People in the Ruhr sports region - contemporary witness project on sports development in North Rhine

Head of project
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mittag
Dr. Andreas Höfer (German Sport & Olympia Museum Foundation)

IESF staff entrusted with project
Niklas Hack
Mathias Schmidt

Period of research
May 2020 – Dec 2021

Consortium partner
History of the Ruhr Foundation

Project funding
Ruhr Conference/State Chancellery

The Ruhr area and North Rhine-Westphalia, with its numerous professional clubs, tens of thousands of active football players and millions of enthusiastic supporters, is considered one of the most important football regions in the world. However, little is known about the Ruhr's sporting past and present beyond football; many events, places and people have been forgotten. At the same time, only limited archival material is available. Against this backdrop, recourse to the experiences of contemporary eye-witnesses is necessary. The memories of active players and officials as well as the experiences of members of sport clubs are an important part of the cultural heritage of sport. The transmission of experiences to subsequent generations can be more successful and sustainable through visualised and personalised experiences of those involved than through other forms of documentation.

Against this backdrop, the project "Sport People in the Ruhr Area " is conducting around 30-50 life story video interviews with (former) active and responsible people in sport and archiving them digitally in order to sustainably safeguard the cultural heritage of sport. The material is processed and made accessible so that it can be used in the long term for scientific, educational, museum and cultural purposes. The aim is to ensure that memories and knowledge about sport in the Ruhr region and in NRW remain alive in the cultural memory of the region.