The following article was taken from our Second Newsletter (pdf, 2.62 MB)

Report by Tamara Moumna

The Research Atelier was funded by the DAAD German-Arab Transformation Partnership. The DAAD Initiative of the German-Arab Transformation Partnership has been established in 2011 in order to follow and support the transformation processes in the region. Universities do not only carry the responsibility of academic education and to foster scientific innovation in the respective countries, they also serve as spaces of societal negotiation and discourse. Therefore, the programs of the DAAD German-Arab Transformation Partnership create additional opportunities to support the efforts for reform of Arabic universities and include  close cooperation with German partner universities. Central to the cooperation is the modernization of teaching, structural development of the research landscape and management, as well as the improvement of employability of the graduates from Arabic partner universities.

Culture and arts can play an essential role in transforming societies and can bring about processes of democratization. This premise served as the basis of the Research Atelier that took place from the 18th-24th October 2018 in Beirut. The Atelier was organized by the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development at the University of Hildesheim in cooperation with the Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humains at the Lebanese University Beirut. Within this Research Atelier students and researchers from Germany, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco discussed the role of cultural policy and cultural mediation in society. In a uniquely designed program bringing in researchers, art institutions, civil society and art education activists, this research atelier fostered a deeper reflection on cultural policy.

The program consisted of lectures, discussions, workshops and a field trip to Jbeil (Byblos). There the group visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The outstanding planning on both sides, from Hildesheim and the Lebanese University created a truly rewarding context for students and researchers alike. Rich academic and cultural discussions. Within less than a week ten lectures, eight workshops, and one panel discussion took place. The participant actively engaged with each other in debates on the role of culture in transforming societies. Concepts were renegotiated, different perspectives were brought in and sometimes different perception fostered extensive debates. Despite the diversity of the participants a shared understanding guided all discussions, that “Cultural Mediation means to build bridges” (Dr. Samah Daakour, Coordinator of M.A. Professional Cultural Mediation, Lebanese University). This research atelier certainly built quite some sturdy bridges within one week.