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iJuLa – intersectional YouthLabs in Cologne

Creating new spaces through art: For a diverse and inclusive Cologne for all of us. From 2020 to 2024 the iJuLa-project, the first PopUp-Creative space opened in Herthastraße in Cologne Zollstock in July 2021

#RRXP – The ROOTS & ROUTES Experience

Artists from 6 to 10 countries. Two weeks of developing ideas, music, scenes together. A joint transdisciplinary production. Get involved!

RRCGN Baltrum projects

Each year in November, we travel to the North Sea island of Baltrum with young artists from several countries. Between dunes, storms and sandy beaches, exciting artistic projects are created in small groups.

Multiple people sitting on a beach in Greece, behind them; the waves crash.

Sci-Fi 22

The project “Sci-Fi: Self Care Interaction For community Intelligence” has 30 people from 6 participating countries come together in larissa, greece to work on an international artistic project and empower each other, reflect their positions in global structures and experiment on an artistic level.

A group of Participants in Bergisch Gladbach at a video shoot

Music and Movies Connecting Countries

parallel running workshops with exchange elements. Young people in the cities of cologne and istanbul worked together beyond national borders in autumn 2021.

Multiple People are standing on a stage and dancing together. A person in a blue dress dances in front of them.

The ROOTS & ROUTES Experience 2022

The ROOTS & ROUTES Experience has an international group of young artists develop an interdisciplinary stage show within two weeks. Working together, uniting their artistic fields and supported and coached by professional Artists.

Performance in the rooms of PARC in Florence.

Re-designing Wor(l)ds

Re-designing Wor(l)ds (RDW22) is an international youth exchange project bringing together 31 young people from urban and rural areas of Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Italy, to jointly reflect on socio-political issues that concern them deeply, with a specific focus on the effects of the pandemic on the development of their means and possibilities.

A group of people stand in different poses on a dance floor with sand circles and tennis balls

OASES for Change – Organising Artistic Self-Empowerment Spaces

In the OASES project, partners from 10 countries are working together on the question: How can youth encounters be designed to empower participants to unleash their creative potential; to create artworks in transnational collaboration around themes of shared meaning; and to effect change in their local environments and in a globalized world?

multiple people looking at something outside of the picture frame.

The ROOTS & ROUTES Peer Coach Academy 2022

Once again, the ROOTS & ROUTES Peer Coach Academy will be held as part of the project “iJuLa – intersectional YouthLaboratories in the Veedel”. Registrations for young artists are still possible.

Several people stand in a room and look at a person demonstrating dance steps. Photo © Aileen Wessely

The ROOTS & ROUTES Peer Coach Academy 2016/17

In 2016 and 2017, The ROOTS & ROUTES Peer Coach Academy ran as a nationwide project: young artists from Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Hesse, Munich, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony trained as junior lecturers for cultural and media education youth work.

Ten people are in a room. They are all bent over and stretch their right arm in the air. Photo © Nora Schwarz


Dance as you are! In the fall of 2021, young people between the ages of 14 and 18 can participate free of charge in a street dance and theater project with proven RRCGN instructors Elisa Giovannetti and Yasemin “Joya” Saat.

Nippes Hip-Hop Network

The hip-hop network in the Cologne-Nippes district has been organizing a workshop phase every fall since 2001, during which there are dance, music and graffiti workshops in various youth centers and schools. RRCGN has been active in the network since 2015.

Several people are sitting together in a circle. One person is further ahead in the picture, sticking an index card on a poster. Photo © Yves Sanwidi

iJuLa Kick-off Academy 2020

In October 2020, 18 members of the iJuLa youth curatorium set off from Cologne to Heek: At the 10-day iJuLa Kick-off Academy, ideas for offers, workshops and events in the future iJuLa space were developed.

Several youngsters stand in a forrest with masks on

ROOTS & ROUTES goes Bergisch Gladbach 2020

The annual fall break workshop week “ROOTS & ROUTES goes Bergisch Gladbach” took place in 2020 linked to the project “iJuLa – intersectional youth labs in the Veedel”. Along the theme “Hip-Hop for Democracy”, 29 young people dealt artistically with the topic of “fear”.

Several people are sitting next to each other. The person in the foreground is in focus, the people in the background are out of focus. Photo © Aileen Wessely

The ROOTS & ROUTES Peer Coach Academy 2021

After a four-year break, the ROOTS & ROUTES Peer Coach Academy finally took place again in 2021 – this time as part of the project “iJuLa – intersectional YouthLabs in Cologne”. 20 young artists took part in the block seminar phase in Heek.

Two people sit side by side on two chairs in a red-lit room.

Strategic Cooperations

As a full member of the international ROOTS & ROUTES network, RRCGN regularly participates in transnational projects multiple times a year, that serve to further develop the network and its methods and approaches, as well as international youth work with artistic approaches more generally.

Four young people are in this picture. They are standing in a formation with their arms out to the side. Photo © Stefphane Stuggi Loria

Local projects

Although RRCGN has a focus on international exchange work, it is also permanently active in local projects in Cologne and the surrounding area. Step1 projects are aimed at young people who want to take their first steps in trying out an art form.

Several people are in a room. There are many lights, laptops and drinks spread around the room. Photo © Alexandros Chartonas

Sending out projects

ROOTS & ROUTES is an international network; RRCGN sends groups of young artists to projects of our network partners several times a year.

Many people with a Peer Coach Academy Tshirt stand next to each other in a room and show the shirt. Photo © Nora Schwarz

The ROOTS & ROUTES Peer Coach Academy

Since 2008, partner organizations in the international ROOTS & ROUTES network have jointly developed a concept and curriculum for a cultural peer coach training; for young artists from performing arts and media who would like to pass on their competencies to peers and younger people as peer coaches.

People with masks sit in a comfortable room with sofas

iJuLa – intersectional YouthLabs in Cologne

The iJuLa project opens spaces in Cologne, in which artistic work on intersectional and queer topics can take place. We invite young artists to create these spaces with us and fill them with life and ideas.

A person in an artistic abstract bird costume stands in a meadow at dusk, looking upwards at an angle and spreading his wings. Photo: Gabriele Cinti

Baltrum 2019 – Future Lab Young Europe

38 young adults from 6 countries met for 2 weeks on Baltrum and developed visions of the future in small, internationally mixed working groups, projecting the risks and opportunities of current developments into the future.

Four people stand together in a room and look into the camera. They present their 'Contact Lens' T-shirts and hold a stuffed animal, a Manatee, in their hands. Photo © Sascha Düx

Kontaktlinse – Cologne is full of art!

The Instagram platform “Kontaktlinse” (German for “contact lense”) offers a space for artists from Cologne to present themselves and their art. Regardless of the art form, genre or professional standards, people with a creative passion are portrayed here.

Five people play together on an electric piano. A long cloth worm is attached to their wrists so that it moves when they play. Photo © Nora Schwarz _ Nora Mangu Photography

The ROOTS & ROUTES Experience 2019

For a two-week period, 40 young artists from different countries further developed the working methods that were developed during the previous project in 2017. Coached by professional artists, an interdisciplinary stage performance was created.

Two people hold long-stemmed lamps, a third person dances underneath. Photo: Almut Elhardt

Street to Stage

Young people from urban dance scenes are confronted with big questions: how can artistic career aspirations be realised, how can their own talents and abilities be further developed? The dancers, choreographers and dance instructors Daniela Rodriguez Romero and Bahar Gökten from nutrospektif bring in their own experiences to accompany the participants within these exciting fields.

A person with a blue glowing ball in their mouth, holds two of them to their eyes as well. Photo © Rebecca Lena

Generation Europe – Arts and Social Responsibility

From June 29th to July 16th, 30 young artists from Cologne (Germany), Florence (Italy) and Larissa (Greece) jointly worked on the themes of “proximity and distance” – “communication and isolation” – “physical and virtual encounter”. But not at the same place – because of COVID-19, this was the first RRCGN international youth exchange where the participating groups stayed in their respective countries and worked together via online communication.

Several people dressed in black and white stand on a stage and stretch their arms in the air.

ROOTS & ROUTES goes Bergisch Gladbach 2018

45 young musicians, dancers, graffiti and media artists from London, Rotterdam, Liverpool, Cologne and Bergisch Gladbach live on stage: together they create the stage show “Who am I?

Several people are holding balloons to their lips.


This two-year transnational project, together with 7 partner organisations from Europe, combines artistic methods and language learning.

Two people working on a flipchart. In the background, two people with a small child.


The project brought together 7 partner organisations from the international ROOTS & ROUTES network over a period of 14 months to create fertile environments for non-formal adult education. Methods were collected to raise awareness and counter prejudices and stereotypes through artistic activities.

Many people dressed in black stand in front of 5 doors on a stage. photo © Nora Schwarz

The ROOTS & ROUTES Experience 2017

Perspectives from young artists from 10 countries came together to discuss their ideas and wishes and to make art out of them. They were accompanied by an artistic core team around the renowned break dancer and choreographer Youngung Sebastian “Jaekwon” Kim.

Several people are standing on a stage. Those in the background hold trumpets and trombones in their hands and stand in front of microphones. The four young people in the foreground are playing the drums. Photo © Nora Schwarz

Drum & Brass

This project brought together 30 young musicians and dancers from Germany, the Netherlands and France for a creative exchange between big band, marching band and hip-hop.

A person on a stage is illuminated with a spotlight with the colours of the rainbow. Photo: Almut Elhardt

Young Arts for Queer Rights and Visibility (#YAfQRaV)

The project provided a framework that encouraged young artists with different sexual orientations and gender self-definitions to reach out to other young people with strong messages for queer equality, inclusiveness and non-discrimination. Young people were supported in analyzing discriminatory actions and language, and in countering them with artistic means, advocating for queer rights, visibility and recognition.

A group of dancers on stage. Photo: Homard Payette

Mind Ur Step

“Mind Ur Step” brings together eleven professional urban dance artists in an international dance production. The project aims to bring together the urban dance scene and established theatres.

Two people sit at a table, in front of them a laptop, a jukebox and a beamer. Photo © Sascha Düx

LevelUp! 2017

“LevelUp!” was an artistic-pedagogical training week. 18 young artists learned methods and approaches for their own cultural-pedagogical work from well-known coaches like Melbeatz, Mamadee and Niels “Storm” Robitzky.

Several people side by side in a row in a sports hall holding hands. Photo © Stefanie Karrenbrock

DACRO – Dance meets Acrobatics

In the project DACRO – Dance Meets Acrobatics, an interdisciplinary dance theater piece with aerial acrobatics was developed over a six-month period with weekly training and rehearsal sessions and performed on July 1 as part of the festival “Füreinander Miteinander” in Cologne-Mülheim.

Neun PErsonen sitzen im Kreis auf dem Boden. Foto © Stefphane Stuggi Loria

Re:Cognition – Moves, Beats & Rhymes

In our society, recognition is often awarded on the basis of material wealth, formal education, German language skills and appearance. We invited young people to reflect on the topic of “recognition” and to work on it artistically.

Close-up of a person with green eyes, brown hair and a blue hood. Photo: Rebecca Lena


In this two-year transnational project, 8 partner organisations from all over Europe and Tunisia worked for social cohesion and against discrimination, racism and Islamophobia.

A person in a white dress dances barefoot on stage. A band plays in the background. Photo © Aileen Wessely

The ROOTS & ROUTES Experience 2016

Young artists from the most different corners of Europe came together to create art from their ideas and wishes. Music, dance, media, drama and poetry were combined in a transdisciplinary way and in international exchange, a joint performance was created that opens up views of a possible Europe of the future.

A person in the middle with rabbit ears is holding a microphone to his mouth. Around him are other people and they are moving around. Photo © Nora Schwarz _ Nora Mangu Photography

The ROOTS & ROUTES Experience (#RRXP)

What happens when a puppeteer from Athens, a drummer from Rotterdam and a filmmaker from Cologne develop a project together? Along with 30 to 40 other young artists from all over Europe (and beyond)?

Dancers and musicians on stage. Photo: Aileen Wessely

Bridging Rhythms

20 young musicians and dancers from Istanbul travelled to Cologne to meet and exchange with young german artists through dance and music during a one-week workshop. Joint musical pieces and choreographies were developed and a transcultural dialogue was encouraged.

A person with a bare torso is illuminated by a light, looks into the distance and has a powder compact in his hand. In the background, this person can be seen on a screen where the person is shaving. Photo: Aileen Wessely

Baltrum 2015 – (De-)Construct Gender

Young artists from 9 countries came together on the North Sea island of Baltrum to develop short films, songs, music videos and small live performances on the theme of gender.

Four people are standing next to a canvas. One person holds a box with several spray cans in his hand, from which one person takes out a can. Photo © Andrä Klaukien

R&R goes Bergisch Gladbach 2015

At “ROOTS & ROUTES goes Bergisch Gladbach”, 47 young people aged 12 to 18 produced songs, choreographies or video clips on the topic of the welcome culture for refugees.

Group picture with laptops

OnGea! ONline GEAr enhancing Youth Work

In the project “OnGea! ONline GEAr enhancing Youth Work” we develop digital tools for youth work. The OnGea system is made available as an open source tool free of charge for other youth work organisations and networks.

ROOTS & ROUTES lettering drawn in the air with light painting. Photo: Light factor

24Hz Festival 2015

In August 2015, a new festival for urban media art was launched in Cologne, to be followed by others every two years: international, transdisciplinary, multi-layered, inspiring. Taking place in Cologne’s Südstadt and bringing together young artists from Cologne and all over Europe.

A row of people standing on a stage with flowers. Photo: Aileen Wessely

Urban Art and Media Exchange

With the support of professional coaches, young media artists from 7 countries dealt with the topic of “war, peace and media” in interdisciplinary and international small groups.

Two people are talking. In the background, another person is blurred in the picture. Photo © Aileen Wessely

LevelUp! 2015

“LevelUp!” was an artistic-pedagogical training week. 18 young artists learned methods and approaches for their own cultural-pedagogical work from well-known coaches like Melbeatz, Mamadee and Niels “Storm” Robitzky.

Three people lean on the legs of the person next to them. This creates a triangular performance. Photo © Aileen Wessely


In this project, which lasted three years, young artists from Germany, Italy and Lithuania dealt with racism and discrimination and developed public artistic statements on the subject.

In the middle there is a Person with a guitar and to the left and right there are two people sitting with a bass guitar and  a cajón. Photo: Yomi Hitijahubessy

Baltrum 2014 – Music and Media for an Open Europe

For the very first project of our association, 48 people from 8 countries travelled to the North Sea island of Baltrum: In the cold November wind, films, songs and performances for an open Europe were created.

A person reads at an illuminated lectern in front of an audience. Photo: Aileen Wessely

Routes to Employment

This transnational project, which lastet for two years, had the goal to improve the career opportunities and competences of young artists and creative professionals. In this context, an info sheet on the topic of “Legal status forms for artists in Germany” was also produced.

Four people are walking along a path. To the left and right are meadows and dunes, in the background is a building. Photo: Rebecca Lena


Since the very first international exchange organized by RRCGN took place on the North Sea island of Baltrum in November 2014, we have been here almost every year: Between sandy beaches, autumn storms and the Wadden Sea, young artists work in internationally mixed small groups on joint thematic productions.

A microwave from the inside with a cracked egg. The image has a step train on the fail again. Fail better! - Theater workshop stands.

Fail again. Fail better!

From October 2020 to March 2021, 15 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 from Cologne dealt intensively with the topic of failure. In the joint examination with this topic, an exciting online theater performance was created.