Since 2019, the Chair of Tropical Forestry is collaborating under the lead of Prof. Jürgen Pretzsch with the Diakonie St. Martin for the project “kaffeepause” (= coffee break). “kaffeepause” is an art and education project for people with disabilities. Every year, since 2013, more than 150 participants from different places in Saxony work together for this project. They create own literary texts and pictures for an annual theme, which are published in the magazine “kaffeepause”, which has as its logo prepared by special people to be read by everyone. It serves as a medium through which people with disabilities can express their thoughts and feelings, and additionally offers a space to meet and reduce prejudices. Some of the themes of the previous years were “water”, “time”, “women and men”.
The theme of the current year is “trees”. Prof. Pretzsch already met with the group in January of this year in the Albertinum Art Gallery in Dresden, to explore the art collection and meaning of trees and forest for the people over the last centuries through art. The museum visit shall ignite some ideas for the drawing and writing process of the project. The Corona restrictions interrupted the collaboration, but started at again in late summer.
During September, two joint meetings were held at the Forest Botanical Garden in Tharandt. Established in 1811, this arboretum has a long history and high diversity of trees. It is the perfect place to learn about trees and get active with drawing. Prof. Pretzsch and three staff members of the institute, Maxi Domke, Kendisha Hintz and Gabriela Huidobro, held a talk and discussion with up to twenty people with disabilities about the role and meaning of trees from the ecological and social perspective, and the interaction of people with them. The participants raised questions about the current environmental situation we are facing. They also expressed curiosity about the role of forests and people in the tropical countries we represented – Colombia, Ethiopia, and Indonesia. All in all, we had a lively discussion.
The participants also had the opportunity to learn about the species on the Forest Botanical Garden with Dr. Ulrich Pietzarka, from the Chair of Forest Botany and curator of the garden.
The final magazine shall be published on 21 November 2020, and the pictures will be presented in an exhibition with a vernissage in July 2021, probably in the buildings of the Tharandt University campus.
For this project the Diakonie St. Martin works together with the Evangelische Erwachsenenbildung Sachsen (Protestant adult education Saxony). Funds are provided by the two Saxon State Ministries for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion as well as Education and Cultural Affairs (Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Soziales und Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt, Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Kultus).
By Gabriela Huidobro, Kendisha Hintz and Maxi Domke