The rainbow bench
The rainbow bench
On the occasion of World Diversity Day on May 21, 2022, a new eye-catcher was inaugurated on the Gurten: a rainbow-colored bench with the inscription "There's room for everyone here". The loan of the Bernese action artist Jrene Rolli fits the foundation motto of the local mountain "Gurten for all" and is already a popular photo subject after a short time.
Why a rainbow-colored bench and what does the Gurten – Park im Grünen want to achieve with it? Let's start at the beginning. I have known Jrene Rolli for a long time. She was once my colleague at the Migros Aare Cooperative and later supervised my master's thesis in the continuing education program at the Institute for Marketing and Corporate Management at the University of Bern. And since then, we've been following each other on the various social media channels. Then, about a year ago, I saw this post on Instagram.
Not even a few seconds later, I wrote Jrene via direct message that I had a suitable place for the "Here is room for everyone" bench. After a few times of writing back and forth and a personal meeting on the Gurten, it was clear to both of us that the bench would fit perfectly on the Gurten and would fit into the award concept of the Migros Culture Percentage. Thus, the location and the financial participation in the project were clarified within a very short time. But how did Jrene come up with the idea of the "Here is room for everyone" bench in the first place? I was able to ask Jrene a few questions about the rainbow bench, diversity and her connection to the Gurten:
How did the idea of the rainbow bench come about?
What does diversity mean to you?
Diversity means enrichment and freedom for me: When things are different from what I'm used to, I can learn new things. That enriches me a lot. At the same time, diversity allows me to go my own way. This freedom is important to me.
After Jrene's exciting statements, I come back to the diversity issue. I maintain that we still have room for improvement when it comes to diversity in the workplace. However, it is often a subconscious process. Take the recruitment process, for example. When first getting to know each other, similarities make the other person seem more likeable right away. What is the reason for this? We view most situations, fellow human beings or behavior through our personal filter. This filter is shaped by our culture, education, upbringing or other value-determining experiences.
Or, to put it another way, by quickly and automatically categorizing people into social groups based on certain characteristics, we unconsciously ascribe to them characteristics associated with that particular group. This categorization makes it difficult for people to be perceived in their unique individuality with their particular talents. This phenomenon of unconscious bias is referred to as "unconscious bias." It would go beyond the scope of this blog post if I were to now list possible recipes for avoiding unconscious bias. If you still want to know more about it, here is a great listing including solutions to the different types of "unconscious bias".
Finally, here are two figures on diversity at Gurten:
Head Marketing & Sales
different nations in the company
women in management positions
Jrene Rolli, *1986, lives in the city of Bern and is behind actions such as "Bern schreibt Postkarten", "Help with a Hello", "eleinizäme für Bärn" and the "Bärner Brüggelouf". She is a self-employed UX writer and copywriter, author and action artist.