tl;dr: Ulm’s city administration wants to take away the volunteers’ name and is kicking us out of the space at the Weinhof. Now we need your support in finding a new place for the Verschwörhaus.
Unfortunately, we as Verschwörhaus e.V., with our volunteers and friends, open meetings and activities, have to move out of the rooms at the Weinhof. About 9 months ago, the volunteers learned through the press that the city administration under Mayor Czisch was planning a “reorientation of the Verschwörhaus”.
Since then we have had many exhausting, nerve-racking and sadly also personally draining negotiations with the administration - unfortunately not on equal footing. All our efforts have now failed. The city administration showed no understanding for voluntary commitment and even registered “Verschwörhaus” as a trademark behind our backs - against which we filed an objection.
Now the city administration is also throwing us out of the space at the Weinhof. We decided not to sign the city’s “contract of use” at our last community meeting. The city wanted to force us to give up our name and our public channels (website, email address, etc.), and to give us hardly any room to shape the content of what happens under the label “Verschwörhaus” in future. We cannot agree to this.
We are now to move out of the building at the Weinhof and hand in the keys by July 13th at the latest.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in recent times, for example through the open letter at verschwoerhaus-bleibt.de. We were very happy about this, but unfortunately the city administration still stuck to their decision: they want the name or we have to leave. We unanimously decided not to give up the name.
Apart from the dispute about the name, we are also concerned about the increasing strain that has been put on us for a long time, because the city administration so obviously does not understand voluntary work. We are not city employees who can carry out work orders and attend obligatory appointments at any time in the morning on a normal working day. We do this in our spare time. With a lot of love, commitment, and flexibility, but still alongside school, training, studies, or our actual paid jobs.
There is additional organisational workload, due to the city administration’s processes. That is absolutely understandable, but we cannot completely compensate for it with voluntary work. That was originally the job of the head of the Stadtlabor. This has, however, changed with the intended reorientation: Now more and more demands were placed on us without taking our capacities into account. Also, substantively untenable accusations were formulated without even a glance. This has definitely not led to more open activities - but rather great frustration and demotivation among our volunteers.
For us, a difficult and debate-filled time is finally coming to an end. We are excited for a new beginning all the more: we are looking for new rooms for the Verschwörhaus where we can build again a colourful and homely space. Because we want to continue what we started more than six years ago: To be an open space where the volunteer Verschwörhaus-community can create an open programme for Ulm’s citizens and all other interested people.
In order to realise this, we are already looking for a new location for the Verschwörhaus and would be grateful for any tips and information about locations that are not listed on the usual real estate portals, for example. Sometimes really exciting possibilities can be found through personal contacts!
We are especially concerned about loosing as little as possible of the charm of the previous rooms at the Weinhof and are therefore particularly looking for an accessible location with inviting storefronts (or similar) in places that are not too far off - so that people who are passing by spontaneously stumble into the Verschwörhaus on open evenings. Besides the usual forms of support, we are also grateful for tips and hints at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For completeness, we would also like to refer to the corresponding press release of the city of Ulm (only available in German).Photo: Wiki-Stützpunkt Ulm 2016-07-06 - Brainstorming von Tobias "ToMar" Maier unter CC BY-SA 3.0