Biography workshop in Gruna

On 17 September, the Dresden Neighbourhoods were in Gruna for a biography workshop: paper art, life stages, lived experiences...

On 17 September, the Dresdner Nachbarschaften were in Gruna for a biography workshop.

text: Rosa Hauch · photos: Yvonn Spauschus

Paper art, stages of life, lived experiences presented in a completely new way.

It is the last craft workshop of the project for the time being. The selected books have been given a new life. They are three times as thick, twice as heavy and more colourful than before and, they tell stories with more than just a double bottom. Karin and Inge were almost always there. They remember events, holiday trips, hitchhiking, work colleagues from 50 years ago as if it were yesterday. Forgetting time, they tinker with their books using old newspaper cuttings, photos and new paper art materials.


Is handicraft a German, or even an East German hobby? Internationally, I have hardly come across it. But why? For grannies, mommies, children who know kindergarten activities, handicrafts are as much a part of life as drinking tea on cold winter days. Do we have too much time? Crafting creates things that please us when we make them and delight others when they give them as gifts. Look what I have made for you! Cards, chestnut figures, cardboard worlds that can do one thing very well later on: Catching dust. Our much-loved standing rugs sometimes live for decades in cellars, on shelves and in boxes. When the children move out, shoeboxes with their first works of art are conjured up. No one wants to take them with them and no one wants to throw them away. Handicrafts accompany us in many different ways.

Karin still raves about her holiday trips to Hungary. There she met Italians who, weeks later, caused a stir in her small Erzgebirge village with a Fiat. When only Trabbis and Wartburgs were at home near Seiffen in the Ore Mountains, the little car caught her eye, and Karin’s too, of course. She learned to be a toy maker, worked as a restorer and holiday home manager, and when she’s making a book, she talks about it as if it were yesterday. Inge is preoccupied with her work as a volunteer at these moments. She would like to work with children and is involved in many different ways. She would not have thought that it would take so much patience for projects to come to life and would like to see more activity from the organisers. Who has time to give away?!

Hannah is also involved. Hannah is just starting to gain professional experience. She works in the district association and together we think about how it is that so few people always come. What motivates people to move towards each other? Is it the interests at different stages of life or is it the neighbourhood itself? Why should I do something with whom, why get involved with him and her, just because we happen to live next door to each other? Hannah definitely misses the neighbourhood pub, or a place where you can just meet up to find out what makes the neighbourhood tick. Is it really the case that you only get on well with children and pets? What prevents us from talking to each other? What do I want to know about the other person?

In these moments, book pages are also created. Book pages that seek an answer to the question of how much community we allow, when it is an enrichment for us and why we also need distance from ourselves, our actions, our neighbours and why we are happy to see people again.

Biography workshop in Gruna
17.09.2022 · Biography workshop in Gruna

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+