ufaFabrik vs Trans Europe Halles

Sigrid Niemer

So the ufaFabrik joined Trans Europe Halles network maybe 2 years after it was founded. And for us this was fascinating possibility. Imagine it was a time without computers. It was a time without mobile phones and communication was much more limited then today. So for us it was very exciting to understand that there was a centre in Amsterdam working on a similar level like us and another one in Brussels and in few other places. And for us it was a fantastic situation that we met people who really tried out. We were really pioneering in this style of culture centres. And the first meetings were quite exciting. We had to travel a lot and we were not used to fly all through the Europe. It was completely different times.

And it was very of high value that we could share our experiences. We had to convince part of society that we did a very relevant work and together we felt much stronger. The ufaFabrik took active role in the network in the nineties. We organized several festivals. We called them Trans Europe Festival. And we invited artist from the cities and the centres that were involved and even in that time that was not that normal that artists from Brussels would come to Berlin to perform or even from countries that were farer away. And imagine we had this situation in West Berlin surrounded by East German country so it meant a lot, the visa and all the stuff.

 For some years the network stayed quite small. It was between 10 to 15 to 20 centres. Of course some disappeared and others came up. And there was no income the network had. So it was all done by the resources of the centres. We paid our travel costs. We tried to find money for meetings. We had coordination but it was completely voluntary.

And only within the last years we developed how this organization Trans Europe Halles is today. And I think that it is great what it come out of it. But it is not an institution. It is a network it has always to stay alive and grow in itself but there is no guarantee that it will last forever. The idea to be ambitious and put own effort in it is necessary for the network of this kind, I would say.

I have been in board for several years and after this I tried several working groups to bring in the ideas we create here in ufaFabrik and bring in the ufaFabrik as the best practice and example how you can do it. What I never would like to do is to say you have to do the same like we do here in the ufaFabrik because every centre is unique. Every surrounding is unique, also the people are unique, the political situation. You cannot directly copy something but you can grab ideas from here and there. And that is also what I do when I come to a meeting and I meet all the people from exciting places and feel the energy. I get very many good and creative ideas.

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