United We Stream was created as a response of the Berlin club landscape to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic for club operators.
United We Stream is a joint venture of over 100 activists from club culture who volunteer to maintain a diverse club landscape.
United We Stream was initiated by the Berlin Club Commission, Reclaim Club Culture and the independent scene in Berlin, supported by the non-profit organisation BERLIN WORX.
The vision of United We Stream is to make club culture accessible and tangible for everyone.
The mission is to lobby for the recognition of clubs as cultural sites and visualisation of the cultural significance and scope of the existing diverse club culture.
Our goal here is to spread club cultural values and, through the attention gained, to build up more awareness for the preservation of the scene on a social and political level.
Our primary purpose is to compensate for the financial losses of Berlin’s clubs by generating donations and to protect them from a threat to their existence.
United We Stream stands for the diversity of club culture. A (digital) space for free development of all cultures and facets of life, incompatible with nationalism, racism, sexism, homophobia and discrimination in all its forms. A place that includes people of every conceivable background or identity, enables them to be more visible and audible, critically questions and develops discourses, and represents and depicts marginalized groups in our society.
Club culture should be a place of retreat and protection. (Digital) clubs are spaces in which everyone can freely develop and experiment while their boundaries are respected.
As actors of club culture, we have the opportunity to shape structures within our society and should be aware of this responsibility. Only through structural change we can adequately respond to discriminatory structures and prevent them.
We see United We Stream as an open-source network with an underlying sense of solidarity, which we carry to other cities and countries. We support them in the structural implementation so that club cultures can support each other across cities and countries.
United We Stream understands the current global crisis as a starting point for a necessary social transformation and as an opportunity to convey values of solidarity that are manifesting more and more in our society and thus clearly oppose any policy of exclusion.
Our club culture shows solidarity with refugees worldwide, and UWS Berlin collects donations for the Stiftungsfond Zivile Seenotrettung. Through this we want to draw attention to the isolationist policy of Europe.
Derived from the aspiration to achieve the greatest possible legitimacy and representation of the Berlin club culture and scene with United We Stream, we strive for a transparent, parity-based and democratic modus operandi in the working groups and especially in cross-divisional decision-making processes.
The aim of the Awareness Manifesto is that the formulated UWS values, derived from the understanding of a diverse and solidary club culture, form the basis for the curation and design of the specific livestreams and are reflected in our digital club life, so that all people can feel comfortable, free and safe there. The following criteria need to be considered:
Events and programming
- The booking should be made with due consideration of discrimination based on skin colour, sexual and gender identity, age, physical constitution, religious affiliation, financial possibilities, social milieu, etc.
- With the program we design and broadcast, we can either perpetuate existing unequal social structures or break them up and redesign them in a positive way. That is why we pay special attention to a balanced proportion of female and male identified people as well as non-binary people and artists of different social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, People of Color etc.
- A diverse program that reflects the diversity of our society and club culture requires the conscious support of artists from underrepresented groups. The introduction of quotas can be helpful, but should not lead to acts being booked only to make the lineup more diverse. Rather, it is about building a culture in which artists feel encouraged to perform, who are less confident than others or who are structurally disadvantaged. A balanced relationship between newcomers and better known acts can help establishing that.
- For an event with five different musical acts in five hours streaming time, we recommend filling at least two to three positions with female identified or non-binary persons.
- Clearly and explicitly misogynist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic, racist or otherwise humiliating events will not be tolerated.
- Within the media used (music, visuals, stickers, clothing, banners, posters etc.) no objectification based on certain characteristics of persons, homophobia, racism or other discrimination may occur.
- DJs have a responsibility towards the audience to consciously choose the selection of tracks (in relation to point 6). The lyrics of the songs and their messages are known to the DJs. The organizers or bookers are therefore responsible for which artists they select for the program. This responsibility also applies to clothing worn with symbolism.
- We are aware of the fact that the programming and production of the streams is currently taking place against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting exceptional situation for clubs. Challenges are, among other things, a potentially short time prior to the events in the program planning, limited availability as well as short-term cancellations by artists. Should this lead to restrictions in program diversity, the UWS structure is always available for exchange in order to find solutions together.
- By quantitatively and qualitatively evaluating our programs, we can better identify inequalities and derive targeted measures from them.
- Labour in the field of club culture often takes place under precarious circumstances. Under the current exceptional situation, this problem becomes extra apparent. A club, an event and also a stream only becomes possible and successful through the effort and input of many people. This includes management, technicians, bookers, artists and many more. Especially in these existentially threatening times, it is more than ever important to honor and appreciate the work of everyone involved.
In the event of obvious disregard for the formulated awareness criteria (points 1-8), UWS reserves the option to:
- initiate an open dialogue to jointly redesign the program according to the above criteria
- cancel a live stream or not broadcast a recorded program
- end the partnership
UWS understands awareness in the process. It is not about right and wrong, but about constant reflection of our own position, our possibilities and the prevailing situation. It is not about pointing the finger at each other, but about taking the opportunity and responsibility that we all have as actors in the club culture together. We are many – and as diverse as the club culture is, as different may be the extent to which we have all actively engaged with concepts of awareness and equality measures. Rather, UWS offers the chance to learn from each other, to support each other, to ask questions, to exchange ideas and to bring about positive change – together with understanding.