PUBLIC SPACES

The underground, the museum, the marketplace, the library, the hair salon, the unlit way to school, the park, the train station, the pub, the concert hall, the workplace, but also Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: people often move around in public spaces. How do they experience them? Is there a difference of how women perceive a space compared to men?

Excluding women from the public was and still is a crucial topic of their discrimination. Public spaces can also be places of violence against women. And the public discussion is a first step to change a situation. For women and men.

In the first project year, we could not visit the partner organisations and discover their (public) places. For this reason, we invited participants within and beyond our organisations to take a picture and / or write own thoughts, feelings, ideas, wishes, hopes, experiences with regard to public spaces. Women and men.

Find below the results. Some of the photos are also available on a padlet. It is an ‘open story’, we intend to explore more aspects of public spaces and to enlarge the gallery. Thank you very much to all contributors!

This photo was taken in my street. Someone sticked “dispaRUE”. It means “disappeared”, and the adjective is grammatically written for woman only (hello French grammar!) and there is also a wordplay because RUE means street. It made me reflect on the fact that whenever I look around in my neighborhood, I see mostly men, very few women. I would like to see more women in the streets of Marseille – France.

Berlin, meine Heimat ❤️ | Home zone Berlin Photo: Marlene Baumann

Die rote Nelke war Papas Lieblingsblume, einmal im Jahr bekommt er immer 3 Nelken an sein Grab gestellt, er ist leider sehr plötzlich schwer erkrankt und hat es nicht geschafft.
Meine Bilder zeigen vor allem den Raum Berlin-Wuhletal.
Photos of this row: Marlene Baumann
This is where the Community Education programme is based when not working from home 😉 – IRL
Water Canal – IRL
My little cottage garden. A place to meet my loved ones, a playground for children, an oasis of peace for us, parents. Apart from hydrangeas, roses, and azaleas, there are also mallow flowers – flowers that remind me of a carefree holiday with my grandparents in the country. It gives me an opportunity to relax.
Wrocław offers many interesting places to relax. Personally, I like and choose a special place for me, located in the city center. Often, together with my whole family, we visit the Dunikowski Boulevard, which is located on the Odra River near Ostrów Tumski. It offers a beautiful view of Ostrów, the Cathedrals and nearby monuments.
This place is important for me because I can do activities there which I love. Being on my own while cycling is my favorite thing.

Where I find peace: The old parish cemetery in Piaseczno, Warsaw – PL. This is an important place for me, because when visiting old, historic graves in this cemetery, I distance myself from the present. I look at photos of people who have passed away, I read names, often inscriptions carved on old stones, and I have a sense of the next generations, changes, and the life cycle. We are important to our relatives, but memory is fleeting. Let us live in such a way as to be needed!
This is a Roundabout of Women’s Rights in my town in Poland – a democratic state in Europe, where women are important, ambitious and causative. Last year, I suddenly felt that my freedom to decide for myself was being limited. I felt I have to take part in protests, so that my daughters have a chance to live in a world in which their lives, rights and freedom will not be limited. So that the story known from the book “The Handmaid’s Tale” does not turn out to be near the future. The name of the” Roundabout of Women’s Rights” is a symbol of protest and the voice of hundreds of women protesting in my city.
Alexanderplatz: many demonstrations took place there, meeting point for encounters, a people’s place
What makes me more fear? Cameras or men who could disturb me?
Love – what people need and are made of, brings beings together
The metro brings you to another place. But it can be a place of danger for women. The inner red lights may be switched on when entering a train.

As much as it’s a landmark, the Canebière in Marseille also represents a place where I walk very tense and uncomfortable, always being on the guard. This street in the center of Marseille is filled with people of all backgrounds and it can get very dangerous. I was once with my girlfriend kissing on this very spot when a woman started throwing stones at us, showing us the finger. Other times my colleagues got their phones stolen, we get catcalled on a regular basis and many times we are frightened to walk around here. Night time is a no man’s land especially for women, but daytime can be as frightening many times as well.
Sometimes we do teambuilding activities in this beautiful island in front of Marseille
Kienberg, Gärten der Welt, Berlin. Für mich ein Lieblingsbild, weil es das wiederspiegelt, was man dort empfindet. Ein Ort der Erholung am Rand bzw. in der Großstadt. Wenn man durch die Bezirke Marzahn und Hellerdorf läuft, ist ein ständiger Trubel und Verkehr, aber sobald man sich auf den Wegen rund um den Kienberg befindet, ist eine erholsame Ruhe und Entspannung zu spüren. Das Bild wurde vom Ahrensfelder Berg gemacht, welcher sich in der Nähe befindet. Das gesamte Gelände, der komplette Kienberg, sind frei zugänglich. Die Gärten der Welt sind zwar kostenpflichtig, aber auch ohne ein Besuch dort hat man ein sehr schönes weitläufiges Erholungsgebiet. Ich wohne in der Nähe und begebe mich gern und oft dorthin, um einfach mal runter zu kommen. Sebastian Keinert

This picture is taken in the north of Sweden, close to the mountain Kebnekaise. My role in this public space is to simply exist as a human, not necessarily as a woman. I can be myself, move and breathe and perceive life as I wish to. In a solitary space in nature like this one I’m not an object of someone else’s perception, I am just at peace with my surroundings.
I took this picture while I was driving alone in the South of France and I freely decided to stop for lunch, enjoying some sun in a little historical village called Les Mées. Travelling on my own makes me feel free, powerful and the master of my whole life.

Chrismas market in Tallinn, Estonia contrasting with “Oasis” (“Oase”) in Germany.
The Giraffe is the symbol for Non-violent Communication as it was developed by Marshall Rosenberg and his colleagues. This one and its child are often visited in the city center of Marseille. The small Giraffe is a box where people leave and take books.
A church might be a place to reflect and to get in touch with you, the question you have, the world and what is beyond our ‘rational’ thinking in a deep way. A church was/is also a place of claiming women’s inferiority and ‘capability’. This Notre Dame de la Garde church in Marseille is one of the very seldom ones in all over Europe in which a women is in the centre and which holds a baby, the symbol for natalité, for development, constructivity, future. Normally, all views are centred on a very interesting, but dead men on the cross. I feel here a belonging as a woman to the diverse community of believers.
Dark places are often “no gos” for women. A park in the evening, going home after midnight through empty streets, etc. Very often, the fear is accompanying me. Not my cup of tea.