The TransitionHaus Bayreuth e.V. is a young collective that has been founded on the 27th of August in 2015 and became an officially registered non-profit association (e.V.) in 2016. From an informal and more or less loose bunch of friends, sharing the idea of finding a house to get different social and ecological initiatives together under one roof. The core-founders of TH already knew each other – which in turn has to do with the small but well-connected subcultural scene in Bayreuth. Moreover, some of the initiatives became part of TH already existed before, as almost all core-founders have been involved in one or more existing initiatives at this time. Today the (wo)man-power of TH is around 30 members with about 20 of them in one of the initiatives and about 10 of them active in one of the organizational-groups too (internal collectives).
Strategies and practices
TH consists of a ‘grassroot-board’ for decision-making, using the processual tool of “systemic-consensualisation” , there are five organizational-groups (publicity, associational-needs & finance, house-quest, maintenance, visions of transition) and eleven initiatives (‘edible-city’, foodsharing, sewing- and repair-Café, community-supported-agriculture, public-kitchen and participation refugee association).
Establishing a common house highlights the importance of a shared space as a place for ‘togetherness’ and collaboration, by this the collective participating in the Transition(-Town)-Movement. While we couldn’t find an ‘orthodoxy’ representing a classic Transition-Town-Movement or a primary interest of strictly ecological aims, one can state a intrinsic motivation on societal change by performing new forms of social encounters and the combination of social and ecological sustainability by – for example – drawing together the practical outcomes of the initiatives (like repaired bicycles, shared food etc.) and the mode of mutual recognition. One narrative of the TH could be described as a kind of “utopia-lab” (“Utopielabor”). Denoted by that is the way the collective tries to manage their internal communication with everybody from the groups and initiatives, discussions and decisions, as well as the everyday practices inside the house. The aim to practice new ways of communality in the house to diffuse in the civil sphere is a collective hope. The openness and liberal integration of everybody interested in the project and all visitors clearly evokes a tension that has also been a topic of several group-discussions. The tension arises as it simply isn’t possible to always be open to everybody and to integrate every kind of person (imagine for example convinced racists or fascists). Conflicting to that is the high level of ambition to prevent aggressive stimulations and to avoid discontentment, feelings of dissatisfaction and closeness.
Another differentiation is lancing between the largely pragma-oriented members of the initiatives who are foregrounding the Doing in practice, and some of the more deliberate, meta-reflexive members of the organizational-groups. Even if ‘everybody knows everybody’ and the agreed credo of conjointly communication isn’t seriously challenged it considerably points out two diverging attitudes and logics concerning the individual reasons for participating. Nevertheless, it is precisely these aspects that strengthen the very elaborated search for forms of compromising and managing conflicts like these beyond autochthonic and old-established forms of politics and democracy – or, to put in a golden sentence: progress in terms of well-combined social and ecological sustainability needs to be a durable process of never ending negotiation for the sake of collaborative-based societal-transformation.
To put in a nutshell
One of the possible weaknesses is that the TH-project could collapse as some of the students, being the backbone of the initiative, might move after some semesters.
the collective is still threatened to move on due to preliminary rent contracts.