Warum mach ich das eigentlich? Oder: Ein Liebesbrief an unsere PartnerInnen

Warum mach ich das eigentlich? Oder: Ein Liebesbrief an unsere PartnerInnen

von Erika Büttner

stEFFIE ist eine große Luftblase die nur dazu dient, uns OrganisatorInnen und Beteiligten das Gefühl zu geben, irgendetwas halbwegs sinnvolles getan zu haben und dabei ‘cool’ zu sein. Menschen, die was für Flüchtlinge, Armutsbekämpfung, Missbrauchsopfer oder Tiermisshandlung tun, DIE tun was wirklich Relevantes.

Das ist zumindest manchmal mein Gefühl gewesen, wenn ich mich gefragt habe warum ich stEFFIE eigentlich mache. Macht das wirklich Sinn oder mach ich das alles nur aus purem Egoismus? Oft genug hab ich mir die Frage gestellt, und wenn ich wirklich, wirklich ehrlich hingeschaut habe, war die Antwort immer dieselbe: Ich will eigentlich niemandem helfen. Ich mach das nur für mich. Uff. Ganz schön bitter für jemanden, der eigentlich ein Helfersyndrom hat und seit Jahren ehrenamtlich mit anderen einen Verein leitet, der Kreatives und Soziales verbindet.

Und genau in diesem Moment der Selbstkasteiung fängt eine Schleife in meinem Kopf an.
Jedes Mal. Und die geht in etwa so:

Verdammt, warum mach ich stEFFIE eigentlich? Um die Bildungsbewegung voranzutreiben. Ernsthaft? Glaub ich echt, dass die gerade MICH braucht um vorangetrieben zu werden? Und woher will ich wissen, dass die überhaupt vorangetrieben werden muss oder will? Das ist Blödsinn! Warum mach ich’s wirklich? Ok… Ich mach stEFFIE nur für mich. Warum?

Weil ich in den letzten Jahren durch viele Zufälle so viele Menschen kennengelernt habe, die Großartiges im Bildungsbereich bewegen und ich einfach will, dass sie gesehen werden.
Weil ich gerne unter diesen Leuten bin, die was bewegen, was verändern, anders sind. Die Dinge hinterfragen und neu denken, ehrlich hinschauen.
Weil ich mich unter diesen Leuten zu Hause fühle.
Weil ich gerne noch mehr solche Leute kennenlernen würde.
Weil ich am Liebsten bei all ihren Projekten mitarbeiten würde, aber das nicht geht und deshalb will ich sie zumindest einmal im Jahr gesammelt um mich haben und mit ihnen feiern.
Weil sie mich inspirieren und motivieren, weiter zu machen.
Weil ich schon vor mir sehe, wie sie sich untereinander vernetzen und sich bereichern und das macht mir Spaß!
Weil ich durch unser Projekt und die Projekte unserer PartnerInnen zeigen will, dass alles möglich ist. Dass das Argument ‘Aber das geht doch nicht!’ vollkommener Schwachsinn ist.
Weil ich am Liebsten will, dass alle, alle angesteckt werden von dieser Zuversicht und diesem Engagement.
Weil ich mich selbst als Projektentwicklerin, Forscherin und Erfindern sehe und was gibt es da Spannenderes als ein Haufen Menschen mit ähnlichen Eigenschaften aber komplett anderen Erfahrungen und Hintergründen zu treffen und von und mit ihnen zu lernen.

Ich mache das also nur für mich? Jep. Ich mach mir die Welt, widewide wie sie mir gefällt. Und das ist der allerbeste Anfang. Denn wenn es mich inspiriert, mir gut tut, mich glücklich macht und mir wertvolle Lernerfahrungen gibt, ist die Chance sehr hoch, dass es auch anderen Raum dafür gibt. Ahh was für eine Erleichterung. Indem ich also auf mich achte, gebe ich anderen Raum, auch auf sich zu achten. Ein (gesunder) Egoismus kann also gleichzeitig auch ein (gesunder) Altruismus sein? Thema Egoismus – vorläufig geklärt.

Es gibt Menschen, die arbeiten an der Basis und betreiben unglaubliche Hilfsprojekte, um unsere Missstände aufzufangen. Unsere Aufgabe ist glaube ich eine andere. Eine ergänzende. Unsere ist es, in die Zukunft zu blicken und Möglichkeiten zu zeigen. Thema Sinn – vorläufig geklärt.

Und warum muss man dabei ‘cool’ sein wollen?
Weil man’s kann. Bäm. 😀

stEFFIE meets Impact HUB Vienna

stEFFIE meets Impact HUB Vienna

by Ana Bernardes

The location for stEFFIE 2015 is set! From 25th to 27th September we will bring the stEFFIE spirit to the Impact Hub Vienna. Although there is hardly any need for presentation, a quick overview about our location partners:

What is the Impact Hub Vienna?

Impact Hub Vienna is a creative centre and work space. In 2010 it was one of the first co-working spaces in Vienna.

Today it is one of the largest networks for social entrepreneurs, freelancers and creatives in Austria as well as a networking platform for diverse activists and professionals. The international Impact Hub community consists of 10.000 members at 65 locations in 5 continents.

How will stEFFIE look like in the Impact Hub Vienna?

stEFFIE will make good use of the multifunctional event- and meeting rooms that the Impact Hub Vienna has in its 1200m2. The program will be filled with a combination of co-creation events, workshops, experiments, dialogues and individual coaching, as well as the evening networking and discussion events.

Our partners are working with us to prepare the second experimental fun festival for innovative education and we will tell you all about it very soon. If you want to support us, don’t forget you can already get your Seed Ticket!

Where is the Impact Hub Vienna?

Lindengasse 56, 1070 Vienna (they invite you to pass by and get more info or try it out with the free day pass).

How I got to interview some Austrian celebrities

How I got to interview some Austrian celebrities

The idea hit us like a bullet on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Ok, it was more like a drunken paper plane hovering above our heads, as we were all having a break from brainstorming, talking, thinking…arguing. Sitting on the floor, gazing at the ceiling, I mentioned

“So I would really, really enjoy being responsible for ONE thing at stEFFIE!”

The other girls looked at me, obviously waiting for the rest of my ‘proposal’. But frankly I didn’t have any clue on how I could contribute more to the festival, while also doing what I like. Some ideas started racing through my head at once and I finally squeezed out the ‘ONE thing’.

“Let us make some videos! Something that would grab the attention, spread the world and just be awesome.” The girls nodded and started considering it.

“Hmm…You know what would be really cool?” asked Erika in her usual enthusiastic fashion. “We could do some interviews, ask people about education and learning, then post it on social media.”

I followed her line of thought and added “Yes, extra famous people! We could also give them challenges and make it super viral!” The others started smiling.

“But not like Madonna’s tequila challenge!” added Erika and we burst into laughter.

The spirits were high and I felt confident with our excitement; we were actually going to do it. Then and there. Well, almost – it took us about one busy month from the initial idea to the first interview, time in which we figured out the theme of the interview, the questions, the “challenge” and of course put together, or better said, threw up a list of all the VIPs in Austria (and not only).

The first replies

We started yelling, not minding if they would even listen. There were names of people in politics, education, creative industry or media and they all received our email. After more than 100 emails and some hours of refreshing the email page, we got our first response. And I was happy as a child, because it was from a very special person: Prof. Heinz Oberhummer from Science Busters.

I didn’t really have high hopes and wasn’t expecting anyone to write back, given the lack of time people have these days, but in that moment I regained my confidence. As you might have thought, it wasn’t an actual commitment to the interview but a very polite way of meeting me halfway. His email was friendly and briefly explained that he would be more than happy to do the interview at a later date because he is busy with writing the last drafts of his book “H. Oberhummer, M.Puntigam & W. Gruber: Das Universum ist eine Scheißgegend” (it will be published at the end of September).

After this first email, more followed – most of them apologetically refusing but some of them already serving me some suggestions for dates and meeting places. Although our intention was to receive as many responses as possible, I was very surprised every single time I got one.

The first interviews

When the time of the first interview came, I didn’t know what to expect and felt a little tense and agitated. This was never on my CV after all, but how hard could it be? Fixing my gear, getting the questions ready, checking my gear, reading the questions again, thinking about small talk, filming the flowers on the table, moving chairs, checking the light. Meeting Mag. Christoph Chorherr in the city hall and asking him about education was now my Nr. 1 mission and I was about to execute it flawlessly. We nailed the interview in only 10 minutes. The challenge and the “remuneration” chocolate set a big smile on the politician’s face, and we ended our conversation in a lot of gratefulness from my part.

It was going good and I was looking forward to the next one: Stuart Freeman from FM4. Oh what a lovely man and what a nice interview!

He arrived at my place – I couldn’t come up with anything better at that time – and greeted me causally with “Andra! What a pretty name, is it Romanian?” “As a matter of fact it is…” wondering how he came up with the origin so fast, but didn’t get to ask, “I have a big favor, Andra!  Can I bring my dog up, she’s sitting in the car all by herself and it’s so hot?” He added smiling and pointed at the slightly opened door. “Oh Amy? Of course, bring her up, she must be burning in the car!” I said, being completely thrilled that I not only get to meet Stuart but one of his dogs as well. Amy is the best-behaved golden retriever I have ever had the pleasure to meet – she laid satisfied on the floor just rolling her eyes from Stuart to me and back, while the conversation between the two of us was flowing with remarkable ease. After the interview and a cup of coffee, we resumed our gossip on current issues and examined the differences between Austrian and Romanian weddings.

We were having a good time and at the end, I was happy to offer him a glimpse into Romanian cuisine. I got the zakuska from my mom one day before.

I would tell how the interviews with Mr. Cornelius Obonya or with Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen went, but that’s another story and I’m sure you’re now more interesed in the actual interviews. So stay tunned, they should be out pretty soon!

Eine Frage des Wertes

Eine Frage des Wertes

Photo by Got Credit.

Anfang April in einem Haus am Rande von Wien. Das stEFFIE Team sitzt zusammen und diskutiert ein altbekanntes Reizthema: Geld. Im Raum steht die Frage: „Sollen wir unsere Festival-Partner für ihre Workshops bezahlen oder sollen sie uns für die Organisation des Festivals Geld geben?“
Keine einfache Frage, denn schließlich erbringen sowohl unsere Partner als auch wir als Team Leistungen, die für das Gegenüber einen signifikanten Wert haben. Doch plötzlich, eine Idee:
„Schreiben wir doch einfach mal alles auf, was wir den Partnern geben und was sie uns geben. Dann können wir für alles einen Geldwert festlegen und eine Gegenrechnung machen.“

Die Lösung des Problems scheint in Griffweite. Wir machen uns an die Arbeit:
„Dinge die wir unseren Partnern geben: Einen Raum für ihren Workshop. Interessierte TeilnehmerInnen. Publicity durch unsere Werbung. Dinge die wir von unseren Partnern bekommen: Ihre Arbeitszeit. Den Workshop Inhalt. Ihre Erfahrung.“
„Wobei, Moment. Die Workshops sind ja nicht vordergründig für uns als Team, sondern für die Menschen, die zum Festival kommen. Wir müssen auch die TeilnehmerInnen in das Modell integrieren.“
„Stimmt. Aber dann sollten wir auch die SponsorInnen und Volunteers dazu tun.“
„Ja, aber dann geht die Rechnung doch nie auf. Die Volunteers geben uns total viel ihrer Zeit und Fähigkeiten, aber was geben wir ihnen zurück?“
„Die machen das aus Freude an der Sache und weil sie finden, dass stEFFIE ein sinnvolles Projekt ist.“
„Ja, aber wie willst du Sinn mit einem Geldwert beziffern?“

Wir müssen einsehen: Das Modell mit der Gegenrechnung ist auch keine Lösung für unser Problem. Gescheitert? Nicht unbedingt. Denn die Aufzählungen von Dingen die Menschen einander geben, lassen uns erkennen, was für ein immenser Austausch bei stEFFIE stattfindet.
Auf einmal wird auch klar, warum bei manchen Formen von Austausch Geld im Spiel ist und bei anderen nicht. Wir alle geben das, was uns aufgrund unserer Ressourcen und Fähigkeiten zur Verfügung steht und was wir für angemessen halten.
Das heißt auch, dass wir beim Thema Bildung alle etwas beizutragen haben und von allen etwas lernen können. All diese Beiträge haben einen Wert und bewusst zu sehen, wer welchen Beitrag leistet, macht Wertschätzung erst möglich. Wertschätzung für uns selbst und Wertschätzung für unsere Mitmenschen.

In diesem Sinne gibt es eine Vielzahl an Möglichkeiten ein Teil von stEFFIE zu werden:

  • Bist du Teil eines Projektes, das sich für die Zukunft des Lernens einsetzt und hättest gerne Austausch mit Interessierten? Dann nimm mit uns Kontakt auf und wir loten gemeinsam die Bedingungen für eine Kooperation aus.
  • Dir liegt dir unser Thema am Herzen, aber du hast nicht wirklich Zeit dich in die Vorbereitung des Festivals zu involvieren, würdest uns aber finanziell unterstützen? Dann hol dir ein SUPER SEED TICKET und / oder unterstütze uns mit einer Spende.
  • Findest du stEFFIE spannend und möchtest auf jeden Fall dabei sein, hast aber nicht das nötige Kleingeld, jedoch Zeit und Muße mitanzupacken? Dann werde Teil des stEFFIE Teamsoder hilf uns während dem Festival als Volunteer.
  • Möchtest du den Wandel im Bildungsverständnis vorantreiben und uns helfen mehr Menschen zu erreichen? Dann erzähle anderen Menschen von stEFFIE und verbreite die frohe Kunde auf Facebook, Twitter, Youtube oder anderen Medien deiner Wahl.
  • Du möchtest auf eine andere Art und Weise Teil von stEFFIE werden, weißt aber noch nicht wie? Dann schreib uns, wir möchten, dass auch du mit deinen Fähigkeiten ein Teil von stEFFIE werden kannst!
Learning curated by… DORIS NEUBAUER

Learning curated by… DORIS NEUBAUER

I see myself as a constant learner and explorer. Not only physically due to my itchy feet but also mentally. Coming from the field of marketing and communications, I live the dream of so many and work as a freelance journalist from wherever I am at. Like all dreams, it’s different in reality, but I still would chose it again and again.
You can take a look at my work at www.dorisneubauer.com

Doris Neubauer accepted our challenge and is our first invited curator sharing some tips for learning. She was also part of the group of volunteers who helped to bring stEFFIE to life in 2014. Here are her tips:

VIPASSANA „It’s the „art of living“ … and I am still a kindergarten kid. It’s the technique Buddha handed down to us to reach enlightenment. Not a religion, more a philosophy put into practice. I am coming back to it every time and hope to maintain it once for good.“

LAISING „Great approach to re-unite and remind us about the natural way of learning.“

TRAVEL „Travel and move as much as you can!“

Thank you Doris!


Be a LEARNING curator! is developed by stEFFIE and allows everyone to share learning tips with the community, creating a database of inspiring possibilities. LEARNING curated by you! 

Share your own tips here.

OUT NOW: unsere brandneuen ‘SEED TICKETS’

OUT NOW: unsere brandneuen ‘SEED TICKETS’

Für alle die schon wissen, dass sie auf JEDEN FALL zum stEFFIE Festival 2015 kommen wollen, gibt es jetzt die SEED TICKETS. Ihr sichert euch damit nicht nur bereits jetzt euren Festival Pass, sondern tragt auch ganz maßgeblich dazu bei, dass sich das inspirierende Potenzial von stEFFIE auch 2015 wieder voll entfalten kann!

Hier gehts zu den SEED TICKETS:

New faces in the stEFFIE team

New faces in the stEFFIE team

We’re so happy to see the stEFFIE team growing!

Lara and Matthias joined us and will be helping out in the organisation of stEFFIE 2015. After we found out that we share some passions, it was quite easy to understand how we could work together.

If you want to know how to join us and in which areas we need support, contact us


Thank you Jasmin for the nice photos!

Coffee chat with Raphael Riedler – Innovations in the classroom

Coffee chat with Raphael Riedler – Innovations in the classroom

Raphael Riedler is a fellow from Teach for Austria since 2013, a member of talkin’ and was one of stEFFIE workshop givers in 2014. For the last 2 years he has been teaching German, English, Physics, Computer Science and Geography in a school in Vienna. I sat down for a coffee chat with him and asked about his experience as a teacher.

It became clear that this is a two-ways learning path, where he has been learning from his colleagues, the pupils and the whole experience, and giving them new inputs in return, which would not usually reach a school setting.

When I started my conversation with Raphael, I was expecting it to be about teaching methods. I got to realise that the big difference people like Raphael are bringing to their classrooms can be much broader than that. It’s about understanding what a child needs and focusing on creating a frame where to grow as a person.

Some examples got me to understand this.

Rituals in the classroom

One of the innovations Raphael was very excited about was almost as simple as saying hello. Something he translated for me as “the sit down game”. What is it? Nothing more than a ritual to begin the class where pupils are asked a question, and are allowed to sit down as soon as they give a right answer. It may go from reviewing key subjects to giving an opinion about a workshop or a day trip, so sometimes all it takes is giving an answer, because there’s no right and wrong.

If it’s true that this is a great way to improve retention of the content, it goes beyond being just one more activity in the classroom when pupils start asking for it, and seeing it as a ritual to start the lesson. In a playful way, these children know what they should be expecting when the class begins. Knowing what to expect is one way to feel confident and competent about the tasks we face, and this is the mindset given to these children from the first minute of each lesson.

Let’s face it: even if we tend to forget how much our lives are led by routines, the truth is that this is a way to save our mental resources for a more efficient usage. Then, why not giving this as a present to pupils?

Learning to improvise

Given his personal experience and interests, Raphael offered the school to include Impro Theatre in their activities. He has been working with groups of around 15 children who voluntarily join this group. There are no marks and no pressure about what should happen on stage. Wikipedia gave me an insight about the Fundamental Rules of Improv:

  1. Listen: easier said than done, and that’s exactly the point
  2. Agreement: say yes and add something, don’t reject ideas
  3. Team Work: have a group mind, think of others
  4. Don’t block: stealing jokes / not listening
  5. Relationship: focus on connection between characters, not just subject of scene
  6. Initiation: who, what, when to set the scene
  7. Point of View, opinion and and Intention: have one, these help express and build your character
  8. Be in Character: maintain character throughout these scene
  9. Don’t Ask Questions: too many questions can make your partner do all the work
  10. Make Active Choices: Do something. Don’t be talking heads

Personally, I think this list would fit in any class on “how to live in society”. But even if that’s not the purpose, it surely made Raphael proud when 3 girls who have been in this group told him that they feel more self-confident and even less embarrassed to speak in classes.

As a closing question I asked Raphael what had surprised him in this experience as a teacher. “How clear and how consequent in setting up a frame for the pupils we have to be.” This sounds like a great learning point for Raphael and for everyone who is thinking about what to do to promote learning and development.

Learning about education or educating for learning?

Learning about education or educating for learning?

When we first had the idea of organizing stEFFIE, we thought of many possibilities which never saw the light of day. Anyone who has started a project knows that a straight line is far from representing its development. But we knew one thing: we wanted to organize an event about innovative education.

What we didn’t realize at first was how much we would get pressured by the meaning of words. Being a team which includes people from different nationalities, works in Vienna and uses English in most of the internal communication, it’s not a surprise that we would sometimes be lost in translation. Sometimes time consuming, I must say, but an enriching process which frequently makes us question what words mean to each one of us.

Some weeks after we started, we had a name: stEFFIE. The Experimental Fun Festival for Innovative Education

We are passionate about learning and it didn’t cross our minds that Education could be “a bad word”. How bad can the connotation of such word be, when it’s the basis of everything we know?

Looking at the “meaning” of Education in Google, I got these results:

  • the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.
  • an enlightening experience.

Other dictionaries say it’s “the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process”. It’s mostly about formal learning, but it doesn’t sound bad at all.

However, we understand now that the change of paradigm we’re aiming to support starts with the change in what this word means. We’re talking about the excitement of learning something new, about the pleasure we get from developing ourselves and others. We’re talking about creation, sharing, understanding what is around us, and about a senseful integration of tradition and innovation.

We’re not just talking about schooling or formal education. stEFFIE is a platform for innovation in these traditional settings, but also for projects that go beyond a classroom. It’s for projects that remind us of the importance of learning in and outside of the system.

Based on a not so new theory (John Dewey, 1916) which says education is “a process of living and not a preparation for future living”, Mark K. Smith describes this education as:

  • Deliberate and hopeful. It is learning we set out to make happen in the belief that people can ‘be more’;
  • Informed, respectful and wise. A process of inviting truth and possibility.
  • Grounded in a desire that at all may flourish and share in life. It is a cooperative and inclusive activity that looks to help people to live their lives as well as they can.”

I believe stEFFIE is a festival for such Education!

Hello stEFFIE 2015!

Hello stEFFIE 2015!

It feels like yesterday, but since September 2014 already more than 6 months have passed and things are getting busy in the preparation of stEFFIE festival 2015, in September!! Let me go through what has been happening. Let’s start with our team.

Remember the stEFFIE team? Well, it’s true that for some team members who are abroad now, or have to focus in their new jobs or in the Uni, time became too short. But new members joined the team to keep the excitement rolling. We are currently a seven people team, and a couple more supporters, and we’re looking forward to get new members who join us.

Monday is such a good day to create stEFFIE. Last year it was our special day of co-creation and this year we’re going back to it. People who want to join, get to know what’s happening and be part of it, just have to write us and we’ll tell them where the meeting will take place. It’s every 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month from 6:30pm to 8pm.

In the last months we already defined the topic for this year, we set cooperations and partnerships and we set a basic structure for the festival.

Although you’re dying to know, hang in there. I’ll tell you more about it very soon!