Incom ist die Kommunikations-Plattform der weißensee kunsthochschule berlin

In seiner Funktionalität auf die Lehre in gestalterischen Studiengängen zugeschnitten... Schnittstelle für die moderne Lehre

Incom ist die Kommunikations-Plattform der weißensee kunsthochschule berlin mehr erfahren

work work work

Documentation of the concept, planning and execution of our sprechen über event on December 14, 2022 at Kunsthalle at Hamburger Platz.



For the majority of our lives, we all have to work. The way we work, just like the kind of work we do, plays a major role in our everyday lives and thus affects our well-being. But why do we talk about it so little?

In design studies, we learn how to shape the future. But what about our own future? Internships, entering the job market, self-employment? These are topics that unsettle many of us, which is why we urgently need to talk about them. The professional path we take has a big impact on our lives. Whether we choose to pursue our values, unfold creatively or seek security and stability – in the end, we're all in the same boat.

‘Work Work Work’ was a hands-on participatory format that participants could discover on their own. The gathering was planned without professional / external guest because we wanted to built a preserved space from students for student to share their experiences. With the help of a diverse set of questions on the topic of work, different perspectives were discussed, visualised and explored together.

In order to keep the participants engaged, these questions were spread across three different formats: A silent discussion, that enabled the participants to engage anonymously with pen on paper. A lottery pot filled with questions, which were intended to provoke discussion in conversation with another person. A set of poll questions on the wall that were to be answered using adhesive dots.

Concept & Research Questions

We created a silent and partly anonymous space where everyone could express themselves in the way they wanted. We intended to keep the participation barrier low and encourage the students to share their honest and unbiased perspectives.

In order to keep the atmosphere comfortable for everyone and ensure it was not a networking event but rather an honest discussion between colleagues, we decided against inviting external guests and ensured that only students were present at the event.

We decided to phrase our three research questions first and then develop our format in order to best find answers to them.

1. How do we want to work in our future and how does the reality of the job market differ from these ideals?

We wanted to ask the students about their vision for their work and working conditions in the future and to compare these ideals with the reality of our current job market. We think that it is very beneficial for young designers to dream about and discuss their ideal work scenario before entering the job market. This way, young designers will not just follow the conditions already laid out for them, but might feel more comfortable questioning the status quo and thus be able to evoke change on the market. Sharing the reality of work experiences they have already had enables them to assess whether they have been treated fairly so far and whether there may already be jobs that could match their own ideals.

2. Do we share a consensus about the future of our professions?

We wanted to find out whether the participants shared a consensus about the future of our professions, especially as they all shared a background in design but were coming from different disciplines. 

3. How can we find and preserve our motivation?

With all the gloomy changes in the world and the tightening job market, we wonder how to keep motivated. But even apart from that, the creative process can be very draining and marked by doubts. We wanted to find out, how and where other young designers find their motivation and how they manage to preserve it.

In order to answer our research questions, we started brainstorming on how to best investigate them. We collected a wide range of smaller questions that could collectively help us get an overview of the participants’ opinions. To keep the participants engaged, we decided to find different formats to ask these questions. This way we could keep the participation barrier low, as each student could engage in as many of the formats as they wanted to.

Format 1: Silent Discussion

A silent discussion to enable the participants to engage anonymously with pen on paper. There is one question per discussion sheet that has to be answered in silent and anonymous writing. Silent discussions allow participants to voice their opinions and experiences without being interrupted. They can react to other pieces of writing, make remarks or ask further questions.

Format 2: Question Lottery Pot

A lottery pot filled with questions, which were intended to provoke discussion in conversation with another person. We wrote a variety of questions on small pieces of paper, that could then be picked up by one participant to engage with another participant to discuss the topic. 

Format 3: Polls on the Wall

A set of poll questions on the wall that were to be answered using adhesive dots. For some of the questions we realised it would be great to be able to visualise the answers, so that the participants could get a sense of the average of opinions/experiences of the whole group as the evening progressed.


The event started at 18pm and was held at Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz. The space was transformed into an inviting and cosy space using atmospheric lighting. The three different formats were spread out across the venue in order to encourage movement from the participants.

Upon arrival, we greeted the participants with mulled wine and a short speech about how the formats worked. After that, we did as little intervention as possible by only assisting the participants at the different stations if they had any questions or were hesitant on how to engage.

For Format 1, the silent discussion, we rolled out long pieces of paper and taped it to the wall and floor. On top of each paper, we wrote one question, and laid out some pens for the participants to use. The four questions we selected to ask the participants were:

– What would change for you if money was no longer an issue?

– What does responsibility mean to you in the context of work?

– How do design studies prepare you for the working world?

– What motivates you in your daily work?

For Format 2, the lottery pot filled with questions, we placed a paper box on top of a table and highlighted it with some lights. The pot was filled with small pieces of paper that had questions regarding money, working conditions, work-life-balance, career start, internship conditions, work structure, motivation, etc. written on them. 

For Format 3, we taped small posters with poll questions on a wall. Next to each poster we provided adhesive dots that the participants could use to answer to the poll. We purposely picked questions that could best be answered in numbers or on a scale:

– How much money do you need per month?

– How many hours per week do you want to work?

– How often do you work on the weekends?

– What internship salary do you think is appropriate?

– How much money did you earn at your last internship?

– Would you rather be a freelancer or employed?

– Does our work have to be consistent with our values?

Evaluation and Conclusion

Overall, we received very positive feedback from the participants. The event was well attended and the participants seemed to enjoy themselves. All three formats generally worked well and the students participated with no or very little further explanation.

Format 1, the silent discussion, first caused some hesitation with the participants. A big piece of white paper can be quite scary to make a start, so the first written statements took a bit of time. Once a few participants had written their answers down, other participants became more engaged as well. Maybe it would have been better to have the paper not on the ground but rather on the wall, as kneeling down to write something could have been an added obstacle for some students. Further we noticed that there was not much of a discussion taking place, but rather a collection of opinions.

Format 2, the lottery pot, worked well and we could listen to a lot of very interesting and elaborate discussions on the topic of work. However, as there was no time limit or any other incentive to move on to another question, we could tell that a lot of participants got stuck with one topic for too long or sometimes got distracted chatting about something else.

Format 3, the polls on the wall, seemed to be the favourite format. Perhaps because it was very easily accessible and resulted in an interesting visualisation of the participant’s opinions.

Relating the results of the formats back to our research questions:

1: We read and heard some rather shocking opinions on the current job market and working conditions. Participants seemed to have had a lot of unpaid internships, long working hours and lots of insecurities regarding their future. In terms of how they wanted to work in the future, there were lots of different ideas. Whether freelance or self-employed, most participants would prefer to work less than 40 hours a week. Flexibility seemed to be very important, as well as some form of security. Some participants were talking about hybrid situations of part-time employment and part-time freelance work.

2: The future of our profession seems to be in question. We heard several participants discuss their job prospects and it seemed as most were looking to build up a wider skill set in order to have more opportunities. One consensus, however, was that our jobs need to align with our values – which obviously makes the situation of finding suitable work even harder.

3: Regarding motivation, a lot of the participants claimed they find their motivation through collaboration with others as well as their curiosity. Money was also named as a motivating factor, however, it seemed to play a secondary role. Preservation of motivation was linked to the joy of innovation, improvement and being creative. Social impact was repeatedly named as a huge motivation factor.

If we were to plan another event, there definitely is some things we would do differently. There is, as mentioned above, some improvements that could be made to ensure better engagement with the formats. We also believe that we could have narrowed down the topics of our questions a bit more, in order to stay more focussed on certain aspects.

To conclude, once can say that a participatory event without external guests really allowed students to speak their mind freely and share their personal experiences. We would love to see more events in that same style, because we believe that besides professional exchange, it can also enhance strong bonds within the student body.



Art des Projekts

Studienarbeit im Masterstudium

Zugehöriger Workspace

SprechenÜber - sprechenueber - sprechen über - sprechen ueber


Wintersemester 2023 / 2024

zusätzliches Material