Talks / Workshops

La Route des Pêches a besoin de toi! – You are needed to shape the future of Benin’s precious coastline

Kulturforum Sud-Nord , Cotonou, Benin
Deadline: 10 June 2016

La Route des Pêches a besoin de toi! – You are needed to shape the future of Benin’s precious coastline

Kulturforum Sud-Nord Cotonou proposes an interdisciplinary laboratory to foster visions for a sustainable development of the Route des Pêches, the most precious part of Benin’s coastline.

Along the Route des Pêches, a 40 km stretch of Benin’s coastline between Cotonou and Ouidah, the government and investors plan a mayor tourism project. The published master plans, which include touristic and residential buildings up to 95.000 visitors, increasingly draw public criticism. Since the work for the main road has already started, local fishermen have cut and sold their old palm tree plantations driven by the fear of expropriation.

The published plans neglect the specific regional characteristics: The historical meaning for the slave trade is degraded to a pure sightseeing place, integrated beyond any emotional and historic relevance. The local nature of the lagoon, which is home to a great number of endemic species, only serves as scenery for more “imported” wild life from the North.

Nevertheless, the need for the development of the coastline is beyond any doubt: Benin’s population has been growing rapidly in the last decades. The emerging demands of these young people raises the questions for innovative concepts to meet the request for education, work and living.



La Route des Pêches a besoin de toi!
A community based Workshop on the future of Benin’s Coastline
Tutors: Carlotta Werner and Moritz Walter

Apply by e.mail to: and copy until June 10th, midnight.  Letter of motivation, CV must accompany your application. Optionally photos you already took of the Route des Peches.

The workshop will take place from 24th June to 1st July followed by an exhibition 2nd and 3rd July 2016. Location to be announced.


The workshop understands these plans as a chance to start a broader public reflection on the future of the Route des Pêches. Now, after the latest elections in spring 2016, it is a good time to bring new ideas into the public discussion. Therefore, the workshop offers a platform for participants and a wider public to collect ideas and reflections on the current plans and to develop sustainable visions based on local and future interests.

The workshop is addressed to an interdisciplinary group of participants and welcomes neighbours, environmentalists, architects, artists, urban planner and students to join. The chosen working methods will enable everybody to contribute his/her ideas despite their professional background.

In a first step, the workshop analyses the qualities of the site with haptic and narrative methods. Secondly, the participants research background information of the current plans as well as of best-practice and worst-case examples of alternative projects, which are dealing with similar challenges. These findings are opposed with the status quo of the coastline and the master plans to analyse qualities and weaknesses. Finally, we want to develop a vision using models and collages to communicate the ideas. At the last weekend, the workshop presents its results at a public info pavilion. The visitors are encouraged to discuss and contribute. A professional illustrator helps to visualize their wishes and ideas. During the following weekends, tutors repeat this public presentation and discussion.

The constantly growing collection of ideas and demands will be published on a website to create a long-lasting impact.

The workshop is hosted by Kulturforum Süd-Nord, which is located at the Route des Pêches. Since 2012 the non-profit association is holding workshops in Benin on a regular basis. The series of workshops “Empathic Eyes” identify current social matters by artistic means and are looking for sustainable solutions. The chairman Stephan Köhler and the Beninese filmmaker Christiane Chabi-Kao are directing the projects. Georges Adéagbo, one of the most well known contemporary artists of Africa, accompanies this workshop. The Route des Pêches itself as well as objects, which he finds there, are often part of his international shown installations.

The designer Carlotta Werner and the architect Moritz Walter will lead the workshop. Werner is a product and exhibition designer with extensive experience in running international projects amongst others in Benin. Her work is characterized by an interdisciplinary design approach, in which she intensely cooperates with users and producers. Her projects have won a multitude of international awards.

Walter works as architect for public and cultural buildings. For Sunder-Plassmann Architects he recently finished the redesign of the exhibition hall “Deichtorhallen” in Hamburg. He is interested in the cultural identity of sites through buildings and on development of regional tourism by architectural interventions.

Together they already gave talks and workshops in Oman and Iran for up to 60 participants. The outputs were exhibitions of showcases characterizing chosen sites in Muscat and Teheran by collected daily life objects. The variety of different views formed multi-perspective city portraits.





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