ufaFabrik works for the neighbourhood

Sigrid Niemer

When you look at the ufaFabrik you could say it is like a little island or a village in a big city. From the beginning it was very important for us to deal with the neighbourhood because we are not in the isolated green forest but we are in the middle of the city.

And you could also say we are a place where the neighbours come and go. We have the shop in the entrance. They can buy their daily bread there or a milk or whatever. We have guesthouse if the flat is too small to host their guests. We have a theatre nearby for them. We have the neighbourhood centre. So there is a lot of activities where people can come and go.

And we live by these activities to be honest. And because we are so gentle people and because we say we are quite normal people we are just do maybe some things slightly different that others, people like us.

And they come here. We have children’s activities. When you deal with children you are either a very good person or a very bad person. So people decided we are nice people because we do children circus classes, we have a farm for children, we do yoga classes for children and so the children bring the parents indeed.

I would say that within the neighbourhood we have a very good relationship. And if I say neighbourhood you could say it is in the southern part of Berlin. So all in all this would include maybe 1 million inhabitants that are so close in our surrounding that they come here from time to time. All in all we could say we have about 200 000 visitors per year.

So the people that come here and enjoy their time of course they bring it back to the quarter. So for instance we were very proud when we can read in the newspaper a flat to rent close to the ufaFabrik. So that means, okay people like to live aside of us.

And we do exhibitions of paintings or photographs. People come into our café and they ask, can we put here our drawings or our paintings? And then we invite them to do so. And so they go home. They are encouraged and they paint. And a lot of things happen like that. And there are some more little galleries, some shops slowly the neighbourhood discovers them. They can also do activities in this area that is also very famous and legendary The Templehof. And it grows slowly.

We do not see ufaFabrik as missionaries. For us the exchange is very important. That means I show you what I do and you show me what you do. And maybe we can learn from each other. And this we did since beginning until today. This we do with our neighbours, with our culture centres. Of course a lot with artists that come here, stay for a while and then go to other places. And we do it between each other.

So you know my first teacher of playing guitar lives in ufaFabrik. I train karate and my teacher lives here and I showed them other stuff to do. So you know for us life means exchange. And especially when you work in arts and culture and artists are always inspired by something and if you are completely isolated maybe for a while you have enough insight of yourself.

But then you need some inspirations from the outside and new activities or new situations. And this is where the ufa is an ideal place I would say. So I think in a society you need both. You need the nomads the people that come and go like artists group. And you need the oasis where the people can go rest a little bit, stay a while and then go to other people. And that is what we do here to be an oasis. 

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