Refugee Youth in Public Space


“(Not) my city – scopes and limitations of urban spaces” Short film by HERA Leipzig

The window-exhibition “(Not) My City – Scopes and Limitations of Urban Spaces” which was first presented in the city of Leipzig in October 2021 aimed to map out the spectrum of different experiences while arriving as a newcomer in the city of Leipzig. Based on interviews conducted by researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL) in Leipzig and the University of Bonn the issue of inclusion and exclusion in public space was addressed: How do the interviewees perceive the urban infrastructure of Leipzig against the backdrop of their own arrival history?

Numerous conversations as well as a series of story-mapping workshops captured stories, emotions, hopes and desires, as well as liminal experiences and experiences of racism. The resulting exhibition demonstrates that stories of refuge do not end at the receiving countries‘ borders but are painfully extended in the context of the European asylum infrastructures, in relation to local authorities, the search for new housing as well as leisure activities. All of these experiences are bound to certain places, while translocal connections to other times and spaces remain equally persistent.

Part of the exhibition opening in Leipzig was the performance of the project “Würde” [eng. dignity]. It was developed by Interaction Leipzig e.V. in a collaborative process. The aim was to bring together people with and without migration histories, to create a space for exchanging experiences and to address questions of (non-)dignity, the feeling of strangeness and possibilities of re-imagining public space(s). The final performance indented to temporarily take over public space while creating moments of surprise and interruption.

Make sure to watch the video below and learn more about the different performances in Leipzig, the reflections by the artists and the HERA research project in Leipzig/Bonn.