Final Paper

Couldn’t directly upload my paper here due to formatting issues. Let me know if you’d like to read it and I can send you a PDF!

Spanish Interviews

Our assignment was to talk to 3 residents of Leon, tell them about our project, and ask for their opinion on the topic. Not being very confident in my language skills, this was a tough assignment for me! Though most of my “interviews” were pretty short, they revealed a lot.

I started out by telling my interviewees that I was doing a project on street art and graffiti. I asked them if they noticed street art or graffiti and what they thought about it. The following is what I found.

1. The first woman I interviewed was waiting to pick up her child from the University of Leon Language Center. She seemed a bit reluctant to talk, but she agreed to answer my questions. She told me that she did notice street art and that she enjoyed it. I then showed her the picture attached to this blog post and asked her if she had seen anything like it and what she thought about it. Very quickly, she responded that she had not seen anything like it, nor did she know what it meant. It very clearly says “anti-fascist zone.” We learned in class about how the Spanish have “forgotten” the Civil War and this woman was a perfect example.

2. The second woman I talked to was an older woman. She was very friendly, but told me that she didn’t really notice  any the street art or the graffiti. When I showed her the photo, she said she knew what it meant, but didn’t know what motivation people would have to tag it in the streets. She didn’t mention the Civil War or any kind of politics and I didn’t want to provoke her, so I didn’t ask.

3. The final guy I talked to was a student and although he was from the States and technically doesn’t count, we still spoke Spanish and I think he offered a really valuable perspective that I didn’t get from anyone in Leon. We talked about street art and though I haven’t seen much of it in Leon, he said that he saw a lot from the freeway and thought it was really cool. I showed him the picture attached below and he told me that he sees fascist graffiti everywhere, which is also what I have observed. He said that it seemed to be related to the Spanish Civil War and the politics behind it. He was the only person I talked to that mentioned the war at all and he was not from Spain.

Though my sample was small, I think it definitely showed me that Spanish people did not want to talk about, nor acknowledge the Civil War and I did not expect it to be this dramatic.



Berlin Reflection

Berlin was not what I expected. I can’t quite describe what I expected, I only know that my expectations were both broken and exceeded.
It was tough to feel completely like a foreigner. I’ve traveled many times to China and even though sometimes I felt a little culturally out of touch, I speak Chinese and therefore feel much less foreign. I’ve also been to Mexico (I speak a little Spanish) and Canada ( no language barrier) so I’ve never felt completely lost in a new place. Not knowing the language was very uncomfortable for me, even though most everyone spoke English. I was embarrassed that all I could say was “please” and “thank you.” I felt like like I was intruding on a city and a culture that I wasn’t apart of and didn’t even take the time to learn a bit of the language. Sonja, Stephanie and I went to the train station to book trains for our post-program travels and when I asked the woman at the counter if she spoke English, she responded,”little,” and my heart sank. I had heard that Germans were somewhat like people from the East coast of the US, with a “get things done” attitude. I was afraid that she would be frustrated and angry with these young, English-speaking Americans. I was totally wrong. She spoke to us in German and we responded in English, yet we were still able to communicate which cities and routes we wanted to take. She was very patient and thorough and the three of us left feeling very grateful for her kindness. She really changed my perspective and this experience showed me that as long as we were polite and respectful, most everyone will respond in the same way, no matter where they are from.
The street art in Berlin was unbelievable. As Sonja and I were walking toward our hostel from the S-Bahn, we were greeted by the famous “East and West” piece by JR and Blu: artists we talked about in our prep seminar. It was quite the good start to the program. After hearing about JR in class, I looked up his work and fell in love. The first time we took the S-Bahn to Humboldt, I saw one of his pieces across the station and freaked out a little bit…I couldn’t help but stop every few feet to take pictures of the graffiti and the art in Berlin. In Seattle, I don’t look twice at the spray paint tags on walls and under bridges, but in Berlin, these people are ARTISTS. I saw murals and wall pastings 5 stories high, and pieces on top of bridges and on train tracks. The skill and creativity of these people is incredible and I never got tired of seeing my favorite pieces.
I think my favorite speaker was Viola Georgi. She had a very dynamic personality and was clearly very passionate and knowledgeable about her research topic. I also really enjoyed the format of her presentation. I often find social science theory and papers hard to follow, but she made it very accessible for me and as a result I was much more interested and engaged. The fact that stuck out most to me was when she told us that youth with multi-cultural backgrounds felt that they could only “choose” one to identify with. I found this concept very difficult to understand because I consider myself Chinese-American and describing myself as either one or the other would not feel right at all.  I think it’s really sad that these students feel this way because the way I see the world and the principles that I live by come from both the Chinese culture of my parents as well as the American one that I grew up in.

Besides all of the things that  I learned from lectures and outings, I really liked the vibe of Kreuzberg. In a way, it reminded me of Seattle: lots of cultures, cool restaurants and bars, and a lot of hip people. I really enjoyed our stay there.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

I don’t really know how to begin this blog post so I guess I’ll just jump in.I didn’t expect the tour to have the impact that it did on me. History is history. The holocaust was, without a doubt, a horrific event.  But, it was not an event that I was personally connected to. It is not something that happened while I was alive, it was not something that my family was affected by. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I didn’t think I would get very emotional on this visit. Needless to say, I was wrong.

Standing in the crematorium was the most difficult part for me. Hearing about gas chambers and executions in class is awful enough. Tens of thousands of people killed with the press of a button or the pull of a trigger. Standing inches away from the ground that men and women and children stood o seconds before they were murdered, the ground on which bodies were piled like bags of sand, the ground on which ashes were spread, was something that words cannot describe. The story of the crematorium workers was the most intriguing to me. Like Ingrid (our tour guide) said, I couldn’t pass any judgement on him. It was horrible that this man killed his fellow prisoners. But it was also horrible that he was forced to face death every hour of every day for years. I was shocked to hear that he received a jail sentence. It was not what I expected to hear, but when I thought about it more, I couldn’t come up with a sentence that I thought would be appropriate. Fear changes people. And as much as we all hate to admit it, in the worst conditions, even the most courageous will yield to it.

This story reminded me that not everything is black and white. I feel as if the complexities of the crematorium worker’s story and those of many others are overlooked and misunderstood. There is not doubt in anyone’s mind that what he did and what the SS did to him were both wrong, but I think it is more important to think about why those things happened. The only way to prevent these things from happening again is if we understand why and how they happened in the first place.

One of the things that saddened me the most was hearing the sheer number of people that were killed. How can we play respect to the thousands that were persecuted and brutally murdered out of hatred? How are we supposed to memorialize their lives and their legacy when we don’t even know their names? I am guilty of forgetting, or at least trying to forget the horrors of the holocaust. It’s easier than facing the truth of what really happened. It’s easier than accepting that evil really does exist and that we are capable of unspeakable things. Today reminded me that I do have a responsibility to acknowledge these facts and do my part in preventing them from happening again.

Reichstag Visit


This tour was not at all what I was expecting. When I think of parliament, I think of old men in white wigs in a stuffy building. Our tour guide was so cute and funny; I think she made our tour much more enriching! My favorite thing about the Reichstag was the juxtaposition between new and old. I loved that they kept old parts of the Reichstag. The inscriptions of the Soviet soldiers throughout the building was so cool. There were bullet holes in the columns outside one of the libraries. I also really loved the architecture and the art throughout the building. Everything was thoughtful and purposeful and at the same time, simple and tasteful. There was a lot of symbolism in the design of the building as well as the art installments. The transparent architecture was a reflection of the new “attitude” of the government. I learned a bit about the more technical aspects of parliament and the tour guide shared some of the quirky rules for members with us. I think it would be really interesting to sit in on a session and see how the members of parliament interact (maybe something to do in the future).

Palace of Tears

Today we visited the Palace of Tears, a glass building wedged between the train station and a shopping plaza. The first thing I thought about when I entered was the name itself. I understand why there would be tears. Saying goodbye would be hard if one wasn’t sure if there would be another hello. Tears might come if one were harassed and hassled and disrespected. However, the word “palace” didn’t really make sense to me. The building was small and plain. What went on inside was not anything near royal or grand. Maybe it was an ironic name.

The passport check was a tiny corridor. The officer sat high above the travelers, behind a wall of glass. I can imagine how frightening it would be to pass through that corridor, even with a permit. Even though West Berliners could travel back and forth across the border, it was not an easy journey for them. Customs officers thoroughly searched through luggage, looking for anything from the West that was banned from the East. There were hidden cameras and the Stasi police kept strict records of entrances and exits.

One thing that caught my attention was the interview of the border officers that had to confirm the identity of those that were crossing. He said the best way to tell if someone was using another person’s passport was by their ears. I wonder what it would be like to be a border officer. I know they would be under a lot of pressure to do their jobs well, but I also imagine some of them might have had family on the other side. At the very least, they must have had some empathy for those passing through. Were they able to desensitize themselves to the suffering of others?

My favorite parts of the memorial were the audio/video recordings of people’s experiences passing through the border crossing. Seeing their faces and hearing their voices added a lot of depth to their accounts and really allowed me to get a better sense of how they felt when they had to say goodbye to their loved ones. There were so many different perspectives that were offered (East Berliners, West Berliners, border police, etc.)

Earlier in class, we talked about how Germans are very open and accepting of their history and I think the Palace of Tears is a great example of this. If these memories and artifacts aren’t preserved and shared, then they will be lost and future generations will have a hard time understanding the struggles that their parents and grandparents and families went through. I think that this understanding and reflection is an important part of the healing process for a country that has had such a difficult past.

Final Project Proposal


The Eurozone Crisis has prompted various types of protest within the European community. One of the most widespread and innovative is the use of artistic mediums. Our group is interested in looking at different art forms and how they are embedded in social activism. We want to explore how the new trends in art were born and how they have influenced youth affected by the crisis. Specifically, we want to look into the issues of immigration and unemployment and how this has created tension within youth culture in the United States, Spain and Germany. We are interested in exploring how people are expressing their views through their art and the effect that it is having on others. We are not only interested in learning about the messages that artists are trying to send with their work, but also how it is being interpreted by others and how this is inspiring change within communities.This project will be conducted in the cities of Berlin, Leon, and Madrid, three cities rich with history, but also with modern movements catalyzed by the need for social change. Our methodology will consist of observations and interviews,which include visiting art galleries, watching (and possibly taking part in) street performances, viewing films and soccer games as well as conducting interviews. Overall, the questions our group will address are: How is performance embedded in social activism? How is social activism grounded in culture? What types of culture are used in social activism? How has art been used as a form of social activism for or by youth affected by the Eurozone crisis?



Art is an incredibly accessible medium to both those that create it and those that view it. It transcends language barriers and often cultural barriers too. I will be narrowing down my focus to visual arts for my project. Even so, visual arts encompasses many types of art forms including, but not limited to,ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking and architecture.

I’m interested in seeing the type of art that is presented in exhibitions in contemporary galleries and whether or not young artists share similar themes in their art. I’m also interested in finding out the audience that their art is reaching. I wonder how the art culture differs and how valid different genres of art are in each city. I want to explore the same questions with street art and compare my findings for both forms.

Artists that have their work featured in exhibitions have the potential to show not only locally, but internationally. This means that their art reaches people with different cultures and different ideologies and gives them insight on what is going on in Berlin, Leon, and Madrid. Through social media and the internet, street artists also have the ability to share their work with people that can’t see it in person. For example, the French artist JR has left a tangible mark on many cities in the world, but has also documented all of his art so that everyone can share his vision and view his work.

In Spain, unemployment rates are around 20%, while youth unemployment rates are a whopping 50%. Though there are measures being taken to promote jobs for youth, there is still dissatisfaction felt among nationals. The recent youth protest movements, organized through social media, have created crowds of tens of thousands of people. Artists, such as GauchoLADRI, have emerged from these movements, combining their art with activism and taking it to the streets.

Reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall seem to be common themes among contemporary artists in Germany. New art forms emerged, centered around the Berlin Wall and the cultural, social, and political divides that it created. Berlin became an international hub for arts following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In addition to being known for its galleries, Berlin has also been called “the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world.” The Berlin Wall was a famous canvas for social, political and artistic expression for Berliners, before and after the fall. At first, when only the West side was using the wall as a canvas, it symbolized the free expression and open society of West Berlin. When the wall fell, artists from the West were joined by those from the East, who had their own take on this newfangled freedom. Street art is very common within the city as well. UNESCO named Berlin a City of Design. Local businesses hired artists to paint murals on their buildings. Artists, like Blu and JR were still able maintain the integrity of their art even though they were being paid for their work. “Most famously, on a wall in Kreuzberg, the artist Blu painted two men trying to rip each other’s masks off — symbolizing, he claims, Berlin’s struggles during its first few years of reunification.(Arms)”

I am not very familiar with the different periods or genres of visual art. I also find that art is a very subjective medium. Though I will be forming my own opinions about the art that I see, I also plan on seeking more information from the artists themselves or the gallery owners about certain pieces. It has been difficult to determine the themes of certain exhibitions and whether or not they pertain directly to my research question.


In times of struggle people often seek different mediums through which to express themselves. The beauty of art is that it is perceived in many different ways. What are the common themes and media used among young, contemporary artists in Berlin, Madrid, and Leon and how are artists using their work to speak about social conflicts?


I am not very familiar with the art scene in Seattle and I do have a perception that contemporary art and art galleries are not very accessible to the general public. I don’t pay much attention to the street art/graffiti in Seattle because most of the time it just looks like people tagging their names on walls. I think that street art is much more prevalent in Berlin than it is in Seattle so I need to be more observant of the art that will be surrounding me.


I plan on visiting art museums and galleries that feature young and/or contemporary artists. I also plan on exploring street art within the cities. If possible, I’d like to speak to artists about their work and the messages they are trying to send to their audience. I’d also like to ask youth/students in the cities how they feel about local art.


KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Carlier Gebauer

Galerie Open


Travesia Cuatro

Espacio Minimo



I’ll be gathering photos, notes from interviews and observations.


Arms, Simon. “Smashing Magazine.” The Heritage Of Berlin Street Art And Graffiti Scene. N.p., 13 July 2011. Web. 4 June 2013. <;.

“Madrid Street Art Project.” Madrid Street Art Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 June 2013. <;.

Poggoli, Sylvia. “Youth Protests Sweep Spain As Unemployment Soars.” NPR. NPR, 26 May 2011. Web. 2 June 2013. <;.

Vermeulen, Timotheus. “The Young Berlin Artists.” Notes on Meta Modernism. N.p., 11 June 2011. Web. 29 May 2013. <;.

I am not very familiar with the art scene in Seattle and I do have a perception that contemporary art and art galleries are not very accessible to the general public. I don’t pay much attention to the street art/graffiti in Seattle because most of the time it just looks like people tagging their names on walls. I think that street art is much more prevalent in Berlin than it is in Seattle so I need to be more observant of the art that will be surrounding me.

Cynthia Tetreault

How is social activism developed through dance?


Search for Harlem Shake on youtube and hundreds of thousands of videos show up. There is a harlem shake for everything now, from a grandma edition to a puppy edition and even multiple UW editions. But do people actually know what they are dancing for and what the meaning of this dance is or are they just following a trend? The problem is that this worldwide phenomenon is not the real Harlem Shake, is it a mockery. How did this start, did some corporate just see a video of the Harlem Shake and think, ‘Hey that looks ridiculous I bet people would love to try and copy this for fun?’ The first time I saw a video of the Harlem shake I didn’t get why people thought it was so funny, it just seemed odd and out of context. Every time I asked someone why people did this dance they could not come up with an answer. Recently, there have been many videos created that advertise the real Harlem Shake with interviews of “Harlemers” asking them what they think of the Harlem Shake: (show from 50sec-1min)

On the opposite end of the spectrum,spanish flash mob dancers are trying to be very explicitly political. Can this be seen as a reflection of the cultural differences between the United States and Spain? With Spain’s unemployment rate higher than twenty percent people are striking back but not in a typical way. Dance is being used as a political form of expression and is increasing in popularity. I believe this is because you are more likely to reach a wider audience if you are able to communicate your problem and entertain at the same time. If people don’t feel as threatened by you they are more likely to hear what you are saying. I aim to research the history of flamenco which is the dance most commonly used in flash mobs. i want to find out why it is this specific dance that is being used as well as who is performing these dances? Is it the youth or are there adults involved as well? I would also like to look into the youth culture meshed within the flash mobs by examining how people communicate to organize the demonstrations (social media). It would be interesting to find specifics on what results the flash mobs have cause both culturally and politically.  Are people actually listening and making changes as a result? Analyzing any failed attempts at flash mobs would also be another side of the story that could deepen my understanding of this approach.

Caught in the middle of the spectrum,explicitly political being on one end and unkowingly and obviously being political on the other, is Germany.Hip-hop has surfaced as a way for immigrants, specifically those of turkish decent, to express their frustrations with the racism in society. Hip-hop often represents the “thug life” which is embraced by many youth in Germany. After the fall of the Berlin wall and the rise in German nationalism, Turkish immigrants have sought a way to express their mixed turkish-german identities. It has been most difficult for me to narrow down my research in Germany because I know the least about Germany and have heard the least about them in the media. I know we have discussed various rap bands in class that have many members who are immigrants so they all rap in different languages.


What types of culture are used in social activism and which specific cultural items? For example why was the Flamenco used in flash mobs and not another dance, what is the history of this dance? What is the origin of the Harlem shake and what kind of a statement is it making in today’s popular culture? Who is associated with hip-hop in Germany and why? How is the harlem shake more or less political/intentional than the flash mobs?

Cultural Sensitivity

Although I have grown up in the United States I believe that I am not biased for the mock Harlem Shake because I have never taken part in one of these flash mobs or found it as entertaining as many others do. If anything I am biased against the mock Harlem Shake and am more likely to take the side of the true Harlem Shakers and write off the popular version too quickly without considering both sides of the story. I need to make sure that I learn about both sides of the argument.

Considering youth unemployment, it is difficult for me to relate because i am currently employed as a gymnastics coach and I have been since I was sixteen years old. However,in my Freshman year of college when I was searching for a new job i experienced how difficult it is to find a job because I had to go through a very lengthy and selective process of multiple interviews and applications. The act of searching and applying for jobs was a job in itself and was very time consuming. However, I was eventually able to find a position, unlike over 50% of youth in Spain.

Daily Schedule

I would like to interview people who are performing in the Flamenco flash mobs of Spain and possibly even participate myself.I could even take a Flamenco class or learn on my own from youtube videos.  In Germany I want to attend many hip-hop and rap concerts or even just listen to a live band at a cafe or night club. I would like to interview band members as well and ask them what they are singing and why.


Tablao Flamenco Las Carboneras-Restaurante

Teatro Reina Victoria- Ay Carmela Musical


Fete de la Musique

Hip-hop concerts in Berlin


Music and dance festivals


United states:

The story of the real harlem shake:

Who invented the Harlem shake?

Harlem Reacts to ‘Harlem Shake” Videos:

Harlem Shake song:


History of Flamenco:

William Roy (UCLA)-Reds, Whites and Blues- folk music in social movements


Rap, Hip-hop, Kreuzberg by Levent Soysal

Stephanie Sampson


Social Activism through Film

           The dawning of the Eurozone Crisis has led to mass artistic protest and cultural expression. One of the most widespread means of responding to the crisis is through film. Because films can be viewed universally, this type of expression is the most accessible to the public. Both Spain and Germany boast impressive film industries, with blockbusters featuring international stars and lauded independents tackling international issues. Since the crisis, both countries have gathered attention for showing and producing a large amount of films focused on the euro crisis, particularly focused on the effects of austerity measures and unemployment. An emphasis has also been placed on issues affecting youth within these two countries, and this trend has been paralleled by an increase in young directors. And because these countries host two of the most important film festivals in the world, San Sebastian International Film Festival and Berlinale, they have given these issues an international audience.

    However, the film industry is a source of many contradictions and weaknesses. To produce a film meant to empower immigrants, criticize oppressive policies, or provide hope during economic downturn, filmmakers must turn to capitalism to spread their messages. At Berlinale, a handful of movies made by Spanish and Greek filmmakers were shown, which were made in response to the Euro Crisis. These movies were made as a way to show the suffering that the austerity policies inflict on the citizens of these countries. Yet, to make these movies, the filmmakers must rely on investors, producers, and sales to show their movies. They also compete in a glamorous manner for awards given by heads of production companies and celebrities. These festivals often garner more attention for their allure than the message of the films.  There is more juxtaposition between the message of the movies and the way they are produced than among other art industries. However, this aspect of the film industry makes it intriguing to research, because it shows a way mass consumption and private investment can be used in a positive way. This also leads to an issue directly related to the crisis: how do you fund movies when there is no money? Filmmakers have to find creative ways to maintain interest in the film industry and are proposing platforms particularly in Spain to encourage government support of the arts. They also have to hire people who will work for lower salaries, or outsource their actors and directors. All of these aspects of the film industry make it an intriguing example of the effects of the euro crisis.

The recent trend of making movies about the Euro Crisis reflects previous trends in the history of film in Spain and Germany. Cinema in Germany has a long, complicated history. It first came into the scene after WWI, with films being made in the style of the expressionists. When the Nazis came into power, film became one of the most influential forms of propaganda. This period led to the immigration of most of Germany’s notable filmmakers, allowing the Third Reich to entirely reform the film industry for their purposes. When the Cold War began, the division of Berlin further changed cinema. Most of the studios and production offices were located in East Berlin, and the communists began right away to continue the cinema industry for the purpose of reeducation. In the West, cinema was slowly reintroduced, and the Americans reorganized the film industry, disintegrating the various aspects of the industry to encourage competition and preventing monopolization. German movies were ignored in favor of American films, which were made for entertainment purposes and to support the American cinema market. The Americanization of German film lead to the closing of many German production companies because they could not compete with the American market. Towards the end of the Cold War, Germany experienced a reinvention of German cinema. Led by young filmmakers interested in strongly political messages, the early cinema struggled to gain profit, and the cinema had to be supported by government subsidies. Because Germany has been the least affected by the Euro crisis, it has less of a struggle to produce movies and is still in the forefront of world cinema.

Spanish cinema has seen similar trends, beginning under the Franco regime. During the regime, films were also used as a propaganda tool, with the purpose of venerating the church, the family and the fascist state. Many filmmakers and other artists were exiled or arrested for portraying anything too liberal or in opposition to Franco’s regime. After his death, Spain saw a deregulation of censorship and began making films that directly addressed the civil war and issues ignored in the past forty years. Because of the need to push boundaries after creative oppression, Spain has become one of the most liberal filmmaking countries.

The similarities between the Spanish and German film industries make them an intriguing focus of comparison, especially because of recent events. Though both industries have a history of focusing on social issues they are in very different positions today. Germany, as one of the most successful countries in the EU, has the means to make and distribute movies. Spain, on the other hand, struggles to find the money to make movies. This challenge connects Spain and Germany, because Germany has been supporting Spanish movies through their film festivals and projects. Though this relationship has positive aspects, it also makes Spain reliant on Germany, which has been a source of conflict because of the austerity policies. The various aspects of the film industry, writing process, production, filming, and distribution, make the topic entirely entwined in the Euro crisis, and make it an interesting field case into the effects of unemployment on social activism.


How is film used as a form of social activism to discuss issues such as immigration, unemployment, race relations, and cultural identity? What is the relationship between filmmakers/directors and producers/studio companies? How can filmmakers navigate the profit-driven aspects of the film industry while promoting messages against mass-spending and economic inequalities? What are the thematic trends present in Spanish and German cinema since the Euro Crisis? What are the ways that filmmakers fund their movies and get support for the cinematic arts in a struggling economy?

Cultural Sensitivity:

I have never researched cinema studies before, so I am going into it with a fairly open mind. However, I have a strong interest in movies and documentaries, particularly focused on social issues. However, I do have strong positions on the issues presented in movies recently, such as immigration, unemployment and the effects of austerity. With the majority of my family still living in Greece, I have seen the effects of the euro crisis and am very against austerity measures. So this makes me more partial to films with this same point of view. However, I am also interested in seeing what has been made in support of austerity, to get a full understanding of cinema.

Daily Schedule:

One of the challenges of studying film is finding the best ways to engage with the public. To remedy this, I hope to meet with directors, film students and filmmakers in Berlin, Madrid and Leon. There are a lot of film academies in Berlin and Madrid with a strong focus on social issues. I would also like to meet with reporters who write about the arts to see trends they have noticed since the euro crisis. I will also go to the headquarters of Cinema for Peace in Berlin where they focus on making and distributing movies with the express purpose of spreading peace and awareness of international issues, including economic crises and unemployment. I also will try to meet with production companies to learn about the production process. I would also like the try my own movie project to record my interviews and research.



The Goethe Institute: Film


Cinema for Peace





“Spanish Cinema: A Brief History” Max Horberry of The Guardian


“The War that Never Ended” David Archibald of The Guardian


“Spain’s Recession Calls for Creative Film Financing” John Hopewell, Variety


“Everyone is Suffering” Kristen Allen, Speigel


San Sebastian Film Festival


James Pabiniak

Project Proposal

1.      Abstract

The Eurozone Crisis has prompted various types of protest within the European community. One of the most widespread and innovative is the use of artistic mediums. Our group is interested in looking at different art forms and how they are embedded in social activism. We want to explore how the new trends in art were born and how they have influenced youth affected by the crisis. Specifically, we want to look into the issues of immigration and unemployment and how this has created tension within youth culture in the United States, Spain and Germany. We are interested in exploring how people are expressing their views through their art and the effect that it is having on others. We are not only interested in learning about the messages that artists are trying to send with their work, but also how it is being interpreted by others and the results because of this. This project will be conducted in the cities of Berlin, Leon, and Madrid, three cities rich with history, but also with modern movements catalyzed by the need for social change. Our methodology will consist of observations and interviews, which include visiting art galleries, watching (and possibly taking part in) street performances, viewing films and soccer games as well as conducting interviews. Overall, the questions our group will address are: How is performance embedded in social activism? How is social activism grounded in culture? What types of culture are used in social activism? How has art been used as a form of social activism for or by youth affected by the Eurozone crisis?

2.      Background

Sports are embedded in culture, and when the culture is affected by economic and political crisis, the role of sports changes as well. Sports are widely popular throughout all castes of society and they can cause rivalries between people of different regions or make complete strangers friends. In both Germany and Spain, there is no doubt that the most important and relevant sport is that of soccer. In the United States professional soccer is a rapidly growing sport on cusp of becoming one of the most popular in the country. It sees more and more stars coming from Europe and elsewhere around the world to play in Major League Soccer (MLS).

For me personally, soccer and sports in general play a major role in my life. I played soccer as a young child up until middle school when I quit because of disagreements with the coaching staff (I didn’t like my coach and felt he didn’t play me enough). I started playing the sport again my senior year of high school and even play on extremely uncompetitive intramural team in college. I am one of many, many people who both follow the professional soccer leagues around the world as well as domestically. The major European leagues, namely the German Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, and Italy’s Serie A, are the most competitive and entertaining around the world. I actively root for the Itlaian team Internazionale and the local, Seattle based team, the Seattle Sounders. There was also a period where I spent an unhealthy amount of time playing and wrapped up in the FIFA Soccer video games. Soccer is a big part of my life, and when I’m extremely excited and interested to do research on the sport and how it’s changed in recent years.

The conclusion of this past season’s Champions League (a league in which the best club team in the world is found through a tournament) had an attendance of over 86,500 people (Champions League Final). The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the major governing body in soccer, estimated that 3.2 billion people, or almost half of the world population, tuned in to watch the 2010 World Cup that was played in South Africa (Almost Half the World). There is little doubt that soccer (or football, as those not in America call it) is of major global importance and that it is an integral and irrefutable part of global culture. Because of the global interest in the sport, researching this topic is very important to

One thing that has been considered but not fully appreciated is the effect which sports can have during times of economic and political strife. There have been several notable studies done on this subject, and each has very interesting results. In 2011, Charlotte Cabane did a study in which her main goal was to analyze the effect of leisure sport participation on unemployment duration. She says that the normal returns of participating in sports are health, education, higher wages and general labor market outcomes, and claims that usually left behind when considering the effects of sports is how to aids shortening the duration of unemployment (Cabane 2). Her hypothesis is that “sporty people experience shorter unemployment spells than non-sporty people (6).” This is a fascinating idea, and one that is extremely relevant to the current economic climate because there has been significant unemployment throughout the world. Also important to note is that the group of people this study is analyzing are German citizens, one of the countries I will be looking at in my study. This results of the study “lead to the conclusion that practicing sport weekly during unemployment is significantly correlated to the probability of exit from unemployment (23).” This is interesting and clearly shows the relevance of the subject of sports to the theme of our trip, which is analyzing “Social and Artistic Representations of Youth Un-employment in the Eurozone: Germany and Spain as Case Studies.”

There are also other examples of the connection between sports and the economy. For example, in the United Kingdom, there is an established Sports Council, who is tasked with several things. Under their central document, the Sport for All Charter, they are required to encourage mass participation in sport. They are required to “create enough interesting things for people to do which they can afford to get to (Rigg 62).” The government had an agency that was establishing sporting events for their citizens to participate in because they knew that if there were no sports that the citizens would be less productive and the “inevitable result will be boredom, inertia, and frustrations: a dangerous mixture…(62).” This is further evidence of the connection between sports and government and the economy. Another connection which I though was interesting was the effect that the recent economic downturn had on Olympic athletes. A short YouTube documentary which I watched talked about the struggles of certain Greek Olympic athletes. As the economy took a massive turn for the worse in Greece, they had to sell most of their Olympic training facilities to try to help balance the budget. With the privatization of many gyms and places that athletes trained, they can no longer get the support from the government they needed to be the best athletes they can be, and this greatly affected the competitiveness of Greek Athletes.

Learning about all of this has solidified my interest in doing research in sports and performance in our target countries. Knowing more about this topic is very helpful globally because sports and unemployment as well as political and economic strife are all tied together. I have struggled with coming up with one question to really look into, but as I did more research and as I do more research in the future I will undoubtedly narrow down my results even further.

3.      Question

Because there are so many ways in which sports and society are intertwined, I am casting a wide net with my initial research questions. How does the role of sports change during times of economic and political turmoil? How does social activism play a role in performance and sports, namely how does it enforce both individual and group opinions on issues such as politics, immigration and cultural beliefs? What role does government play in promoting and structuring youth involvement in sports?

4.      Cultural Sensitivity

There is definitely a cultural difference between Americans and Europeans when it comes to sports and other issues. For example one small difference when it comes to our respective views on sports is the names we call the sport. Americans call it soccer, while in Europe they call it football (or futbol). This is something I need to be conscious of while interviewing and talking with other people. I am also aware of the importance that futbol plays in the countries we are visiting. For me it is just a game I like to casually observe and play, but it is more important in Europe. For example in the town I always stay in while I visit my family in Poland, there are two main futbol teams and the rivalry between them is fiercer than any I’ve encountered in the United States. There are constant fights between people who root for different sides, and the city is painted with graffiti propaganda for each team. The intensity and passion that many of the people who I will likely talk to have for their teams is something I need to be cautious of.

5.      Daily Schedule

Although I would love to spend most of time attending soccer games, unfortunately most of the local teams will be in their offseason and not playing games frequently. I will have to speak with people at local soccer clubs and fan centers, as well as talk to people who I see either wearing soccer jerseys or playing the game. Lastly I would like to interview students about their relationship with sports and the role it plays in their lives.

6.      References

“Almost Half the World Tuned in at Home to Watch 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.” Fédération Internationale De Football Association. N.p., 11 July 2011. Web.

Cabane, Charlotte. “Unemployment Duration and Sport Particpation: Evidence from Germany.” Documents De Travail Du Centre D’Economie De La Sorbonne 49 (2011): 1-24. Web.

“Champions League Final Full-Time Report.” UEFA Champions League. Uninon of European Football Associations, 25 May 2013. Web.

Rigg, Malcom. “Sport, Unemployment and the Community.” Policy Studies. 4th ed. Vol. 6. 62-69. 2007. Web.

“Madrid Street Art Project.” Madrid Street Art Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 June 2013. <;.