FLAX / BARD COLLEGE BERLIN WORKSHOP
New approaches to contemporary migration history in Germany
This workshop is part a continuation of the Fall seminar „In Search of a History: Migration in Germany from World War II to the Present“, focussing on individual projects of the students to visualize, melodize, spatialise, verbalize and put into taste the migration history knowledge and experience that we have already collected and will continue to collect. The projects don‘t necessarily have the ambition to enter the context of art; we consider them as „notations“, putting down our perceptions and thoughts in the modes of expression that suit us best. First, we will go again through the historical data, tools and concepts of migration history that shall help us to take an analytical distance, to contextualize and historicize our material. Then we will work on one collective visualization project. But the major part of the course is dedicated to develop and finish the individual projects and to find solutions for exhibiting them.
While the leading question of the Fall seminar was directed towards Germany’s historical dif-
ficulties to define itself as an immigration country, we will now broaden our approach, following the concept of „migration regimes“ that is becoming prevalent in migration research,and inquire after transnational and migratory experience and agency, in a time that seems to be regressing evermore to strict border control and nationalist migration policies.
For the realization of the projects we will cooperate with artists and curators who will give the creative, formal and practical input and advice that I, as a historian limited to the plain word, cannot give. The course will be taught as a block seminar on three weekends in March, April and May, in an arts space at „BOX Freiraum“ in Boxhagener Straße, Friedrichshain. The last workshop, beginning of May, is dedicated to the exhibition’s architecture: here we will be joined by the architectural class of Prof. Michelle Howard, of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, to develop and build a system that shall be flexible enough to allow the exhibition to be shown at different places.
In the subsequent week, from Thursday, May 11, to Saturday, May 13, the exhibition will be presented to the international audience of a conference on European migration history at the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Straße: One panel has been reserved for us to put forward our work for discussion and to reflect on the relations between migration experience, research and education that we will have discovered by then. Bard College Berlin is one of the organizers of the conference, together with the Center for Contemporary History, the American Academy and others. All students are expected to take part in the conference and to help with issues concerning the exhibition.