Honorary Hotel Group photo
Honorary Hotel - building communities, one step at a time

Build Your Community!

The Honorary Hotel – a mobile toolkit for newcomers project by Tandem Europe participants Inga Gerner Nielsen (Performance- & Film Production in Vendyssel - Tversted, Denmark) and Ariane Jedlitschka (Helden wider Willen e.V. - Leipzig, Germany) is about social inclusion. They facilitate encounters between the local cultural community, residents of the region and newcomers. Inspired by Tandem methods and tools they created a new method that helps build communities. Watch the following video to learn about their method, Circle of Trust.

Tandem Methods-in-Action

The Honorary Hotel is a house located in Leipzig in Germany where local artists open their doors to facilitate encounters between the local cultural community, residents of the region and newcomers. The Circle of Trust is a method Ariane and Inga developed to help foster meetings and relationships between the many different people who surround the Honorary Hotel.

This method is an answer to the question, How to involve people? First and foremost, one has to reach out to them. This is achieved by activating personal connections. Invite friends, neighbours, colleagues, partners, guest artists, people connected to newcomers and their contacts to come and join activities!

Create a comforting space, where people may feel like spending quality time. Plan activities that foster different levels of engagement, so various kinds of commitment are available to visitors. The Honorary Hotel organised a 1 to 1 performance for deep and meaningful engagement between two participants at a time. To reach a to reach a larger audience, not just those who would normally attend a cultural event like a performance, they organised other activities which allow for a less intense experience but a more social one, like urban gardening and communal cooking activities. Radio and cinema workshops were also available for those interested in media production. Participants then made interviews with local institutions which is great way of introducing them to newcomers and opens a path of contact.

Consistency has a vital role when building communities. How do you keep people engaged? By keeping in contact! Be persistent and offer new opportunities to meet. Have a coffee or propose joining regular activities. Ask what they would like to do and tailor your offers to their wishes. All these steps together lead to involved and engaged communities!

Circle of Trust

Tips & Tricks from Ariane and Inga
  • Language differences are not a barrier. There is always a friend or an acquaintance around that can translate!
  • Invite your own contacts and ask them to bring one or more people with them, so that the circle can extend. This direct or indirect link between these people is a good start to build a trustful relationship.
  • Be flexible! Take into consideration the different realities of the newcomers and their wishes. Understand them and do not feel frustrated if it does not match your prior expectations.
  • Do away with hierarchies! Proceeding in a non-hierarchical way will allow the budding relationship to become a trustful one!
  • Have a critical friend! It is important to have an ongoing critical dialogue with people about your different initiatives, to keep your self-critical perspectives from blocking you in taking action.

How would you use the Circle of Trust? If you were inspired to create your own method through Tandem Tools and Methods, do let us know!