Celebrating Diversity and Inclusivity: The Pride Journey at The Social Hub Vienna #Interview 🌈

Celebrating Diversity and Inclusivity: The Pride Journey at The Social Hub Vienna #Interview 🌈

Hey Van, how are you doing today?
Great, thank you, Mathias. June is a very busy month for all of us, but it’s always such a pleasure to welcome you here in The Social Hub Vienna.

Oh, I love to be here, thanks a lot. We do start our interviews with a short Word Wrap, I would kindly ask you to answer very short! Let’s start:

+ Your last AHA moment: When I found out that the birthplace of croissants is in fact Vienna! It’s true, google it. 🥐
+ PRIDE means: A celebration of life and love, of who you are, no matter what. 🌈
+ Friends call me: Happy. 🥳
+ Favourite food: Nothing beats a fresh pizza. And maybe some stracciatella ice cream for dessert. 🍕
+ The last time you cried was: When watching Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Yes, I am someone who cries when a CGI raccoon is suffering. 🚀 {Mat: Awww}
+ Favourite song: Anything Dua Lipa. Her songs just become my summer anthems. 🎤
+ Superpower wish: Telepathy would be cool. ✨
+ The best idea people ever came up with: Putting fried chicken on top of waffles and pouring maple syrup all over it. 🧇🍗  {both laughing}

This interview is done with Van Bludyan, Community and Events Manager & Connector at the TSH Vienna and Mathias Haas, Curator at TEDxDonauinsel.  The TSH Vienna is main partner for our TEDx Donauinsel Salon #PRIDE 

Thx for that, let’s start with our interview. Talking about Ideas, TEDx is all about Ideas worth spreading, what’s the idea behind TSH? 

The idea behind The Social Hub is that we provide a space where people come to learn, stay, work, and play. You can stay with us overnight, or not, but our community is designed to welcome students, tourists, neighbours and businesspeople all under one roof. In the industry it’s called hybrid hospitality, and we are pretty sure we were one of the first to offer such a concept… It means we can welcome everyone – inspire them with our creative events programs and provide a place to work out, co-work and get together.

That’s actually pretty cool, you can feel that vibe in here. Let me ask you, how does Innovation happen and look like at TSH?

The TSH journey began 10 years ago, we started welcoming students, but we quickly started attracting purposeful people from across the globe with shared values and interests­; people with a lifelong learning mindset.

We saw this shift in who our customer was, and we kept innovating to provide what they needed – especially in Covid time we were forced to innovate, as was the whole industry. This is where we really saw how important our TSH community was – how important it was to have a safe space to work, live and learn from each other. We keep innovating – from our active classes and gyms to our talks and hosted experiences, and we are learning what the new generations of guests want too.

And when and where do you personally get ideas from? I mean, when you catch an Idea, what do you do with it? Do you have an Example?

We try and stay grounded – a lot of our ideas start with our community – our students, and co-workers. We also work with 150 ambassadors across Europe – people who are deeply connected within the cities. For example for The Social Hub Vienna we have 6 Ambassadors that are inspirational and have expertise in the digital, educational, creative industries that have a direct input into our community programming and activations and more than 340 co-working community members where our spaces are a place for people to connect. We really are a reflection of the community out there in Vienna, connecting our guests to locals and the local life.

Wow, I love that. So tell me why does TSH actually partner with TEDx?

Where TEDx is ideas worth spreading, we offer space to connect and come up with those ideas, and meet other people to make those ideas better. WE want to create positive impact at The Social Hub, and are pleased to say that partnering with TEDx and a host of others gets us closer to that goal.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment (and meanwhile Education) and Design. We are sitting here at TSH and I love the design here. It is happy, colourful and playful. Can you tell us a bit more about the idea of the design?

Our spaces are designed to be flexible and allow a mix of uses – the spaces we have consider everything from business meetings to art shows, to events and experiences, sport and movement, community events, gyms, co-working, cinemas and auditoriums, we can host and collaborate with film festivals to Friday drinks.  They are deliberately designed for interaction and to spark a conversation and a smile.

Oh, you got me smiling! 😀

Take a little tour through TSH with us

As it is June, how does TSH support/life PRIDE?

At The Social Hub we pride ourselves on being a place to find and build community – providing locations where connections grow, ideas spark, and change happens. That philosophy is important year round, especially to our LGBTQI+ community members that look for a safe space to come together and learn at our events, work in our co-working, or stay with us.

As members of the community ourselves, we understand how important it is to have spaces where the community (collective) is both celebrated and welcomed, especially when struggling with issues and challenges related to being yourself.

We work hard to be inclusive and ensure that for our guests that are struggling with any form of discrimination impacting their mental health or identification issues, we have someone to turn to.

We provide a complimentary mental health service Open Up to The Social Hub community (employees, students, co-workers and extended stay guests).

Wow, that’s impressive and so important.

Absolutely. And this summer, we are celebrating the LGBTQI+ community across our European hubs including The Social Hub Vienna, we have over half a dozen special LGBTQI+ focused community events. Of which four have a received direct endorsement from Vienna Pride. The programme is a real mix of interactive and educational events including: a sexual education information booth and workshop, facilitated in partnership with Aids Hilfe Wien, designed to inform both our internal and external communities about sexual health. We are also hosting a ‘Boozy Bingo & Meet and Greet’ event featuring Bubblegum Lecter, promising an enjoyable evening of networking, and fun with this fabulous personality. Another highlight is our TEDx Donauinsel salon, where over 12 speakers and performers who support the LGBTQIA+ community will be featured. We’re particularly delighted and proud that Mrs. Katharina, the Managing Director of Pride Vienna, will be one of the speakers.

We are supporting the LGBTQI+ community by providing spaces to celebrate and enjoy as well as educate on the larger and smaller issues that trouble the community. We do this through ballrooms, floats, parades, talks, workshops, cake making, artists, and we will soon announce a European-wide program to facilitate these conversations year-round. Everyone is welcome – wherever they are on their journey, or as allies and advocates.

TSH Employees go through our Diversity & Inclusion training. This workshop is an interactive session during which a group of our people Deep dives into the foundations of D&I – micro-agressions, unconscious bias, inclusive language – and learns more about what it means to be an inclusive team, while being challenged to think about how they can bring D&I into their day-to-day job and collectively Work on an inclusive company culture.

Reading is for many a world of gaining knowledge and ideas, of dreaming and creativity. What is a book you recommend everyone should read?

If you need a recommendation, then CITIZENS by Jon Alexander explores how we can work together as communities to make more positive impact and become a citizen rather than consumer-driven society.

Do you have a favorite TED / TEDx Talk? Which one is it and why?

Oh sure, I love the one from Greta Thunburg, it really resonates with me.

We are at the end, what’s left unsaid? Most probably a lot, but here is your chance to address our readers

We’re here in Vienna to welcome everyone – we’d love to see you working, or staying, spending time with friends or joining in some of our events or programs – lots are free, and join us in The Social Hub. Follow us on socials for more details. The Social Hub (@thesocialhub) | Instagram

Dear Van, thank you so much for this amazing insights and the interview. We are looking super forward to celebrating our TEDx PRIDE here at TSH. 

No, no, no! Thank you so much for having me and welcome again at TSH Vienna.

Do you love writing, and would you like to be a guest writer at our TEDxDonauinsel Blog? Reach out at hello@tedxdonauinsel.at with your idea.