fate of a city, according to urban planner Sonja Beeck at the We-Traders Forum in Madrid. We are certain that at this point, We-Trades decisively contribute to the success of a city.

                            24 October 2013 by Rose Epple and Angelika Fitz

                              We-Traders Forum Toulouse

                              © Angelika Fitz
                              © Angelika Fitz
                              Nils Simon of Initiative Möckernkiez and Rolf Novy-Huy of the trias Foundation attending the We-Traders Forum in Toulouse
                              Nils Simon of Initiative Möckernkiez and Rolf Novy-Huy of the trias Foundation attending the We-Traders Forum in Toulouse.
                              Copyright photo: Angelika Fitz
                              17 October 2013 by Admin

                                We-Traders Forum Turin

                                © Yukai Ebisuno & Raffaella Mantegazza
                                © Yukai Ebisuno & Raffaella Mantegazza
                                We-Traders Forum in Turin: Symptoms and causes
                                We-Traders Forum in Turin: Symptoms and causes
                                Copyright photo: Yukai Ebisuno & Raffaella Mantegazza
                                10 October 2013 by Admin
                                Tags: Turin

                                  We-Traders Forum Madrid

                                  © Gema Segura
                                  © Gema Segura
                                  We-Traders Forum in Madrid picturing activists from Campo de Cebada
                                  We-Traders Forum in Madrid picturing activists from Campo de Cebada
                                  Copyright photo: Gema Segura
                                  04 October 2013 by Admin
                                  Tags: Madrid

                                    We-Traders Forum Lisbon

                                    © Jürgen Willinghöfer
                                    © Jürgen Willinghöfer
                                    We-Traders Forum in Lisbon: Workshop with guest Claus Leggewie
                                    We-Traders Forum in Lisbon: Workshop with guest Claus Leggewie
                                    Copyright photo: Jürgen Willinghöfer
                                    04 October 2013 by Admin
                                    Tags: Lisbon

                                      A working exhibition

                                      © Javier Duero
                                      © Javier Duero
                                      We-Trades are not created top-down. We-Trades grow through hands-on collaboration from the bottom. Likewise, the We-Traders project is growing out of the exchange and collaboration between We-Traders, guests, exhibition makers and the public over a period of 15 months, in five countries and six languages.

                                      How does that work?
                                      To kick-off the process we asked co-curators from Lisbon, Madrid, Toulouse, Berlin and Turin to identify We-Traders in their respective cities. In June this year, we all met up at the Goethe-Institut in Rome to choose 24 projects for further collaboration and discuss the upcoming milestones of the We-Traders platform. For this we used participation tools like the We-Traders Cubes, that were specially developed by information design students of Sint-Lukas in Brussels.

                                      These selected We-Traders are now on their way to the We-Traders Forums in Lisbon, Madrid, Turin and Toulouse to present their projects, discuss its impact with international experts at public events and to collaboratively work on We-Trade Manifestos. Their output will become part of the We-Traders travelling exhibition that will first open its doors in Madrid at the end of January 2014.

                                      And now it is your turn: meet We-Traders in your city at the We-Trader Forum, discuss the crisis and join in the project. There is plenty of work to do on the working exhibition! Check out the dates section for details of upcoming events.

                                      Copyright Foto: © Javier Duero
                                      24 September 2013 by Rose Epple and Angelika Fitz
                                      Tags: We-Traders