Culture Lab

June, 2020
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The Participatory
Action Research

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Sarah Bovelett

Berlin (Germany)

The Floating University* Berlin is a cultural organisation standing in a rainwater retention basin in Berlin. This fully functioning urban infrastructure was closed for over 80 years, allowing animals, plants and algae to take root in the grey water, creating a unique landscape: a man-made environment retaining polluted water, reclaimed by nature forming a natureculture (Donna Haraway, 2003) or third-landscape (Gilles Clément, 2003). Initiated by raumlaborberlin as a temporary inner-city laboratory for collective learning and transdisciplinary exchange, the site is now managed by an association - Floating e.V - to keep the basin open for citizens to meet, imagine and experiment. Floating e.V. has negotiated with the city of Berlin to keep the infrastructural site open for public programs. So far, we have been supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Berlin Senat Department for Culture and Europe. We are working with Berlin-based scientists, teachers, artists, urban practitioners, activists, as well as over 20 universities across Europe. We work with neighbours, surrounding allotment gardeners, local schoolchildren, and refugees from nearby shelters, enabling collaborative, non-disciplinary programs to embrace the world’s changing climate and navigate its entanglements.

*Floating University will no longer be called University as this is a regulatory offense.