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Hey folks. Welcome to another Coworking Values Podcast. This time the show is guest hosted by students studying at the European University Viadrina under the tutelage of Johanna Voll the co-founder of the Coworking Library.

They are interviewing John Brüggemann the Coworking Space Owner. They were curious about the project ‘Media Residents’ as it provides refugees with a place to work and a network, helping them to join a community they likely wouldn’t have in Germany.

What is the Media Residents all about?

I’m a part of a small team here called media residents. We actually have a project from Gesicht Zeigen, because Gesicht Zeigen is a non-profit organization, and they have been fighting since about 18 years right now against racism and stuff like that. 

Anti-democratic movements and stuff. They got more than one project and we are just one of them. 

Yeah. So, what is media residents? 

We call our self a network for people with publication backgrounds. And, and that’s it. We wanted to give, especially people with a migration background, some ways to get involved in media landscape here in Germany, and get in touch with all the stuff that’s important for it, equipment and other people who might help them and just a first contact and this is what it’s all about.

 About it’s a coworking space, and we provide everything to start. And if they’ve got questions, we hopefully going to answer them and can empower them.




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Zeljko Crnjakovic 0:03  

Welcome to Coworking Values Podcast the podcast of the European coworking assembly. Each week we deep dive into one of the values of accessibility community openness, collaboration, and sustainability.

Bernie J. Mitchell 0:14  

Hello again, folks, just before we get started today’s special shout out to Joe Voll, who is a teacher at the European University of Viadrina, Olga, he helped make these special episodes with her students about community and coworking possible, she is also even more fun, the founder of the Coworking library,

Bernie J. Mitchell 0:30  

So, go check that out as well. So, let’s get into the episode.

Student 0:34  

Hello, we are Zander and Nikita. Welcome to our podcast, were are students of the Opel only visited via Viadrina in Frankfurt older this semester, we’re taking part in the seminar on coworking. As part of it. We talked to the founder of a coworking space in Berlin called media residents. 

John Bruggemann 00:52

Hi, my name is John Bruggemann. I’m a part of a small team here called media residents. We are actually have a project from Gesicht Zeigen, because Gesicht Zeigen is a non-profit organization, and they have been fighting since about 18 years right now against racism and stuff like that. Anti-democratic movements and stuff. They got more than one project and we are just one of them. Yeah. So, what is media residents? We call our self a network for people with publication backgrounds. And, and that’s it. We wanted to give, especially people with a migration background, some ways to get involved in media landscape here in Germany, and get in touch with all the stuff that’s important for it, equipment and other people who might help them and just a first contact and this is what it’s all about. About it’s a coworking space, and we provide everything to start. And if they’ve got questions, we hopefully going to answer them and can empower them.

Student 2:13  

How do you come up with that idea?

John Bruggemann 2:17  

So, we knew some of the people found visiting already. And they asked us if we know somebody who can realize the project, and it’s about a coworking space for refugees, and it’s about media and web shows and podcasts and all that stuff. And so, we said, Yes, we know some people, it’s actually it’s us. We know how to realize that, and we can do it and we are interested in the topic as well. So, let’s do it. And this project is financed by the Ministry of Justice and customer protection. So, they had this contract and just was searching for people. So, the idea is It’s not originally from me. It’s from visiting Evo.

Student 3:05

 And when did it all start? 

John Bruggemann 03:08

In 2017. They wanted to start in January, January 2017. And because of some bureaucratic stuff going on, we started in the summer with our web show. Our first big project was kenshin. And it’s a web show with Gillette, Ayesha.

Student 3:30  

How many people are coming here every month? Or is a certain number of people coming here?

John Bruggemann 3:38  

Yeah, it differs always. So, it’s not a very steady number of people. It’s always depends on the projects that people are doing. So, it’s about 5 to 10 people coming in one week, maybe. And the next week. It’s just three of them, but they have a very important project. And it’s very cool that they don’t get distracted here too, too often, because they really have to concentrate on the editing or doing voiceovers or translations, or something like that. So, this space is pretty much open to the public. But it’s really important for us that we have people who have certain projects working here and realizing that they can actually concentrate on their work for hours in one week. So, it’s a bit hard to realize, to give everyone the option opportunity to work here in a silent boot, you know, so I’m quite happy about this number.

Student 4:44  

So, do they interact, actually, or are they just working next to each other? Because each and every one has different projects, right?

John Bruggemann 4:53  

Yeah. It’s not always the same. They interact a lot, actually. It’s always about translation. problems. Of course, we have so many language here in this room, but it always differs. So, some of them want to just work for themselves, maybe just writing emails and have having contacts and stuff. And others are deeply in the production and needs help from others. And so, this always changing 

 Student 05:32

Are the any criteria for people to come up with really generally open source.

John Bruggemann 05:36

 So, it’s about media, right? It’s about publications, so if they are interested in it, or if they are doing it already, that’s the only thing we want them. Yeah, they don’t have to necessarily have a background.


John Bruggemann 05:53

We are very open about that because we get to know them a bit and see that they are really about maybe they are activists in that field, and they want just wanted to help. And they come from a different border, or field of work. So, they just are interested in this coworking space or in the way we work here. So, and want to have and we always tell them, we’re going to find a place for you. So, we don’t send them away.

Student 6:28  

So how do you integrate the refugees into that space?

John Bruggemann 6:33  

We start very soft. So, we don’t force anyone to do anything. We just invite them to be here and be around get to know us a bit. It’s very important that they learn German. So, this is the first thing we tell them if they have problems here. You really need to go to school. Are you already in a program or not? And he has some addresses, or he asked some guys who already visit German lessons, so go there first. That’s really important and come back to us tomorrow. If you feel if you have other questions or just stay, that’s the first thing because it’s very, very important. And after that we just see if, Where They’re from If they can have somebody with the same language, or if they have some projects they’re working on or dream of, or they like to try out stuff. And we got to find something on them. It’s always about you know, make them feel welcome here, and then ask some questions about their personality about their wishes and dreams and what made them come here. That’s really important before we start doing projects with each other.

Student 7:56  

How do you make them feel comfortable?

John Bruggemann 7:59  

All is a smile at first, of course, say Welcome. Come in, get a drink. So, who are you that’s, that’s why you That’s the first thing. And I think people realize that this space is not just to hang around the spaces to make contacts, making steps forward in some kind of profession. So right now, the people have kind of a goal in their minds what they want to reach. And at the starting point, it wasn’t that way, too, but just checking out what’s going on here, but right now they really know where they want to go, and we help them part of this way.

Student 8:51  

Could you give us some examples about the goals that already accomplished here?

John Bruggemann 8:56  

Yeah, sure. So, we have for instance, we have Emmet. He’s from Iraq, and he had to flew to Germany some years ago, because the situation was very problematic there. So, he was threatened. And he always tells me that there were four times he thought he might die, or be killed, right? But he never gets precise about that, or maybe more deeply about stories. So, it’s very happy to be here. And his wish was to be a morning show moderator in the radio. So, he started he asked me, can you make that happen? And I told him, this is not radio station and we don’t have a frequency. You know, that’s expensive. But let’s start with Facebook and you can stream life into Facebook. What about that? So, we started to try stuff out upstairs in our podcasting studio, and he even uses a webcam and he wanted to use a green screen as well.

John Bruggemann 10:11

 So, he built that up and tried stuff out. And some, some weeks later, he made his own production every Friday for about two hours. He comes here and he’s doing some researches with our technology about what happens in the world and how’s the soccer game situation with Germany and stuff and how’s the weather and the traffic? Basic topics, you know, he’s talking about that in his foreign in his language, not in German, so I don’t understand nothing’s, so I always have to tell them, okay, that’s your project. If someone asked me about it, I can only tell them what you tell me. So, but if this is what you dream of, it’s cool. And he’s now doing it for himself. And we can offer him some help from others that come here and just have a backup, knowing about their own goals, and Hey, where are you from? Are you from Iraq? Yes, I’ve got someone who needs help. Maybe you connect each other. So this is one good example. Others other examples are people from organizations like ours that work in the field of refugees welcome, or, you know, gender topics, and they want to produce videos, some projects to productions, and they’re editing that stuff here and need translators for, you know, the voice overs and stuff. So, this is what we do here.

Student 11:52 

You just mentioned the podcast you upstairs, could you. I think that’s important to know, give us a quick overview about the spaces and the things that you offer. People come in.

John Bruggemann 12:03

 We actually have two spaces here and in this house. One is the room that we are right now in and it’s a coworking space with several desktop PCs and they are all good enough to make a video production of podcasting production. You have headphones, you have good screens and you have powerful machines.

John Bruggemann 12:28  

We have as well, huge shelves as the name lockers with a video production equipment from laptops to headphones and light equipment and cameras and all the cables stuff and so and we have even backpacks so we can provide them a complete set for electronic broadcasting. Somewhere in the field, so we actually rent the stuff for free. They come here and they tell us who they are we get some personal information and then they can grab it and produce this stuff. So, and upstairs there’s another room with two large screens and you can edit video productions and you can record some podcasts as well. It’s more silent upstairs. Yeah.

Student 13:33  

I’ve seen that you provide some workshops. Could you tell us more about that?

John Bruggemann 13:40  

Okay, workshops. We started with the idea that we do basic workshop about publications in general. So, whatever your people are interested in, and it was quite exhausting. To organize this, but people really, came and did it with joy. And afterwards, we decided to make more kind of a tendon program out of it and see what is the demand? And what is the language people are demanding

John Bruggemann 14:20 

We always try to do it in German for people. But sometimes it’s not too helpful for them to get to the next step if they have to do it in German. So, we try to figure out what is the next project here for our residents? What can they do together? And what kind of help do they need? Do they need an expert or a coach or someone who’s just talking their language and can translate stuff, so it’s always around their projects, what we organize so that we still do workshops, but the number of people who are attending are about five, five, to eight people. And it’s very much about their projects, and not generally working in the field of media and radio and TV. There are workshops about that as well, but we are not doing it.

Student 15:17  

So, do you have any future goals for the next year? What’s coming up in 2019?

John Bruggemann 15:25  

Yeah, we want to do more formats. It’s about we want to do more, podcasting shows, web shows, video productions. And it’s about content, you know, want a big variety of content we want it to be to be produced here. And we have so many ideas. And we always want to make the first step and invite some of the residents to be part of it. So that would be very cool. We have Like we have a podcast about sexuality, about gender topics, because some other people have our projects and because it’s saying told us there are still huge gaps in knowledge about that, especially in community of Islamic women, I don’t know how to say that correctly, women, especially girls, they have so many questions, still, I mean, I thought it’s, it should be clear right now, but very basic questions and that’s  was quite surprising for us.

John Bruggemann 16:48

 So, we are going to produce a podcast about sexual and gender topics for this special kind of people. And we get head from A woman who actually came out this of this community. And then we invite some of the residents to be part of the show. We have Jonas from Iran. And he’s joining the moderation team. So, we have a man and a woman from different cultures, different languages and bring them together. And that’s a really cool concept. I think for every show that we are doing, bringing together at least two people from different views. Doing one cool thing. Yeah.

Student 17:37

Where do you publish all the content? Do you have a general outlet or?

John Bruggemann 17:42

Yeah, of course. So, we have more than one channel, all the video footage goes to YouTube of course but we are publishing on Facebook as well. And of course, there is special channel, Instagram, and they rolled out this Instagram TV format just in the middle of the year. I don’t know exactly when it was again and we are doing Instagram TV very often just for our, our own community. It’s about a newsletter in the Instagram format. So, this, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are the three most important channels. Of course, we have our own website, we are updating the content there each week, and we use Twitter also. And of course, all the platforms existing.

Student 18:38

You just mentioned with the podcast that you know that they are educational and working together. So, do you feel like there is a general mission that Media Residents has? Could you put that into words or might be difficult?

John Bruggemann18:53  

Yeah, sure. There was a reason why we call it a network for people in publication, people with publication background, of course it is kind of a wordplay we because there’s the German saying Mila Tsun Cinta gone. It’s about migration background, people that came here. That’s the story, and we wanted to make the twist about that. So, our mission is to help people come here and want to find a place in the society, and for many of them, the place could be publication or media. So, we just want them to find a new home and our society and we want to connect people. So, building bridges, I would say it’s a cool mission.

Student 19:48

So, as you said is there a sense of community from people in the residence?

John Bruggemann 19:57

Yeah, there’s a state of mind I would say we have in common and that it is freedom. We have a we have a very strong law. In German we have to go and possess a basic laws and we have the basic rights and we are really convinced that they are the basis for a democratic society, and people who come here, they are really happy that their rights no one can steal those right. So next year, our law has birthday 17th birthday, and it’s a very nice way to show people, what is this country you’re coming to? It’s a country where you have rights everyone, no matter which colour no matter where you come from,

John Bruggemann20:56  

no matter what kind of religion or language It’s your right

Student 21:04

And also, I wanted to ask, what makes you call it a coworking space? Would you elaborate on that again? 

John Bruggemann21:21  

It’s just a common way to say it in a corporate organization, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just a cool way to describe it. I have my doubts about the words in general but what’s still alternative if you say, okay, it’s an office, but it’s not only an office. It’s the difference.

Student Unknown Speaker 21:51  

What makes it a coworking space?

John Bruggemann21:55  

It’s a coworking space because you can share the desks here. We have many desks. people share. And it’s a coworking space, because they cowork so they can help each other.

John Bruggemann22:10  

It’s not that we do it all the time. It’s that the residents, we call them residents, the media residents, they help each other, and that’s the goal. Because they’re sharing the same views and sometimes the same language and stuff. And we want to build bridges for people. It’s not always the bridge to us. Sometimes it’s just the bridges amongst themselves. So cowork is actually a good word, sometimes it’s been hijacked by others that want to make commercial products.

Student 22:44  

So, this is a collaboration going on between residents who were initially maybe close to each other?

John Bruggemann 22:51  

Many people that come here are quite thankful about this opportunity and actually want to give something back, and we tell them that there’s someone who speaks your language, and he or she has problems. So why don’t you help each other? That would be cool. And they’re doing it. And that’s cool to see.

Student 23:12  

And beyond that coworking space, the needs outside or this is community spirit. Also, beyond the Media Residents?

John Bruggemann23:25  

Sure, I think it’s there, but we didn’t invent it. Of course, people are already, you know, sharing this state of mind. We are joining them, not the other way around. So, everyone who’s new in this society feels a bit better if it gets to know someone who’s in the same position, of course. So, this kind of community is building itself since years, since the case actually, and we think that’s cool because our society is reinventing over and over again. And many Germans are looking at the past with many sorrows, you know, because we had two world wars and that was not the very best part of our history. So, we don’t want to do the same mistakes again, in our society. And I think to be open minded and have a democratic basement for society’s very best way to establish it.

Student 24:31  

Yeah. How would you describe media residence in three words in reverse?

John Bruggemann24:41  

Three words. I have maybe five. All right.

John Bruggemann 24:47  

Hi, let’s do something cool together. It’s maybe six words I don’t know. Welcome and that Let’s rock it.

Bernie J. Mitchell 25:03

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