Name of the Practice
Social Integration, Cultural Integration
Country - Area/Region
Austria, 1100 Vienna
Level of the practice
Type of activity
Mixed (Public and Private)
Partnership implementing the initiative
Within Booth 129, several partners are concerned with this project: Caritas Wien as operator and employer of social workers, community workers working at Stand 129; the Municipality of Vienna as funding partner; funds provided by European Union; integration of social radio, participatory video and theatre; incremental quality assessment and monitoring; NGOs and associations who collaborate in diversity and anti-discrimination trainings (to establish new rules, routines and structures to improve the work practice); volunteers (incl. refugees) and internships.
Contents of the practice
Stand 129 is a former vegetable shop (40 sqm + 20 sqm for toilet and storage room) in a small building right in the centre of a market site in the 10th district (Favoriten), Vienna. The market is known for its cultural diversity and as such, Stand 129 provides room for events and workshops in a transparent and inviting (large windows) manner. Its effects can be identified at community level by providing low-threshold programme to the public (e.g. community events, cultural events e.g. small concerts, movie nights, choir, theatre workshops and cooking sessions) and to individuals (e.g. German language courses for refugees provided by volunteers). Staff and volunteers attend regularly trainings on diversity and awareness for discrimination. Stand 129 combines a mixed-domain approach to refugee integration by providing a cultural space to the neighbourhood and its diverse community. As such, refugees are part of the community and not a “special group” within the neighbourhood. The open space of Stand 129 is available to everyone interested in the programme and searching for opportunities to contribute to community live. in a unique manner: housing, labour market access and social integration. Stand 129 tries to break down the understanding of “high culture” in Vienna and Austria, in comparison to low-threshold alternative culture by various co-operations with the settled institutions like MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art). The target groups of Stand 129 are the local residents, migrants and refugees as well as the neighbourhood, to foster:
- Low-threshold confrontation with art (also so-called “high art”)
- Community integration for residents in a deprived neighbourhood
- Providing an open space for diverse users and diverse uses
- Offering alternative cultural and arts programmes
Evaluation of the practice
Results achieved are: space of encounter / social space within an under-serviced neighbourhood, open space for cultural and community events, German language classes for migrants and refugees, space for voluntary work, sustainable funding scheme and long duration of the project. Innovations can be found through a combination of social integration and cultural space in one physical space, the provision of a “space of encounter” for everyone who is open towards diversity, a strong institutional support by Caritas Wien and Municipality of Vienna, the successful acquisition and implementation of EU funds, a strong network consisting of individuals, volunteers, local institutions and public actors (e.g. district government). The activities in Stand 129 do not aim at “helping” or “supporting” people in need, but creates a space of encounter. The team working at Stand 129 is multi professional (no social workers but different artistic backgrounds) and speaks all languages of the most relevant migrant communities. The team/staff is in constant contact with the community in the larger neighbourhood and has the capacity and interest to build relationships to people outside their comfort zone. Personal relations are a very important aspect of the daily work at Stand 129. As such, continuity in the team is highly relevant. Challenges and constraints encountered are: financial constraints and dependency on additional funds (e.g. EU funding), and due to being located on a market site there are specific laws (e.g. market law) and regulations (e.g. opening time) which limit the practices (e.g. no events on Sundays). As long as the (market) administrations continuous to value our work, they will continue to apply exceptions for many practices - but this is based on good will.
Adaptability/Replicability to other contexts
In general, Stand 129 could be implemented easily in other Viennese districts (even on market sites) as well as other cities across the country. Many aspects of this practice can be adapted to other contexts. For instance, it is a place visited and used by refugees to improve language skills. In addition to that, they might meet their “teacher”/volunteers in a cooking session or an artistic project, were refugees are the experts and the “teacher”/volunteers learn from refugees. Stand 129 is a permanent institution, which can be visited regularly for different occasions.
In the context of Stand 129, up-scaling might be understood as setting up similar places in different neighbourhoods, not implementing larger and more centralized centres. There is probably a need to set up similar projects in many other disadvantaged neighbourhoods across Vienna (and in other Austrian and European cities). Nevertheless, building up a venue like Stand 129 is a long-term effort that requires resources (personnel & finances). A one-year perspective for similar practice cannot be considered as useful and impactful.
Related Web site(s) of the practice
Related reports and resources developed by the practice