Biography Work in Gorbitz

On 4 & 18 June, the Dresdner Nachbarschaften were in Gorbitz for a biography workshop - hands on is the watchword and the story-telling can begin.

On 4 & 18 June, the Dresdner Nachbarschaften were in Gorbitz for a biography workshop – hands on is the watchword and the story-telling can begin.

text: Falk Goernert · photos: Yvonn Spauschus · illustration: Rosa Brockelt

[track 1]

The table is richly set: various pencils, felt-tip pens and coloured pencils, (acrylic) paints, brushes, cutter knives and scissors, adhesive tapes, inks, stickers with various text messages from popular culture and (of course) books again. And just as the abundance of food on a long table invites you to taste it, all these writing and design tools want to be tried out and used on this hot summer Saturday in Gorbitz. Hands on is the motto and the story-telling can begin. 

[track 2]

When we say that human beings are fundamentally (also) playmakers (Johann Huizinga), they are at least as much storytellers in the same breath. And where the telling happens, the remembering happens almost all by itself.

[track 3]

“My throat is already dry from all the talking,” says Mrs Thiel. We have been sitting together for almost three hours. The “I” when talking about our own experiences has quickly turned into a “we”: “We used to say so and so”; “We were ARD”; “That’s the only way we got a new flat”… It quickly becomes clear that there are not only individual people sitting at the table who talk about their lived past.

Here (rather) a supposedly fundamentally common space of experience, the GDR, is also expressed. Ms Müller and Ms Thiel have picked up speed in their narrative flow. Childhood and adolescence pass by in excerpts, the relationship with the parents, the release from parental grip through partnership, marriage, the first children and thus the right to housing.

Inge is sitting next to me. In front of her is a noticeably gutted book – the hardcover edition of a light novel from the early 2000s. In addition, Inge has a hodgepodge of so-called “mini-books” spilled out on the table around her; among them: “Dresden. Von A bis Z”, a cookbook or a joke book about the (mis)use of computers, typical of the early 90s. A4 for A4 sheet, Inge cuts new pages that will later find their way into the exposed book corpus. Every now and then she slides a joke page over to me and smiles at me, briefly agrees with what she hears, correcting me with the remark: “No, I didn’t experience it like that”.

Until the next souvenir picture appears on one of the participants’ faces, the sounds of paper at the table briefly dominate the room. En passant, old and current Gorbitz flat plans are pasted in, photos brought along are sorted and …

[track 4]

Narrative remembering for myself and in front of others always also means the continual and ever new reassurance of myself. In the end, it is also the question of how I became the person I am here now – whether this search for traces is conscious or unconscious. And that this act of remembering and speaking is always a creative one is literally obvious on this Saturday. With this thought in mind, I leave Club Passage.

We now say goodbye more familiarly: “See you next time”; again with eyes, ears, hands and mouths.

Biography workshop in Gorbitz
Biography workshop in Gorbitz

04.06.2022 · Biography workshop in Gorbitz
Club Passage (JugendKunstschule Dresden)

18.06.2022 · Biography workshop in Gorbitz
Club Passage (JugendKunstschule Dresden)

Dresdner Nachbarschaften
Damals, Heute, Morgen / Zuhören, Erinnern und Gestalten

In our storytelling cafés and discussion groups, district tours and workshops, we want to encourage you to tell stories and develop visions.


Project coordination
Yvonn Spauschus (project management)
Anne Ibelings · Moussa Mbarek · Nadine Wölk (workshop leader)
Uta Rolland · Rosa Brockelt · Rosa Hauch · Falk Goernert (moderation and documentation)

Cooperation partners
JugendKunstschule Dresden · Omse e.V. · Löbtop e.V. · Quartiersmanagement Prohlis, Johannstadt and Gorbitz · Sigus e.V. · In Gruna leben e.V. · UFER-Projekte Dresden e.V.

Supported by

The project is funded by the House of Resources Dresden+