serendipity, learning, together

I first met the zusa team in the summer 2014 on the sunny terrace of the ZK/U Center for Art and Urbanistics in Berlin. Our conversations revealed a common challenge in documenting collective experiences like events and collaborations.

We are now eight years later, and many visual design collaborations with the wider zusa community followed that first serendipitous encounter: infographics mapping program collaboration processes, re-designing the Tandem visual identity, and more recently designing the new zusa visual identity, and more.

llustration from A Meeting, a Report, a book documenting a 2014 Tandem program meeting in Berlin with a mix of images and participant stories

Throughout their work, the zusa team tries to contribute positively to the social and artistic life of communities in Europe and beyond. They are a changing yet stable group of people who have worked for over ten years to collaborate on a dizzying number of projects. Collectively, they strive to take a refreshing and innovative approach to work at the intersection of culture and civic engagement.

Documentation from a spring 2015 Tandem Community & Participation meeting in Birmingham, England

The team comes from diverse backgrounds and they aim to cultivate an atmosphere of respect and openness for different people and cultures in the regions where they work. Their collaborations reflect these values and the urgencies they share with their community and partners. And they make sure to work in a way that is full of life, joy, and generous hospitality. They are not afraid to roll their sleeves upand to just jump in. And that’s what really stands out to me about zusa: the many joyous, creative moments and the variety of people that I have met through them. Urban researchers, cultural managers, photographers, from Kiev, to Cairo, to Amsterdam. With lively ideas on everything from the value of intangible heritage to how to make room for European others. Learning from and with them has greatly enriched my life.

I strongly recommend zusa to people looking to learn beyond their existing networks, who are open to exploring new approaches and want to work with a team who facilitates collaborations within the EU and beyond, to find common goals. They are an especially good fit for people working in culture who also have a strong interest in topics like urbanism, cross-cultural work, and social issues.

Business card and logo for the new zusa visual identity design

I am grateful for the many collaborative relationships that have grown out of my work with zusa over the past eight years, and I am looking forward to the next decade.

Tandem visual identity design, with screen design by Willem Prins / Somtijds and photography by Constanze Flamme
The spring 2015 Tandem Community & Participation meeting in Birmingham, England. Photo: Guido Bosua


  • Erica Brisson

    Erica Brisson (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist and designer with a focus on branding and illustration. With a background in visual art and community-based work, Erica brings a people-centered lens to design. Fluent in English, French, and German, Erica loves to work across cultures and languages. She is very interested in organizational development, social impact, and the future of learning.