Photo by Constanze Flamme
Photo by Constanze Flamme

Anna-Dorothea Werner

Meet Thea, Project Officer for Tandem Europe.

Since I was a teenager I enjoyed travelling, engaging with people abroad and learning languages. I have been living, studying and working in different countries within Europe, Latin America, New Zealand and Australia. Ever since I thought about the ideal environment I would love to work in I dreamt of contributing to a more sustainable world through intercultural exchange, exploring alternative economic concepts and strengthening my commitment for the environment.

After a strongly research focussed approach at university I was looking forward to working in a hands-on organisation where I could support actual projects which tackle current challenges. MitOst – the organisation implementing the Tandem programme – enables participants from the Civic, Arts and Culture sector to co-develop and test alternatives, to change perspective, share visions in a more palpable way and raise awareness in so many creative, eye-opening ways. In this context I consider the Tandem programme a very powerful tool to connect people, offer a safe space to experiment and empower communities.

There are so many fascinating Tandem projects… One very touching experience was the Moving bars dance project in a Berlin youth prison. To experience a dance performance in this enclosed space and get to know details about the creative process as well as challenges involved was very moving. Another – totally different – Tandem project widened my horizon for the potential of gaming. The team around Eleusis Box organised a workshop to implement a game tool kit. In this setting young and old people of the local community in Elefsina came together, to co-create and discuss the meaning of (public) space in a playful yet meaningful way. Very inspiring!

It is very encouraging for me to meet so many committed Cultural Managers and Artists from all over Europe, and beyond. I admire their work, reflecting the challenges we face in Europe and its neighbourhood, and I’m very happy to support them as a member of the Tandem team.

“Culture without borders” means to me to acknowledge different cultural backgrounds as complementary, to take the time to explore them and overcome communication barriers in a creative way.

I believe that mutual understanding and trust are key values for collaborating on equal footing and daring to experiment with alternatives. Within my experience as a Project Officer for Tandem Europe I have experienced this and the importance of walking the talk.

Photo: Constanze Flamme