#copopcon21
Speakers
Dimitri Hegemann
Photo: MARIE STAGGAT

Dimitri Hegemann

Gründer & Geschäftsführer | Happy Locals gGmbH

Dimitri Hegemann was born in 1954 in a village in Westphalia. Since he did not have the opportunity to realize his ideas of an alternative life in the rural structures, he moved to Berlin. Hegemann gets things moving. He deals with things that are different. On the one hand, it is unusual forms of expression in image and sound, and on the other hand, it is spaces for alternative culture that interest him. Stages of his work are the nonconformist Atonalfestival, the development of the Tresor Club, which decisively brought together young people from West and East Berlin. A year earlier, Hegemann had encountered a new electronic music, called "Techno", in Detroit, which captivated him and significantly influenced the development of Berlin's subculture at that time. In recent years, Hegemann has devoted himself to forgotten industrial spaces. He often refers to himself as a "spatial researcher." The process of transforming a ruin into a living cultural space is his strategy for new, modern workplaces. In fact, his contribution to the successful path from subculture to the creative economy is of seminal importance. Many creative people in Berlin have taken a similar path; they have helped shape the Berlin of today. The wealth of experience of these entrepreneurs is a valuable asset. Dimitri Hegemann therefore founded the consulting agency "Happy Locals gGmbH" together with Annette Ochs in 2012. The "Happy Locals" develop strategies for small and large communities, in Germany as well as abroad, that are affected by migration. Especially for young people, small towns often lack platforms and structures to express themselves. The consequences: Migration to the big cities and a shrinking or even extinction of the smaller communities. This is the point at which the "Happy Locals" want to become active with their expertise! The motto is: "Happy Locals for Happy Communities"!

Dimitri Hegemann is currently active in Detroit, a famously ruinous and dwindling city. But here, too, new little plants of culture have been sprouting again recently. With his Detroit-Berlin Connection, the circle is closed. Hegemann's greatest happiness is being able to give something back to this city. At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, he got a new innovative music from the city in Michigan and was able to move a lot in Berlin with it. Now he's bringing movement to Detroit and has helped push major changes for a vibrant night culture in Detroit, so the city gave him an honorary citizenship. There is now a night mayor and the strict curfew has been softened so that some clubs can finally use the night. (zoned areas) An overarching, life-affirming message runs through his work: not to be discouraged by obstacles and the inevitable failure, but to remain open and curious, to keep going and to see the crises that always arise as opportunities from which new things emerge again.