Let us talk about #CheerUpStuttgart
Why do we go to the city? What do we expect, what do we do there, what do we love, and what do we miss? These were the guiding questions of the #CheerUpStuttgart Talk at the Kultur Kiosk. The ideas and answers that participants brought to the table were inspiring and forward-thinking. It was an exciting evening filled with emotional conversations - on a mission for more optimism and cohesion in our inner cities.
It’s a balmy evening in late September. The sky performs a magnificent play of colors until the sun sets. It’s one of those evenings when the city hums. Everyone is outside enjoying the weather, the get-together, the cozy bustle. Is that what our cities are all about?
The Kultur Kiosk in downtown Stuttgart is one of those humming places on this evening that revolves around that very question. Everywhere in and around the Kultur Kiosk, yellow, smiling smileys on posters, postcards and on the big screen welcome the participants. They set the tone for the evening: Joy and friendliness. The talk show is part of our #CheerUpStuttgart initiative, which started in July this year with the first installation of the three-meter inflatable smileys and has since changed its location every few weeks.
With this initiative, we want to show how connected and diverse our cities are and how at the same time, with a little twinkle in our eyes, lightness and connection to and between us humans can be made. Maybe you have already seen the smiley somewhere and share our enthusiasm. Not a big deal, but a lot of warmth and joy.
Just like on this evening at the Kultur Kiosk. People greet each other warmly, laugh together, toast to each other. And then it starts: Meike Finkelnburg, Managing Director at Designplus, and Sara Dahme from Kultur Kiosk open the talk round with Marcel Heller (Heller Designstudio & Partner), Manuel Diez (Studio Hans), Mirja Schwartz (hi, tilda) and Marcel Mendler (MatterOf).
Four questions now determine the course of the conversation: What inspires and fascinates us about many cities? Where can we learn what? What do we want, and can we change?
And what roles and responsibilities do we want to take on? Everything in the following hour and a half revolves around activism, actionism, diversity, networking and new impulses.
They all think in different directions, but they have one thing in common: they talk about the city full of energy and passion, and their gaze refocuses on the given. The audience adds valuable input to the discourse. The group discussions afterwards are all the more emotional. The consensus is: We all want the city to be a place for meeting, inspiration, enjoyment, shopping and a meeting place. The current problem is that we don’t recognize and use what’s there enough. We then prefer to blame our city for bringing it to us.
One by one, everyone says goodbye – again warmly, with a smile on their face. While the hum of the city becomes quieter and quieter, we go home with new motivation. After all, we all share the responsibility to use the city as a playing field for more diversity, understanding, variety and openness. After this evening, we all feel a bit more challenged to help shape city life – as much as each city dweller can. For us, this continues to be the smileys that travel through Stuttgart to show us joy and connectedness. Maybe the smiley will soon “smile” in other cities as well…