Recently I was interviewed by the Berlin Change Days team. Please visit their Webpage and register for a unique program of workshops and talks!
BCD: Tell me, who is Jascha Rohr, who is the person that we are going to meet in November 2010?
JR:I am situated in Oldenburg, in Northern Germany, and I live here with my family, I have a son. My background is Sociology and Philosophy, I studied in Germany and in England, London, after I was trained as a musical instrument maker in building lutes. And then, sitting in the workshop I noticed that my intellectual hunger wasn´t satisfied, so I started studying Sociology and Philosophy, and while doing that I founded my first business. That was the Permaculture Academy. Permaculture is a design approach for designing sustainable habitats. I started it to make this knowledge available in Germany.
But the Permaculture Academy was a small grassroots business and it wouldn’t be sufficient to sustain my family. Also professionally I became more and more interested in design thinking and participation and the power of generative processes. So together with my partner who is a landscape architect, we founded the Institute for Participatory Design. We had basically two main qualities in our work: one is participation while we understand participation not only as participation of humans but also of the context, the environments. So in our work we try to let the environment participate as much as possible, in the same way as we participate with people. The second basis is the design approach. Often participation is thought of as deliberative processes: discussions, dialogues; and we wanted to shift it more into the direction of design and action e.g. hands-on prototyping, drafting, writing concepts. Our goal is to enable everyone to work more or less with the same methods as professional designers, architects, concept developers work. So, that’s where I am now.