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Bringing the hidden to light: stories of academic freedom

Academic Freedom

Academic Freedom
Image Credit: Pngwing

What does freedom mean to us? What are the various facets involved? And how stable and resilient is the foundation of our freedom – democracy – in the face of the many crises around us today? The theme of Science Year 2024 is freedom, which invites academia and the research sector, society at large, the media, and government to explore these issues in depth.

The “Hidden Research” project initiated by the BUA takes an unusual approach to this topic, using dramatic dialogues to tell the stories of scholars and scientists from all over the world who are at risk or have fled their home countries. Researchers and projects from the humanities, social sciences, and theater studies work closely with performance artists and theater professionals such as director Aldo Spahiu. Together, they connect discourses on academic freedom with the everyday lives of people in Berlin and the public conversation, bringing conflicts between science, academia, and freedom to life. The Berlin Center for Global Engagement (BCGE), part of the BUA, is coordinating the project closely with Co2libri, another BUA project. The SCRIPTS cluster of excellence and further initiatives are also supporting the project.

The performances are based on real-life interviews with researchers. They show that academic freedom is something that has to be fought for time and again – and what happens when that freedom is lacking. The project is aimed at a broad audience, but also at the academic community and the researchers affected by restrictions and persecutions, who can shine a light on their personal experiences.

“Hidden Research” is due to start in July with performances in public spaces and at academic and scientific events. Photos, videos, and texts will also be posted on the website set up for the project. A second series of events will follow in November.

Read more about the project

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)