The ROC Story
In the 1st chapter of ROC, we looked across Europe for inspiration,
immersed ourselves in a Berlin refugee shelter, hosted a stunning building festival and failed painfully.
Late in summer 2015, we work with 300 creative innovators in a castle near Paris for five weeks, developing sustainable prototypes for both small scale technical fixes and collaborative self-organization.
Our neat bubble bursts when we receive news of increasing numbers of people drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. The “crisis” is born, and European societies face huge challenges of migration and populism ahead.
On the Road
Back home we create a hopeful concept, dreaming of shelters employing techniques of self-organization and of neighbourhoods where migrants and locals help each other.
We read studies and visit lighthouse projects, which successfully include refugees in various activities such as designing furniture and running a hotel.
The ROC framework starts to take shape.
Our concept gets lofty and complex, it needs a reality check. Luckily, a coworker from Paris introduces us to the director if an emergency shelter in Berlin Neukölln who is keen to try something new.
Two meetings later, the doors are open and we create a neat office on the ground floor.
We interview as many shelter inhabitants as we can: How do you experience this place? What are the problems, what are the potentials? How are you willing to contribute?
We identify and sort out the five major needs: Space for privacy and studying. Stable WIFI. Being allowed to cook instead of being catered. A space for fitness. Building DIY furniture.
We often struggle with high costs and bureaucracy dead ends, but learn a lot and develop creative detours.
Finding the team
August - November 2016
No single job posting published, yet the team grows thanks to our network. Every new member changes the project: We find designers, architects, economists, who each and individually open up new possibilities.
The team works agile, decentralized and is build completely on intrinsic motivation: That’s sometimes complicated, but always productive. We set up the much-desired learning space in the 4th floor and the concept for the total redesign of that place is ready.
Adapting once more
We start the new year with plenty of visions and energy, but are surpassed by reality: No one realy is using the learning space, and cooperation with the inhabitants isn’t going smoothly.
Again we rethink and adapt, now focussing more on inclusion and relation, giving more space to participate instead of doing everything ourselves. Sounds easy, but turns out to be a daily challenge.
How about merging all ideas, processes and energies into one big event and really get things going? We decide to host a so-called building festival, and invite the shelter organizing team, inhabitants, friends and partners to erect the “village of opportunities” in one single action week.
And it works! It’s great fun and a great success: Nine rooms according to the residents' needs are built and, more importantly, locals and newcomers met, worked together, had fun and appreciated one another. Superhappy and free hugs for all!
May - November 2017
We miss the formal “Brandschutzgutachten” (fire safety certificate) for the floor and its new rooms. Thinking this can only take 2 or 3 weeks maximum, it becomes an endless process of unclear responsibilities, bureaucracy and frustration.
By autumn it gets clear, that the whole shelter will be closed down - now, no one wants to invest in the extra costs and remodeling it would need to reopen. From an absolute high down into the abyss of the project.
Enduring and resetting
Dec 17 - today
During the turn of the year, we transition the project into its 2nd chapter. Leaving the Berlin shelter as our prototype, we produce our 15min documentary film and our 100+ pages strong “toolkit” that offers all learnings, processes and outcomes of the process.
ROC 2.0 aims to become a stable social business with its new units maker force, campaigns & consulting and transition lab. The future belongs to those who invent it!