Josefines volunteering experience in Kulturlabor Trial&Error

On 10th of December our team got +1 member for a couple of weeks. Her name is Josefine and she is a lovely girl who came from Sweden to get some practical experience related to her studies. Josefine studies ”Intercultural Entrepreneurship” which mainly is focusing on intercultural communication as well as social entrepreneurship (social change/innovations and sustainable development).

"Due to my interest in minimalistic living, creativity (I write a lot), sharing initiatives and organisations that works with environmental awareness, sustainability and waste minimizing, I think Trial&Error is a fantastic initiative and something I want to contribute to in whatever way that is possible. With that being said, I am still very new into all this so I am hoping to learn from all of you."  – Josefine


She spent with us a couple of weeks and she had an opportunity to see all the sides and aspects of our job. Josefine invested all her energy and knowledge to help us in all activities, we really appreciate it! Just before Christmas she left Berlin, however, she's left not only good memories of our cooperation but also a very nice letter about Trial&Error.

We are glad to share it with you! 

General impression of Trial&Error
There are only a few places that have captured my heart as much as this little office in the heart of Neukölln. I’m not sure what it is that makes Trial&Error so special, but the feeling of being a part of something bigger, as if they are changing the society bit for bit, little by little, is definitely there. Sustainability is wrapped up in every possible way inside the organisation. Everything from all the workshops they do in creative upcycling and the weekly swapshop where people can exchange clothes with each other, to the all the food they are saving from local food stores and bakeries in the neighborhood. Because the people of Trial&Error are more than just talking about the change they wish to see, but they are actually living it. They are colorful people, with different creative skills and big, warm hearts. Coming from totally different backgrounds; from graphic design, journalism, social work to economics; what is uniting them is the quest of doing something that feels truly important. So they ended up creating their own opportunities to do so.
If you ask me, only relying on politicians and institutions to fix the the problems that we see in society will not bring about the change we need to see. All planning meetings and policy making conferences where a new agenda is to be set, yet almost nothing changes when it comes to overconsumption, resource management and the footprint we are currently making on earth. How can we still argue that more political conferences would be the only right step to take to create a more sustainable future? At the same time, we tend to forget about what is already happening in our everyday lives and in our community. We forget about the people that already are examples of the change that we need to see. We forget about all the local initiatives that are already trying to be a driving force in society. So I believe, what we truly need more of are these creative people taking the leap forward; people that walk the talk.
The people at Trial&Error have shown me that it is possible to make a contribution to the world and I have come to realize that only by bringing awareness and planting seeds into people’s minds, big changes are already happening. I am grateful for being shown another way of life, where it is more about being authentic than just striving for pride. I believe what Trial&Error does is sustainability at its core. They inform you about waste reduction and give second thoughts on consumption culture whilst they also try to build a community that cares about these things. They help you to think about your everyday actions, to be aware of the footprint you are making and at the same time inspires you to be creative with the mess you already have done. You can see in their eyes that they do what they do because they care and for me, that is what real change is all about.


Tauschladen - a new way of thinking about sharing


If you were asking me a few weeks ago, I was completely mentally exhausted about what was going on in the world. I was (and I am still) worried about the clothing stores that week by week are filled up with clothes produced by someone maybe in Bangladesh, who barely get a wage to live on. These are tough questions that were keeping me awake during the nights. I wish that I could come up with solutions and do something about all of this, but I did not know how. I was stuck in a very black and white way of thinking, where I could not see any possible solutions to of the anxiety I felt at the time. But after spending these few weeks in Berlin together with the team at Trial&Error, I have come to change my mind completely.


“Tauschen macht glücklich” is the slogan of the Tauschladen, or Swapshop that Trial&Error has. The swapshop is constructed as any other clothing store, with clothes laying on the shelves and hanging in the fensters, yet the concept behind it is very different. Firstly, all the clothes in the swapshop is second hand clothes and secondly, they are all for free. The idea with the swapshop is to help people exchange things with one another and at the same time give second thoughts to the consumption culture. Instead of going to a clothing store and buy brand new clothes that causes the environment and people to suffer, you can just swap your clothes with your friends or neighbors. Especially in Berlin, it is common to buy things second hand and I think that is one of the major reasons why the concept of a common swapshop is actually working really well.



The swapshop is a place where people can bring what they have and take what the need, without any restrictions at all. During the opening hours of the swapshop, there are at least as many people leaving clothes in the store as there are people taking. It does not matter if you leave 10 pieces and bring one home again, or vice versa. The people can just put their clothes directly on the shelves without having to say anything and the same if they want to bring something back home, they can put it directly in their own bag and leave. I think such an initiative as the swapshop really shows the beauty of humanity and it builds a community and trust between people. Yet, at the same time it is addressing one of the major problem in society; overconsumption. The swapshop is a real proof that we already have enough and instead of throwing things away, we should really take care of them.

We say THANK YOU Josefine for your work and your special view on our team!

Will be glad to meet you again one day!❤