Renowned lyricist and poetry slammer Dominique Macri summarized the conference as a poetic recording. Voices in the audience commented her performance as a "poetic manifesto" during the event. Watch and listen to her outstanding artistic analysis of the conference here.
Watch Shahram Khosravi speak about the potentiality of exile as a space for multiple voices and experiences.
„To do research, to teach, to write with an accent form is unapologetically doing research, and writing and teaching as a racialized scholar. Accent here is not used as an opposite to language proficiency or clumsiness, not as signifier of lack or brokenness, but rather the opposite: Accent as verb means to speak forcefully, to emphasize, to accentuate. An accented teacher, or writer is an intellectual; to do teaching, to write with an accent is an intellectual response to the precariousness of working, thinking and teaching as a migrant, exiled, or racialized person at European universities. It is a response, a reaction to the condition of coloniality that still today structures the process of knowledge production.“
"Precarity is not specific to Germany. It is true that it is worse in Germany than in other countries. Pretty much the worst in the world, because 5-7 % of German academics are tenured and over 90% are on short-term contracts, which is exceptionally high. [...] Precarity is believed to be promoting competition and better science, but it actually destroys lives of local academics and therefore also destroys lives of people who are in exile." (Aysuda Kölemen)
"My question comes from the words of Edward Said that were so eloquently quoted by our keynote speaker: „Exile is terrible to experience“ and we have to deal with all the practicalities of scholars in peril. At the same time, Edward Said said „Exile is strangely compelling to think about.” And my question for a next panel is how to foster freedom, human rights, democracy, hospitality in our work for us refugees. [...] Well, hospitality is my motto." (Tomasz Kitliński)
Taking Action in Teaching brought together Tuba İnal-Çekiç of Off University, Achim Rohde of the Academy in Exile, Tomasz Kitliński of the New University in Exile Consortium, AiE, IIE-SRF and Aysuda Kölemen of the Threatened Scholars Integration Initiative to discuss how their initiatives support displaced scholars in their teaching and what structural changes are needed.
"Visiting lecturers or adjunct professorships are payed very poorly in comparison to other countries, I would say. [...] If you compare the payment to the amount of work you have to put into teaching such a course, it is ridiculous this payment. Plus, you have to keep in mind that people teach for free just for being able to add the entry to have tought a course at the university into their CV, because it is afterall important in order to be eligible for permanent posts or professorships, you need teaching experience. This is of course something that points to the lack of sustainability of being a non-tenured academic in the German system. If you, for instance, plan to live on teaching contracts this is simply not sustainable – you need other options. How this could be changed is a political question." (Achim Rohde)
"Let me some up with this question: What can you do? What can universities or you as scholars or you as a person do to support all of these endeavors. I would say: If you are a university professor, you have the power to host a course. So do that. Really, this is just a will to support these kind of endeavors for those who have power in their chairs and their departments. So, if you are a university professor, just host it. If you are a scholar, just become part of this voluntary team. This still needs a lot of voluntary work and someone who is an entrepreneur or who has money, just donate for this. It is really just the will to do so." (Tuba İnal-Çekiç)
Watch Niklas Kolorz speak about using TikTok to reach young audiences with science topics. His advice for researchers on using media channels for science communication is:
"Don't be afraid to just try. Try, try, try! There are really no 'wrongs' on this platform, because if the video is boring and nobody likes it, nobody will see it, because nobody is interacting with it and the algorithm won't show it to anyone. [...] Give it a week, because the first week is horrible. It gets better after that, I promise."
"The university is a site of political struggle and negotiations. There are voices inside the german academia that are also being silenced or are not being promoted further. They might set up other agendas than just inclusion. They might set agendas in regard to how the university is organized as a site of inequality, how the university is organized as something that reproduces a hegemonic established group." (Encarnación Gutiérrez-Rodríguez)
"There is something build in in the teaching situation in which you actually teach well you are at a disadvantage because you end up with more students and more workload. And the same time teaching ends up being the least important aspect of academic work." (Wendy Shaw)
"As we also have seen in our research, the German academic system appears to adopt neoliberal policies in a unique way. GHE is based on a mixed-financial system. On the one hand the teaching is mainly state funded and has many invisible walls and restrictions for those who are entering into the system as "outsiders". As opposed to teaching, researching is mainly fulfilled through third-party funded research projects, and is more precarious but open to foreigners depending on their research, writing and language abilities. The rationale underlying the system in general is quite neoliberal in the sense that it provides subjectivities emphasising on individual and institutional competition, which leads them to be hierarchically defined according to Anglo-American academic standards. All these hardly prepare positive conditions for exiled scholars to be included into the system. But the teaching side is even harder for them to take part in, while the number of post-doc positions provided through third-party funded research projects is relatively higher and available to them. This means that they have no choice but to fulfil niches and work precariously. As neoliberal discourses normalise scientific culture based on competition rather than collegial relationship, under present conditions, it is even harder for them along with many other native scholars to get into it." (Betül Yarar)
"More and more with different backgrounds, diverse people come into university. Some people try to silence them, but they are not silent, they are active. This is something the established group is not used to, talking directly about exclusion, about racism, about sexism in an institution were they felt to be the ones to make the rules. So I think we need more open discussions, not in bubbles, but on an academic level not accusing, but asking: what are the structural reasons for that way of thinking?" (Yasemin Karakaşoğlu)
comment on the structural inequalities, experiences of being racialized and the situation of teaching at German universities:
“Sometimes, I do say it is not my job to change this country that keeps rejecting me, but the reality is: no place is perfect; and I think that all of us as people of the world – I don’t mean citizen in the sense of being a citizen of a nation – wherever we are, we have an obligation to engage in public discourse, because it is only through public discourse that we can support each other in producing change."
Infrastructurs of Inclusion brought together Encarnación Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, Betül Yarar, Wendy Shaw and Yasemin Karakaşoğlu to discuss structural inequalities at German universities and to investigate what courses of action need to be taken to make higher education more inclusive.
Watch Karim El-Helaifi present the network and initiatives of the neue deutsche organisationen and what issues need to be addressed specifically regarding German universities:
"Universities themselves, because they see themselves as international actors, as people and institutions that have connections and cooperations with universities around the world, have an understanding of themselves as being open and tolerant and having a culture free of discrimination. This kind of narrative, this kind of image that universities have of themselves is for sure mostly produced because the people that are in power in universities are people who are usually white and are not migrant. There is a disparity between the understanding of the universities, also about themselves, and the actual experience of people that want to have access to universities and work at universities."
delivered a presentation on "Digital Cooperation in Higher Education - during and after Corona" - Have a look at his slides if you missed joining the interactive discussion during the event:
presented the BRIDGES Toolkit and BRIDGES Course. Follow up on the project by clicking on the website or by looking at the posters she made for her presentation below:
designed a poster on "Assessing Distance Learning for Online College Students during Covid-19 Crisis". Have a closer look at their poster with all their findings:
presented the topic "Teaching in Catalonia with a Tropics Accents" with a video. Watch the recording here!
designed a poster presenting cooperations between the Hochschule Mannheim and University of Carabobo, Venezuela, on the matter of enzyme technology. Have a look for yourself and download the poster:
During the conference, the workshop “Internationalization in Teaching” focused on the challenges and opportunities that accompany international scholars and exiled lecturers in general when coming to German universities.
The workshop was led by Dr. Heike Pantelmann (Margherita von Brentano Centre for Gender Studies) and Dr. Achim Rohde (Academy in Exile) with deans from the Freie Universität Berlin as special guests: Prof. Dr. Andreas Fijal (Law), Prof. Dr. Daniel Schubert (Biology Department), and Prof. Dr. Holger Dau (Physics).
During the workshop, it became clear that the state of internationalization has improved over the last 20 years; however, one persistent problem at the student level is the difference in education levels. An issue for international lecturers is the large number of Master’s programs still exclusively taught in German and the almost entirely German infrastructure of bureaucracy.
Key issues that remain are: a lack of diverse authors in university syllabi, the necessity to support foreign students with German bureaucracy, the exclusion of international lecturers and students by restricting them to mainly "international" parts of degree programs and an aligning instrumentalization of "internationalization" for prestige and publicity as well as the problem that tenured positions are still largely occupied by white men.
During the workshop “How can Teaching in Exile Transform University Education in Germany”, the participants discussed the ways in which exile scholars could contribute to teaching in Germany. The exile scholars bring not only with them expertise in different fields but also enrich knowledge by bringing in critical perspectives and open up spaces to tackle with the hierarchical structure dominated by white males. Concepts and ideas are often bound to specific cultural backgrounds and the dominating cultural background in German universities is white, male and western. Non-western lecturers can enrich the space by introducing feminist, decolonial, activist perspectives and curricula.
The discussion led by Asli Telli Aydemir and Cagla Diner and Jan Lazardzig, the student dean of the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at the Freie Universität Berlin, started with the general problems of higher education teaching in Germany, during which the participants emphasized the lack of value that teaching has in the university culture today, the very low payments that adjunct lecturers receive and the lack of opportunity to employ more guest or adjunct lecturers because of the existing “Kapazitätsregelungen”. The dominance of German as the language of instruction and the rigidity in the university bureaucracy were put forward as factors that made the inclusion of exile scholars difficult in teaching in higher education institutions in Germany.
In the workshop „Raising the Bar in Transnational Teaching: The Case of Academic Freedom“ Ertuğ Tombuş (Off University), Oleg Troyanovsky and Dimitry Dubrovsky (both Free University Moscow) discussed with Florian Kohstall (AiS) the current state of affairs of teaching in exile by bringing attention to key values of higher education such as academic freedom. The workshop focused on changing political climates, the significance of governmental legislations that creep into the every-day infrastructures of designing science and education, the need for, and hindrances to, academic cooperation as well as the relationship between people at risk and knowledge at risk that call for placing matters of academic freedom at the core of university curricula.
thanks everyone who contributed to the event!
"I thank you all who joined into the conference that last two days. It was a really good ride, we had very, very good conversations and I wanted to thank everyone who participated in organizing this – this is just as much Trio Medien, as it is our colleagues here and everyone who spoke at the conference." (Christina Rogers)
"The past two days have been extremely rich in often controversial debates and discussion. I learned a lot, and I would really like to thank all the contributors of this conference for their open words. Now, I very much look forward to harness the results of this conference together with our mentees and mentors. For Academics in Solidarity there is still a lot to do in order to create a more inclusive research and teaching environment in Germany and beyond." (Florian Kohstall)