Participation of international citizens in the city community

Date: April / May 2018

Location: Ulm, Germany

Organization: Hahn 15 atelier

Commissioned by: City of Ulm, Coordination Center International City

Role: Principal curator, concept, space- and graphic design, fundraising, organization, realization, public relations

Project team: Petra Schmitt (co-principal curator, space design), Ferdinand Schwichtig (facilitator)

Artists: Carly Schmitt, Tommi Brem, Mark Klawikowski

Collaborators: Widerstand & Söhne (IT collective), Verschwörhaus (maker space)

Partners: City of Ulm, Coordination Center International City: Elis Schmeer (director), Alexandra Duckeck (facilitator); City of Ulm, Digital Agenda: Sabine Meigel (director)

Supporters: Federal state of Baden-Württemberg (Program “Nachbarschaftsgespräche” Allianz für Beteiligung e.V.)

The international Embassy is a community project and pop-up space in the form of a container architecture, commissioned by the city of Ulm. It fulfilled different goals at the same time. It was a means of research to help defining the city’s role in facilitating  the participation of citizens with international roots in the community and a platform for existing initiatives in this field. At  the same time, the international embassy was an artistic approach of community building and an offer for exchange and direct democracy for the public.

The International Embassy is a means of self study, a meeting point and a platform.


Citizen Dialogue, Internationalpersonal Ad: Carly Schmitt, Widerstand und Söhne

Carly Schmitt’s community art project Internationalpersonal Ad connected Ulm’s intentional communities with the broad public through exchanging offers and searchesranging form going for a walk to founding a dance group. With a mobile station, the artist and facilitators reached the different communities directly in their neighborhoods. The IT-collective Widerstand und Söhne created an online-pendant to Schmitt’s project. Every offer or search that arrived on paper appeared simultaneously online and vice versa. A moving arrow with LED text at the roof of the International Embassy indicated new contributions. The platform was anonymized and standardized with labels, which made it usable for the city as tool to analyze the demand for future initiatives to facilitate participation of international citizens.

The city and its partner organizations had already provided a variety of offers to facilitate participation of people with international roots in the city society. To make these existing  offers visible and accessible to a broader public, beyond specific communities, the city and its partner organizations inhabited the International Embassy for about one day each and introduced themselves in a creative way outside their common public outreach. Additional visibility was reached through a poster campaign that was inspired by anecdotes from the international life in Ulm.

Presentation platform and poster campaign