Silent University Hamburg
The Silent University was initiated by the Kurdish artist Ahmet Öğüt. It has already been successfully realized in London in cooperation with the Delfina Foundation and Tate Modern and in Stockholm in cooperation with the Tensta Konsthall and the ABF (Arbetanes Bildingsförbund). In 2012 Öğüt received the Visible Award of the Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto and the Fondazione Zegna for The Silent University.
Silent University Hamburg is an autonomous platform for the exchange of knowledge by and for people with refugee status who are seeking asylum and for other interested parties. It is addressed above all to those who have completed their academic and professional education in their native country but are unable to pursue their profession in Hamburg because of their residence status. Since September 2014, lecturers and consultants at Silent University Hamburg have worked out a structure that will make it possible to activate academic knowledge that is rarely employed in the context of fleeing, asylum, and immigration. At Silent University Hamburg, “silenced knowledge” is reactivated. Rooted in the history of alternative forms of education — such as the Modern School movement founded in the second decade of the twentieth century, Paulo Freire’s approach to freedom pedagogy in the 1970s, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s current approach to “aesthetic education” — Silent University Hamburg raises questions of the potential and tasks of art in a global age. How can a democratic public sphere be created in the context of flight, migration, and diaspora that will make difference visible without constructing otherness? The lecturers develop their seminar offerings based on the academic and professional background and current interests. To supplement these efforts and broaden the exchange, international guests are invited to public lectures and discussion panels. Interested parties can register as students at thesilentuniversity.org.
Silent University Hamburg will construct a platform for knowledge exchange in Hamburg that will add an artistic proposal to society’s discussions of the so-called European refugee problem that will also exposed political indifference. Silent University Hamburg is integrated into an international network and was invited by Curating the City e.V. in cooperation with Stadtkuratorin Hamburg, W3 – Werkstatt für internationale Kultur und Politik e.V. and Zusammen Leben & Arbeiten e.V.