Events | Carpool Community Engagement – How Civil Society Shapes L.A.’s Neighborhoods: Part I (Video Release)

Online | May 9, 2023 | 9:00 AM (PDT)

Thomas Mann Fellows Rubina Zern-Breuer, Innovation Researcher and Swenja Zaremba, Cultural Studies Researcher, explore L.A.’s diverse approaches to community engagement and civil society initiatives in a two-part video series of interviews. Join them on a tour through L.A.’s neighborhoods and learn about how these different projects help local communities and what we can learn from these approaches in Germany.

During their Fellowships at the Thomas Mann House, historian and innovation researcher Rubina Zern-Breuer and Swenja Zaremba, research associate at the Centre for Cultural and General Studies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, focused on meaningful interactions between public administration and civil society. The two met with a variety of activists, social workers, and community organizers to talk about their practices and experiences in the City of Los Angeles. From infrastructural challenges to problems with racism, housing, gang criminality and poverty: How can local participatory approaches strengthen trust, help individuals and repair urban infrastructures? What transformative potential for public organizations as well as for civil society networks can these approaches hold? Together with their guests, they explore how collaborative approaches on the local level can effect communities – and what we can learn from them for Germany in terms of trust and collaboration.

Join Rubina and Swenja in the Thomas Mann House van on their tour through different Los Angeles communities! Learn more about the different approaches, methods, projects and civil society initiatives and how they make a difference in the city.

Episode 1 includes interviews and tours with Jordan Wynne, Housing and Homelessness Policy Expert at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Blair Imani, Author & Activist, and Tony Brown, CEO & Activist at Heart of Los Angeles.

Stay tuned for Episode 2 next month!

Video (Coming Soon!)


© privat
Rubina Zern-Breuer is the head of the transfer center at the University of Stuttgart. Between 2018 and 2022 she has been research project coordinator at the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, where she has headed the Innovation Lab for Public Administration and also taught and published in the field of public innovation. After studying Modern and Contemporary History as well as Sociology at the University of Karlsruhe, she completed her PhD at the University of Würzburg and spent time abroad at the DHI Rome. In addition to coordinating public science projects at ZAK | Centre for Cultural and General Studies at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Rubina Zern-Breuer held further positions at the University of Heidelberg and as a senior researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI. She has been a Fellow at InnOsci / Stifterverband and is a 2022 Thomas Mann Fellow.
© privat
Swenja Zaremba heads the German network of the Anna Lindh Foundation on behalf of the Goethe-Institut e.V. and is research associate at the Centre for Cultural and General Studies (ZAK) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). She studied Literature, Journalism and Communication Science in Karlsruhe and Nancy, France. In addition to coordinating public science projects at ZAK, other positions took her to the headquarters of the Goethe-Institut as a trainee and to the University of Damascus for a teaching assignment. She publishes on topics in the field of international cultural relations, civil society and participation, interculturality and internationalization. She curates international cultural festivals and activities, e.g. the storytelling project She was a member of the working group "Civil Society in Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy" of the German Foreign Office, Fellow at the Heinrich Böll Foundation and selected participant for College of Europe's Course El-Hiwar on Euro-Arab Relations. She is a member of the working group “Middle East/North Africa" of the German Foreign Office. Swenja Zaremba is a 2022 Thomas Mann Fellow.

Go back