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Blue caravan

2021
The background for the creation of the Blue Caravan is the dissolution of the long-term psychiatric clinic at Kloster Blankenburg (a Bremen clinic, 40 km from the city gates) in the 1980s - a process that is unique in Germany to this day, decided by the Bremen Senate. The so-called “dissolution team” was responsible for the implementation: a doctor, a psychologist, several nurses and social workers, some of whom are founding members of today's Blue Caravan.

There were no models of how to dissolve a classic custodial institution - except in Trieste, Italy, which caused a sensation in the 1970s with the dissolution of its psychiatry. But there was one goal: the return of the inmates to their hometown Bremen (the clinic management spoke of “repatriation” in Bremen clinics and homes). And there was already this longing back then. The longing for a change that arises from meeting different people in real life.

That is why the resolution team organized joint trips for patients and employees to Bremen, visits to soccer games (“Blankenburg greets Werder Bremen”) and the Bremen Freimarkt, and artistic activities geared towards joint projects, such as publishing their own newspaper and planning the first trip together to Trieste (more on this in the BlauHaus menu item). After all, the moves to houses and shared apartments in the middle of Bremen's city districts provided links to their own life story, which was buried under the 16 years of detention psychiatry for many Blankenburg inmates. To enable this last step and to anticipate the planned hospital or home admissions on the part of the hospital management, a special association was founded: The Initiative for Social Rehabilitation and Prevention of Mental Illnesses e.V.

Everyone is important, everyone is needed

The first Blue Caravan fell during this time when the psychiatric institution at Kloster Blankenburg was leaving. It was a colorful community of patients, clinic employees, artists and interested citizens who set out from Trieste in 1985 through nine cities in Germany and their custodial psychiatric centers all the way to Bremen. With artistic, sometimes bizarre and provocative actions, she directed the (public eye) view of the unworthy accommodation of the prison inmates and called for a radical departure from the ideology of forced psychiatry.

For the participants in the Blue Caravan, the trip was an unforgettable experience, especially for the former Blankenburg inmates, for whom the journey itself was an almost surreal experience, as well as the public interest and solidarity they experienced after years of suffering .

For the Blue Caravan, the trip was one of the occasions that contributed to its principle "Everyone is important, everyone is needed": The everyday caravan with its improvised life, with provisional overnight stays, with the organization of food and the Joint preparation of meals, with his spontaneous actions before and in the psychiatric hospitals, required the commitment of everyone involved and gave each individual a specific meaning in the community, regardless of status or function in "normal" professional or private life.

The prerequisite for this is unconditional trust in the attention and reliability of everyone in the community towards the others. This, too, distinguishes life in the Blue Caravan from other organizational associations to this day.

The clinic management in Bremen did not have such confidence, neither in their staff nor in the patients. She had banned the trip - to "protect" the patient. Warnings and the breaking up of the dissolution team were the result.

Doesn't work, doesn't exist!

After most of the inmates moved out of Blankenburg Abbey, in 1986 a new home was found for joint discussions and activities in Bremen-Walle. It was supposed to provide office space for the association “Initiative for Social Rehabilitation and Prevention of Mental Illnesses”, studios for the blue eggs project, which arose in the run-up to the Blue Caravan, and workshops for various joint activities.

Everyone who took a look at the run-down house on Travemünder Str. Agreed: That is not possible! In joint work it was proven: It works! And just one year later, space was even created for the Café Blau as a meeting point for caravan friends and anyone interested in the district.

Many a “blue campaign” was initially awarded the verdict: Not possible! These include, for example, the three-day festival “Blau ist die Farbe” in Waller Park (which has never been released for such a festival), trips with Wüna, the blue camel, on a catamaran on the Weser and other waters (2009 even up to to Berlin!) or the “Leben 2020” congress in a bamboo tent on the wasteland of the property for the BlauHaus (2010). Although legal requirements would have made it possible to prohibit all of the examples mentioned, they could be carried out without police or judicial disputes.

Crossing boundaries

The history of the Blauen Karawane e.V. cannot be traced without the longing for change and the necessary border crossings.

In 1994, the second Blue Caravan set out under this motto, together with artists from the Blaumeier studio. It was no coincidence that the route led across the former German-German border from Leipzig to Bremen. Crossing borders in a double sense: geographically and in the minds of both East and West Germany.

Not only the exclusion of the crazy in the psychiatric clinics was discussed. It was also about the new borders, which after the fall of the old ones prevent solidarity with one another and turn people, such as homeless people or migrants, into outsiders. Often the colorful fooling around the Blue Caravan in public places helped more than the discussions in closed rooms, to question one's own limits in one's head and to engage with people who are so completely different from oneself.

Fortunately, there is another way

... was not just the topic of a congress that started the public discussion in Bremen in 2008 about the planned BlauHaus as an alternative to the conventional forms of assisted living in homes and institutions. It was also the motto of the fourth Blue Caravan, which in 2009 on its way from Berlin to Bremen dealt with the modern forms of social exclusion on the one hand and the diverse psycho-social offers on the other hand that support people in difficult circumstances. By visiting sites of the euthanasia crimes committed by the National Socialists, she also looked at where stigmatization and segregation can lead in extreme cases.

The ambiguity of the motto was intentional: It is good that there are many social projects today that take care of marginalized, especially disabled or mentally impaired people. But - according to the criticism of the Blue Caravan experienced in exclusion - shared apartments, homes and workshops for the disabled also follow the institutional logic of "supervised" and "carers" and the market orientation of professional help: because only when a sufficiently large number of people to be cared for is "acquired" , it is worth running a facility.

The aim of the above-mentioned Bremen Congress was to find other ways to happiness than those that are prescribed by society. The Blue Caravan was looking for examples and expert knowledge of how people as different as those who gather in the caravan can live, live and work with one another as neighbors. The expert knowledge was of great value to the Blue Caravan and contributed to the concretization of the utopia of living together in the Blue House. However, there were no examples of this.

For their constant search for ways to make society more solidarity and more colorful, the Blue Caravan and Blaumeier received the 2009 Villa Ichon Culture and Peace Prize in Bremen.

It all depends on the mix

This is the motto of the Blue Caravan that pulled the Blue Caravan through Bremen-Walle in 2013.

Even if the mixture of crazy-normal and normal-crazy has always been a hallmark of the Blue Caravan, the motto has received a special meaning in recent years: On the one hand, to welcome the many refugees who reached Bremen in 2015 and especially in the Überseestadt found their first accommodation in container and tented villages. On the other hand, to bring the BlauHaus and the associated idea of ​​a lively, mixed district with humor and Wüna into the neighborhood.

Timeline

1981
Beginning of the process of dissolution of the Bremen long-term psychiatry Kloster Blankenburg.

1982
The first inmates of Blankenburg Abbey move into their own apartment in their hometown of Bremen.

In order to anticipate the plan of the clinic management, which intends to relocate the Blankenburg inmates to Bremen homes and clinics, the dissolution team in Blankenburg Abbey founded a special association for renting apartments and looking after former patients: the initiative for social rehabilitation and prevention of mental illnesses registered association

1983
The experiences that Blankenburg inmates and staff have on a joint trip to Trieste triggered the planning of the first Blue Caravan. A partnership is established between Bremen (Blankenburg Abbey) and the Servizi Psichiatrici in Trieste.

1985
Thefirst blue caravan leads from Trieste to Bremen and travels through eight German psychiatric hospitals on this journey.
In preparation for the trip, masks are made in cooperation with the University of Oldenburg: The encounter between the (art) students and Blankenburg inmates is the beginning of a development that began in 1986 to become todayBlue eggs studio becomes.

The caravan trip ended with the international oneCongress "Society without a madhouse" in the Bremen slaughterhouse.

1986
In the meantime, 10 apartments have been rented and lived in for former Blankenburg inmates. The association Initiative for Social Rehabilitation and Prevention of Mental Illnesses e.V. moves - together with Blaumeier - its first domicile at Travemünder Straße 7a in Bremen-Walle.

1987
Foundation of the Café blue in Travemünder Strasse.

1991
Founding of the association Das Blaue Haus e.V .: It plans and organizes the construction of Wüna, the blue camel, and the blue caravan in 1994.

1992
The Initiative for Social Rehabilitation and Prevention of Mental Illnesses e.V. is organizing the three-day event on the occasion of its 10th anniversary together with BlaumeierFestival "blue is the color"in Waller Park.

1994
Launch of the catamaran and completion of Wüna, the desert jester ship, symbol of the Blue Caravan.

Thesecond blue caravan takes place. Their motto is: "Crossing borders". The main concern is the interpersonal crossing of boundaries and encounters between East and West. The stations are Leipzig - Torgau - Wittenberg - Wolfsburg - Hanover - Minden - Bremen.

1999
Start of the project for theBlue caravanserai - initially provisionally in Travemünder Straße. The Blue Caravanserai is intended to be a place with artistic and craft activities, but also for debates and social gatherings (Café Blau), where everyone is welcome

2000
Thethird blue caravan leads on the waterway via Oldenburg and other stations to Bremen. Motto: "A journey with strange companions to separate stations with unusual encounters". We visit institutions of social exclusion, including the former psychiatric institution Kloster Blankenburg, which is now an asylum seeker reception center, and the JVA-Bremen.

2001
Start of planning for a house with studios, workshops and the Café Blau for the Blue Caravanserai as a project of the Initiative for Social Rehabilitation and Prevention of Mental Illnesses e.V.

2002
The Association Initiative for Social Rehabilitation and Prevention of Mental Illnesses e.V. gives up the Blue Caravanserai project in favor of an office building for the employees.

Separation of the Blue Caravanserai project from the Initiative for Social Rehabilitation and Prevention of Mental Illnesses and moving to the Überseemuseum as a transition area.

Foundation of the associationBlue Caravan e.V.

2003
In July: Entry of the Blue Caravan into the Storage XI

2005
The Blue Caravan celebrates its 20th anniversary at the Walle district festival and at the Holz- und Fabrikhafen.

2008
Congress “Fortunately, it works differently: Living together - living - working. Alternatives to home, institution, isolation ". The congress is the start of the publicity campaign for the project Blue house.

2009
The fourth blue caravan moves by water from Berlin via Brandenburg and Wolfsburg to Bremen. The motto is: "Fortunately, there is another way". Contents are social problems in the present and the past (Berlin: Social cutbacks today, T 4 - Action in Fascism; Brandenburg: Visit to the institutional psychiatry and the “Grauer Bus” monument; Wolfsburg: Factory tour - working conditions that make work easier and make you sick).

The Blue Caravan receives the together with the blue eggs Bremen Culture and Peace Prize the Villa Ichon.

2010
Congress "Life 2020"

The Blue Caravan is celebrating its 25th anniversary in a specially constructed bamboo tent on the "B (l) austelle" for the BlauHaus in Bremen's Überseestadt.
The focus of the three-day congress is the development of the Blue Caravan from the dissolution of Blankenburg Monastery to the future project BlauHaus.
The congress (and its spectacular venue) is attracting lively interest from visitors and the general public. Speakers include the Bremen Senator for Construction, Dr. Loske and the expert for socio-spatial work, Prof. Dr. Früchtel, University of Potsdam.

2011
After the congress, the supraregional working group "Schuppen 18" with representatives from psychiatry, culture and the community to support the BlauHaus project.

2012
The Blue Caravan has been taking part in the Breminale since 1996. This year, the presentation of the BlauHaus model made of Lego bricks is a highlight for adults and children. The bamboo tent offers the right setting for music and theater performances.

2013
District festival in Bremen-Walle: With the Blue Caravan to the “Golden City” - a train through the community with Kamel Wüna and eight hospital beds under the motto"It's all about the mix!"

2014
Visit to the Blue Caravan in Geesthachtto restructure the local psychiatry through the introduction of a Regional budgets to get to know. The demand for a regional budget in Bremen subsequently becomes a focus of the content-related discussion in the Blue Caravan.

2015
As a contribution to the Bremen culture of welcoming refugees who come to Bremen this year, the Blue Caravan initiated the “Hospitality” project in the Überseestadt. The highlight is a jointly organized festival with food, music and dance from different cultures.

Blue campaign on the "blueprint" of the future BlauHaus:"Deserts to gardens". All neighbors of Überseestadt are invited to follow the parade on the Weser dike with music and Wüna and to celebrate together on the property on Kommodore-Johnsen-Boulevard, which at that time is still fallow, and to get to know the Blue Caravan.

2016
The Blue Caravan receives awards for its work and the BlauHaus projectSponsorship award from the Foundation for Social Psychiatry of the German Society for Social Psychiatry (DGSP) and celebrates the award ceremony with a specialist discussion on the topics: “The Bremen Social Psychiatry: Overcoming Barriers” and “The BlauHaus on the harbor edge - a quarter for a barrier-free city.” The organizers are the Blue Caravan, the foundation for social psychiatry of the DGSP and the Martinsclub Bremen.

Film project "All inclusive" with Eike Besuden as filmmaker, see: http://allinclusive-der-film.de

2017
The Blue Caravan publishes together with GAPSY and the integration aid agencies of West BremenFuture concept for psychiatric care for mentally ill people using the example of Bremen-West and for this it receives widespread approval (those affected, experts, professional associations, local politicians).

2019
The residents move into the apartments in the BlauHaus (BlauHaus Nord with 44 apartments, BlauHaus Süd with 39 apartments).

2020
The Blue Caravan organizes the “New Psychiatry in West Bremen” working groupPsychiatry Conference: The Crisis House and the First Steps to the Center for Mental Health. It is about the implementation of the future concept from 2017, i.e.about the transformation of centralized, inpatient hospital psychiatry into regionalized and largely outpatient care in the living environment of those affected (conversion of hospital psychiatry and psychiatric treatment centers into regional centers for mental health). In her welcoming address to around 100 conference participants, the Senator of Health announced that this transformation should be implemented with concrete steps from now on.

Because of the hygiene requirements due to the corona pandemic, the event must take place in the huge BLG forum.

In November theThe Blue Caravan moves from Speicher XI to the Blue Manege in the BlauHaus district at Kommodore-Johnsen-Boulevard No. 11, 28217 Bremen.