Intervening Arts

A new Collaborative Research Center based at Freie Universität Berlin focusing on the relationship between art, society, and politics will celebrate its grand opening October 20-21, 2022

The new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1512 "Intervening Arts" is set to begin work in Berlin this fall. Researchers from three of Berlin’s universities and colleges, the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), and Leuphana University Lüneburg will be exploring how artistic perspectives and positions impact societal processes, with a focus on the relationship between art, society, and politics. The spokesperson for the research center is Jürgen Brokoff, professor of modern German literature at Freie Universität Berlin. CRC 1512 will also be cooperating with non-university partners like Akademie der Künste (AdK) throughout its initial funding period of four years. The CRC’s grand opening will take place from 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 20 at AdK’s premises on Pariser Platz. This will be followed by its first annual conference on Friday, October 21 at the AdK’s Hanseatenweg location. Internationally renowned artists and experts such as the British media theorist James Bridle, the Nigerian video, sound, and food artist Emeka Ogboh, the Japanese dancer Yuko Kaseki, and the German writer Ines Geipel will be attending both events.

The research center revolves around the idea that the arts are increasingly being called upon to make a societal impact by transforming social processes, getting involved in political conflicts, and giving rise to new public spheres. From the point of view of the CRC’s participants, the arts play a significant role in struggles surrounding global power structures, addressing crises like climate change and pandemics, and paving the way for new modes of living and working. "Intervening arts" will thus produce new types of activities that frequently overlap with forms of activism, such as protests. These trends require a fundamental redefinition of art as a practice based in intervention, and this process of redefinition will be the CRC’s primary field of study.

The research center will create interconnections between artistic disciplines, including art history, literature, music, theater, dance, media, and design, as well as humanities subjects, like philosophy, history, sociology, and cultural anthropology. The research center is based at Freie Universität Berlin and cooperates with Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Universität der Künste Berlin, the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), and Leuphana University Lüneburg. Over fifty researchers will be taking part.

President of Freie Universität Berlin Professor Günter M. Ziegler, literary scholar and associate vice dean Professor Andrew James Johnston from the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at Freie Universität, and deputy director Arnold Dreyblatt of the Visual Arts Section at Akademie der Künste, will be attending the grand opening on October 20 hosted by Akademie der Künste in Berlin. CRC spokesperson Professor Brokoff will be holding the opening address.

Guests from the art world and members of the CRC will delve into their work in the course of two subsequent discussions. The first of these will be between the British media theorist James Bridle and professor for media theory at UdK Brigitte Weingart from Universität der Künste Berlin. The second discussion will be held between the Nigerian video, sound, and food artist Emeka Ogboh, European ethnology professor Silvy Chakkalakal from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and theater professor Doris Kolesch from Freie Universität Berlin.

The first annual conference of CRC 1512 will take place on Friday, October 21, at the AdK premises on Hanseatenweg, Berlin-Tiergarten. The issues raised over the course of the grand opening will be taken up during the event, which is titled "Poetics of Intervention." The talks and discussions will focus on different strategies for the interference of arts in social relations. Participants will specifically examine artistic models of the political.

The writer Ines Geipel, theater scholar James Harding, and Claudia van Hasselt from the initiative neue musik berlin will be attending the annual conference. The Japanese dancer Yuko Kaseki will also stage a performance with her own unique perspective on artistic intervention.

The grand opening will be held in English, while the conference will be in both German and English. Interpreters into German and English will be present at both events. Please register in advance at: