What We Do
One week time
In cooperation with the German Journal for European Thought MERKUR, we make our seminar centre Gut Siggen available and offer space for focused work and open exchange of ideas.
As guests of the Foundation and thus free of costs for accommodation, meals and conference logistics, you can devote (almost) a week to a topic you would like to deal with intensively, undisturbed and away from institutional constraints. There are no binding content specifications - you set the topic, and you alone decide on the procedure and form. The only condition: The topic must convince us, it must be clear why it is worthwhile to think about the question you have raised and why a free seminar format is the appropriate forum for it.
A group with a maximum of 24 participants will be given the opportunity to hold their own conference in Siggen from 9 to 13 October 2023. If required, we will support coaching on effective conference organisation and innovative conference formats by our partner Der Kongress tanzt. The Foundation covers the costs for accommodation, catering and conference logistics. The guests pay for their own travel expenses. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2023.
Applications for the period 9 to 13 October 2023 will be accepted until 31 March.
- Conference 2019
Fiction, Narration and Calculation - New Approaches to Economic Theory
Conference moderators: PD Dr. Christine Künzel & Prof. Dr. Birger P. Priddat
Expectations are ideas about events in the future; since no one can know the future, one imagines desired developments, works with fictitious evaluations. Fictions thus play a central role with regard to decisions in economic processes. It is therefore not surprising that the function of fictions and narratives has increasingly become the focus of economic theories in recent years. Beyond the economic mainstream, a narrative theory of economics seems to be emerging. At the conference, interfaces to literary concepts of fiction and narration will be discussed in particular - and this from an interdisciplinary perspective (economics, literature and history, sociology and philosophy).
- Conference 2018
Have courage! But to which mind? On the Importance of Orientation Knowledge in Globalised and Digitalised Societies
Dr. Falk Bornmüller, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Seminar for Philosophy Project "Denkwerkstatt" and Dr. des. Annett Wienmeister, University of Bamberg
Immanuel Kant's famous sentence "Have the courage to use your own mind!" has had a lasting influence on modern, enlightened and self-determined thinking. However, in view of the increasing globalisation and digitalisation of our societies, this thinking presents individuals with new challenges: Not only do we have to deal with an enormous amount of information available and to be absorbed - individuals are also called upon to communicate diverse information about themselves in order to be able to participate in the social process at all. For this reason, each of us must develop a strategy that allows us to decide with certainty which of this information is relevant and how this information can contribute to real orientation in both thought and action.
Against the background of these developments, we want to critically revisit Kant's call for the courageous use of one's own intellect. We would like to ask together what it can (still) mean today to form or be able to form a mature relationship to oneself and the world. What forms of courage are required and necessary today? Which intellectual abilities and activities enable individuals in a society to form convictions that guide their actions - convictions that are not only informed and well-founded, but that also actually lead to reflected and responsible action?
In this sense, the question of enlightenment in our self-understanding as reasonable individuals in a society needs to be posed (again and again) and thought through on the basis of exemplary problems and challenges of the present.
- Conference 2017
Narrow-beard democracy freshness
The advance of populism in Europe and the development of kleptocratic autocracies raise the question of how to support democracy and stop the seducers who work with simplifications, distortions and as well as devaluation of whole occupational groups and sections of the population. At the event we want to trace this. The most pressing questions are:
What role do digital media play in changing the media landscape and how could we react to this?
What strategies can be used to reach target groups who are immune to the "mainstream" and the like?
What communication makes sense in order to deconstruct "post-factual" beliefs on the one hand, but also to work through the causes of these phenomena on the other?
On the one hand, "DemokratieFrische" is intended to produce concrete results (argumentation aids, format ideas), but on the other hand, it is also intended to use the freedom to venture to new shores, inspired by experts, practitioners and intellectuals.
Initiator: journalist and digital manager Christoph Kappes
The walk-through of the third-party funding application
Third-party funding determines our situation. Third-party funded projects are structuring the German academic landscape like never before. We put the current academic business to the test and take a walk-through ourselves: What characterises the poetology of the third-party funding proposal? What dramaturgy does the walk-through follow? In which economies are funding and evaluation integrated? We would like to discuss these questions with applicants and inspectors and jointly develop formats between the sciences and the arts to stimulate a public dialogue.
Initiators: Christoph Eggersglüß (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar), Julia Heunemann (Galerie Nord | Kunstverein Tiergarten), Karin Kröger (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar), Friederike Thielmann (HfMDK Frankfurt), Mareike Vennen (TU Berlin), Hannah Zindel (Universität Erfurt)
Transcripts. Formats of university criticism
The university is perhaps the most successful old European institution of the present. It is above all successful in terms of society's inclusion imperative; not only does it no longer close itself off to practically any educational pathway, but it also leads relatively reliably to a conclusion of these educational pathways that leads to professional careers. However, the university neglects itself as a possible place of professional careers; it sees itself as a passage, not a destination of educational trajectories. As a result, study appears as a linear sequence structured by examinations that has no relevant overlaps with academic life - a kind of parallel existence. The practice of incorruptible observation and comparative judgement is cultivated, but no longer directed towards the university practice of science, but towards non-university forms of practice and professional fields. Therefore, "evaluation" is practised everywhere; discursive criticism, however, appears to be paralysing and pointless. Students then opt for absence or change universities (an exit strategy of criticism). But they can also do what the university itself asks them to do: neglect internal university practice and address a public that undermines the university's boundaries (a voice strategy of critique). This designates the subject to which the group of participants in the proposed seminar would like to devote themselves. What forms of criticism of the university and its forms of communication exist, in the context of the university? Which text genres emerge? Can authority, stability and status of the teaching side be combined in writing with indifference, volatility and ambiguity of the student side? Can internal and external public spheres switch sides, can the critique of the university cross the university's border?
Initiator: Prof. Dr. Maren Lehmann, Friedrichshafen
Department of Cultural Studies
Chair of Sociological Theory
- Conference 2016
29 June - 5 July 2016
Welcome: German. An interdisciplinary working meeting for accessible German (not only) for refugees.
Initiators: Angela Leinen (lawyer, author and editor) and Kathrin Jurgenowski (author, editor and trainer).
People who arrive in Germany for the first time often have little or no knowledge of German. Nevertheless, they are confronted (e.g. in official communications) with a written language that is sometimes difficult to decipher even for German native speakers. The much-used translation apps are still no reliable help. At the conference "Welcome: Deutsch" brings together an interdisciplinary team from academia (linguistics/German as a foreign language, translation studies) and practice (former refugees, refugee aid workers, translation software experts). The aim of the conference is to initiate a basic set of rules for the written use of German, which has two functions:
As good as possible comprehensibility or translatability for learners of German (especially refugees in German courses).
As error-free as possible translatability with translation tools such as Google Translate.
We are examining and discussing how existing tools (Easy Language, Basic Vocabulary "German as a Foreign Language", Google Translate) can be used to develop this set of rules or whether we need to develop completely new tools (or have them developed).
19 - 23 September 2016
Does Medicine Make Sense. An interdisciplinary conversation
How does it follow that certain medical practices can be considered meaningful and others not? The question of meaning arises for the development of new forms of treatment as well as for individual decisions at the bedside and with regard to the distribution of medical goods.
How does medicine make sense? Who or what exercises what power over the idea of the meaningfulness of measures in the contexts of action in medicine? Which contextual factors are relevant? How does meaning emerge in medical action if it is not simply given, but must first be found in the concrete situation and produced in joint action?
The significance of the distinction between "meaningful" and "meaningless" is given special frames in the various thematic contexts. On each of the five days, a tension is to be explored in relation to the question of meaning: On the first day, "borderline" medicine between overtherapy and foregoing therapy; on the second, biomedical knowledge between individualisation and participation; on the third day, the evaluation of medical care between evidence and governance; the fourth day is dedicated to wish-fulfilling medicine between individual preferences and enhancement; on the last day, medicine between the pressure to innovate and the loss of salvation will be discussed. An interdisciplinary process will work towards the formulation of central results.
The initiative comes from the collegium at the Institute for History of Medicine and Science Research at the University of Lübeck (IMGWF), represented by Prof. Cornelius Borck (History of Medicine and Science) and Prof. Christoph Rehmann-Sutter (Bioethics and Philosophy of the Life Sciences).
Contact: Christoph Rehmann-Sutter email@example.com
10 - 16 October 2016
Concepts of scholarly publishing in the digital age
In the next 5 years, the culture of scholarly communication and the associated practices of scholarly publishing will change fundamentally. This raises the following questions in particular:
How can meaningful and effective instances of quality assurance be established that, on the one hand, dispense with quantitative models and, on the other, are sufficiently independent not to be hijacked by the existing large-scale systems of the university or library system?
What methods of building "symbolic capital" can be established that could usefully replace the existing, obviously unsuitable models (impact factor, etc.)?
what strategies are needed to invite a broader audience beyond the specialist circle to participate in reading?
Discipline-specific problems: these present themselves differently for humanities scholars than for natural scientists.
Initiator: Klaus-Johannes Mickus
- Conference 2015
7 - 10 May 2015
Engaged literary studies? Recognition in, of and through literature
Workshop for doctoral students and postdocs.
Initiators: Annika Differding, Jørgen Sneis and Tilman Venzl (University of Stuttgart).
The concept of recognition currently occupies a central position in philosophy and social science. If one understands 'recognition' with Axel Honneth as a practical aspect of knowledge and as a model of reciprocal social interaction, then every scientific activity has an ethical quality per se. This also applies to a large extent to literary studies. At the workshop, the concept of recognition, its scope and its connectivity, especially for literary studies, will be discussed in an interdisciplinary dialogue. Among other things, the discussion will focus on how recognition functions in, by and through literature.
The workshop offers doctoral students and postdocs who are dealing with recognition theory or thematically related issues in the context of their research a platform to discuss in a concentrated working atmosphere. It is important to reflect on the ethical potential of literature and literary studies in an interdisciplinary context - not least in order to make them fruitful for society.
30 May - 5 June 2015
A meta-conference on conferences and conference formats
Initiator: Kathrin Passig, non-fiction author, Berlin
"If something is completely dysfunctional, you always have to ask yourself if it doesn't have a completely different function" (Aleks Scholz). What doesn't work and yet is repeated at almost every conference? Are they really bugs or secret features? Is the classic conference format just a strange, unpopular ritual that is difficult to reform? or does it work quite well in principle and there are just too many bad conferences? These questions are to be discussed together with "those affected".
14 - 20 September 2015
Exhibiting Animal Knowledge. Strategies for bringing together scientific and curatorial practice.
Initiators: Dr. Silke Förschler (University of Kassel), M.A. Mareike Vennen (Bauhaus University Weimar), M.A. Stephan Zandt (Humboldt University Berlin).
What are the current relationships between animals, humans and the environment? How can we deal with the tensions between species extinction and genetically modified animals, between artificially produced ecosystems and ideas of natural biodiversity? Based on these interdisciplinary questions, we will develop curatorial approaches at Gut Siggen in order to make current positions in these thematic fields accessible in a possible exhibition.
- Conference 2014
1. Sense of Belonging as an Instrument of University Development
Initiators: Prof. Dr. Angela Ittel; Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Heiß, Technische Universität Berlin
The Technical University of Berlin, with its approximately 30,000 students and around 100 degree programmes, is one of the largest and most traditional technical universities in Germany. Outstanding achievements in research and teaching as well as the qualification of very good graduates are its hallmarks. In order to strengthen the sense of belonging of all its members - students, lecturers and employees alike - the new presidium would like to use the week in Siggen effectively for the creation of a target group and diversity-oriented strategy concept.
2. The Museum of Time. An interdisciplinary research project: brainstorming and development of a virtual museum.
Initiators: Prof. Dr. Holger Simon; Reinhard Gröne, Art History Institute of the University of Cologne; arteversum GmbH.
Under the motto "One week of TIME for the first museum of time", the participants - academics from very different faculties, experts in museum management and exhibition planning, as well as visual artists and designers - would like to use the week to combine two sets of questions: On the one hand, the object "time" will be questioned.What is time? How is time experienced and how is it recorded? And how is time remembered? On the other hand, the role of the museum, especially that of the "virtual museum", is examined more closely. The Museum of Time is a project that aims to recognise and exploit the digital possibilities for museum operations.
3. Forms of organisation in freelance journalism
Initiators: Freischreiber e. V.; Bertram Weiß
Experts from freelance journalistic practice, journalism research and other freelance professional fields such as advertising, architecture or software programming will come together in Siggen to bundle, specify and structure approaches to organisational forms in freelance journalism through lectures, exchanges and working groups. The material from the conference will be compiled in a compendium to give media practitioners and academics new ideas. In this way, the basis for new models is to be created, with which the professionalisation of the working structures of freelance journalists can be advanced.