"Challenging Democracy"

Touring exhibition on Helmut Schmidt

Wanderausstellung Helmut Schmidt "Challenging Democracy"
Wanderausstellung Helmut Schmidt "Challenging Democracy"

Open since yesterday: our new traveling exhibition on Helmut Schmidt! Initially shown in Berlin, it will then travel through Germany for the next few years.

What is it about?

For the Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung we were able to create a wonderfully colorful and interactive exhibition about Helmut Schmidt, the former German chancellor, his life, his importance for democracy – and the meaning of democracy in general.

In close cooperation with the foundation’s team of curators, we found a way to make democracy a vivid and entertaining experience. 

The exhibition is aimed to sensitize young people about democratic issues and processes. We all know the trends, the latest poll results. Reason enough to take a closer look at the state of our democracy. In addition, the Basic Law (Deutsches Grundgesetz) will be 75 years old this year, on May 23 to be precise. All of this makes this exhibition, which is actually about a historical figure, so relevant! 

Helmut Schmidt lived from 1918 to 2015. He lived through almost a century of contemporary history and helped shape politics for many years, not just in Germany. We wanted to give him a voice in the exhibition – and at the same time show many intersections with current debates.

Some insights:

To ensure an uncomplicated approach to the topics, we first developed a premise for all interactions:

Each exhibition area should allow two different approaches. Accordingly, each interaction presents two different topics that are also staged differently: One side of the interaction offers an intellectual approach. We call it the “Think!” side. This is where information is negotiated, reflection is stimulated and discussions are initiated. You can argue. Or debate. Helmut Schmidt would certainly have liked that!

The other page offers an emotional approach, the “Feel!” approach. Visitors can give free rein to their creativity and engage with the topic without any prior knowledge. We wanted to make democracy tangible here.

But what exactly does that look like?

Together with the foundation’s curators, our creative team developed four interactive stations to discuss the following questions:

  • How does democracy protect?
  • How sustainable is democracy?
  • How social is democracy? and
  • What threatens democracy?

But how do you bring the protective character of democracy into the room, for example?

The message behind the first question is “Democracy protects you”. A strong message that requires strong implementation. We thus have designed a “Democratic Hug”, the “Demo Hug”, a creature with fluffy arms and a sympathetic look. At this exhibit, visitors can literally throw themselves into the arms of democracy. Sometimes it helps to think metaphorically to achieve a good result. Democracy means security and protection. We can all benefit from it. And even if it sometimes seems threatened, it is worth defending and nurturing!

The exhibition can be seen at the Paul Löbe House in Berlin until May 16. More information can be found here

Afterwards, “Challenging Democracy” will be on show in Bonn, Leipzig and Rostock.


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