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The Berlin Stadtbahn

On the track of the Berlin Stadtbahn - the Berlin urban railway - A photo workshop on industrial heritage

Project week from 8 Sep 2009 to 10/24 Sep 2009
In September, the pupils in form 8b of the Schule am Zille-Park (Zille-Park School) in Berlin Mitte went on a historical discovery tour for one week. They researched the history of Berlin from the beginning of industrialisation, by way of the example of the Berlin urban railway, and present their results in photographs. Eight collages were prepared in which the students showed the cultural, technical and social changes accompanying the construction of the Berlin urban railway. Historic photos and postcards of the urban railway stations of Friedrichstrasse, Lehrter Stadtbahnhof (today: main station) and Alexanderplatz are contrasted to present-day photos taken by the students themselves.

1st project day - After the students were introduced to the subject of industrialisation there were sent out to search for suitable historical photos in the Museum archive, well equipped with a magnifying glass and white gloves. One group at a time conducted research on the stations of Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstrasse and Lehrter Stadtbahnhof (today's main station). Two selected sites were the basis for the second project day: searching for traces of the past on-site.

2nd project day - The students visited the three stations and tried to find the sites where their two favourite photographs were taken. They took a new photo of the same subject again, using a digital camera. Details such as the junction indicator, but also their own discoveries, were other subjects. The fun and joy of photography dispelled any frustration over the fact that the main actor of the day, the urban railway, ended up not operating all day.

3rd project day - At the Schule am Zille-Park, the students previewed their photos on the computer and edited the best ones with the help of an expert. The finished photos were then used for the presentation.

4th project day - On the last project day, each student presented their work to their classmates, explaining to them the "Yesterday" and "Today" realities they had found in the Berlin urban railway system - the differences and similarities.

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