4. Enter people’s natural habitats!
It is often the case that people who take part in Europe-related events are individuals who are already interested in the subject. But how can we reach those people who don’t think about Europe on a daily basis? One of the principles behind our work is to meet up with people in their everyday environments – and then adjust our event formats to fit those “natural habitats”.
Contact to local organisations and facilities
In order to achieve this goal, we contact local institutions, such as schools, senior citizen homes and youth centres, in advance. We then try to link our group discussions to pre-existing events or teaching programmes and, if possible, even use the on-site locations themselves. In other words, we meet up with people in their natural environments, which significantly reduces people’s reluctance to participate in our events. For example, we visited the meeting spaces of football fan initiatives and spoke to members about how their sport and their club relate to Europe. In Greifswald, we connected with a regular pub quiz taking place in a student club and were able to pose some Europe-related questions as part of that quiz. This allowed us to reach people in a playful way and prompt them to think about Europe without having to ask them to take time out of their everyday lives for us.
In pedestrian zones
We enjoyed similar successes with activities in pedestrian walkways. For example, we set up a photo booth in the old town in Greifswald and asked people to tell us their opinions on Europe. An astonishing number of passers-by interrupted their stroll to tell us what they thought about Europe. In Gelsenkirchen and Greifswald, we took to the streets with a camera and microphone to ask people about Europe. This allowed us to create videos in which citizens of all ages and backgrounds expressed their opinions on Europe.