Questions for the New MVHS Managing Director

Questions for the New MVHS Managing Director Dr. Martin Ecker, the New MVHS Managing Director Benedikt Feiten/GMG

From November 2020, the Münchner Volkshochschule adult education centre (MVHS) has a new managing director. Arriving in the middle of the corona pandemic and in the last season before the Gasteig’s temporary relocation, Dr. Martin Ecker left his position as director of the Nuremberg Bildungscampus, which comprises the city’s library and adult education centre, to return to Munich, where he studied and lived for many years.

What did you miss most about Munich during your time in Nuremberg?
To quote [singer-songwriter] Willy Michl: »That’s the glitter of the Isar in the midst of paradise«. I can’t wait to experience this again in the summer – together with others, and without a mask.

What memories do you associate with the Gasteig? What does it mean to you?
At first, I was a little put off by the building’s imposing architecture. Being an avid user of the city library and occasionally attending concerts or to events in the Black Box, I was actually in and out of the building a lot and quickly learned to appreciate it as a cultural centre. For me, the Gasteig is also a powerful architectural expression of the importance of culture and education in Munich. I am delighted that its role will now become even more visible to the outside through its redesign, which will create a building that is both open and barrier-free in every respect.

With the Gasteig’s renovation and the temporary move to Sendling, the MVHS is also facing major changes. What do you see as the biggest opportunity that this transition will bring?
Adult education always consists of disrupting the familiar. That’s how we learn. It is only uncertainty that prompts us to reflect on our own actions, which in turn allows change to happen. Transitions are also invariably associated with uncertainty and sometimes fear, and we are fully aware of that. Moving to a temporary accommodation will also mean a phase of uncertainty for the MVHS and the people who work and study there, and the new location with its novel, unfamiliar, exciting perspectives will offer opportunities for development.

A short mental journey to the year 2026: How do you envisage the MVHS and its programme in the renovated New Gasteig?
The desire for a light, spacious learning environment will stay with us, as will the desire to meet others, to communicate, to create a sense of physical community; something that is perhaps more important than ever. Apart from that, the MVHS will, as always, respond to what people in this city need to acquire skills and knowledge, pursue their interests, see themselves as part of a democratic society and develop personally.

Which of the courses and activities of the MVHS would you want to try for yourself, or even create if it doesn’t exist yet?
I can’t really think of anything that the MVHS doesn’t already have in its programme. Personally, I’m curious about beekeeping, and we already have a course on that. As someone who works mainly in the office, I appreciate the importance of contact with nature.

About Dr. Martin Ecker

- Born in 1967 in Weiden in der Oberpfalz
- PhD in theatre studies with a master’s degree in adult education
- Director of the Bildungscampus of the City of Nuremberg until 2020
- Serves on the MVHS executive board together with Programme Director Dr. Susanne May. His focus: finance & controlling, human resources & organisation, IT & location development
- Misses Franconian cuisine
- Loves nature and long-distance hiking

We wish Dr. Martin Ecker every success as managing director of the MVHS and hope that our Gasteig bees will find a new home on the roof of the New Gasteig. Then nothing will stand in the way of an after-work beekeeping session.

Interview and text by Maria Zimmerer
Photos: Benedikt Feiten

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