Alpbach Seminars

We invite you to actively share your perspective, opinion, your ideas and co-create with other participants.

Welcome Scholarship Holders

Every year, the European Forum Alpbach awards scholarships to hundreds of outstanding young talents from all around the world. Our scholarship programme enables students, young professionals and changemakers to come to Alpbach and attend a unique programme consisting of scientific and artistic seminars, a high-level conference programme and a variety of social and cultural activities.

Seminar Chairs Selection

Our Seminar Chairs Selection will be continuously extended until the event.

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Adèle Yaroulina

European Project Manager

European Startup Network

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Alex Putzer

UN Harmony with Nature Expert | Rights of Nature Scholar at SSSA Pisa and MIT LCAU

Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa

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Katja Schechtner

Urban Scientist | Research Affiliate MIT Senseable City Lab and MIT LCAU

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Xymena Kurowska

Associate Professor of International Relations

Central European University Vienna

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Thomas Hutle

Project and Change Manager

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

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Charly Kleissner

Impact Investor

ImpactAssets | Board Chair

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Josef Mitterer

Professor

Institute of Philosophy, Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt

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Christian Rotzoll

Open Source Developer

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Ayla Wheatley

Actor

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art | RADA

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Sage Gregory

Creative Writing Student

Bath Spa University

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Renáta Uitz

Professor of Law | Co-Director Democracy Institute

Central European University Vienna | Budapest

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Anne-Karen Hüske

Postdoc in Social Entrepreneurship Education

Copenhagen Business School | CBS

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Maja Kurilic

Project Manager

The CIVIS Innovation Hub

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Velina Tchakarova

Director

Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES)

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Niko Jilch

Financial Journalist, Speaker and Moderator

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Julius Jenkins

Cadet

Maria Theresian Military Academy

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Veronika Kütt

Strategic Consultant

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Benjamin Steiner

Cadet

Maria Theresian Military Academy

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Marius Binder

Artist | Composition Student

Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna

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Kerstin Gottl

Cadet

Maria Theresian Military Academy

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Jasmina Lukacevic

Human Resources and Organizational Development

HRPRO Croatia

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Johann Rupert Füller

CEO | Professor

HYVE AG | University of Innsbruck

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Nadia Abdalla

Chief Administrative Secretary

Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Kenia

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Mascha Dabic

Translator | Interpreter | Writer

University of Vienna

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Veronica Klavzar

Harpist | Arts Education Student

Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna

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Anne-Laure Romanet

Freelance Consultant and Facilitator for Social Organisations

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Beate Küpper

Social Psychologist and Professor for Social Work

University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein, Germany

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Sam Liu

Actor

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art | RADA

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Jan Hein Nielsen

Managing Director and Senior Consultant

Hein&Nielsen Sprl.

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Diemut Schilling

Artist | Professor of Drawing and Printmaking

Alanus University for Art and Society

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Ana Paula Rojas

Head of the Academy of Politics and Public Leadership

Alma Civica Organization

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Katarina Novkovic

Actor

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art | RADA

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Christopher Weilguni

Cadet

Maria Theresian Military Academy

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Ana Schnabl

Writer

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Wojciech Przybylski

Political Analyst

Visegard Insight

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Raphael Zimmermann

Cadet

Maria Theresian Military Academy

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Christian Friedl

Associate Professor for Entrepreneurship

FH Johanneum - University of Applied Sciences Graz

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Hanna Gleiß

Project Lead

Das NETTZ

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Katja Hutter

Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

University of Innsbruck | School of Management

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Jana Ganzmann

Social Entrepreneur

Impact Hub Tirol

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Robert Prosser

Writer | Performance Artist

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Max Jackson

Actor

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art | RADA

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Heidi Maurer

Researcher | Visiting Professor

Center for E-Governance | University for Continuous Education Krems

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Bettina Fuhrmann

Professor of Business Education

Vienna University of Economics and Business

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Katharina Neges

University Project Assistant

Graz University of Technology

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Olgui Caballero

Executive Director

Alma Civica Organization

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Alexander Hochörtler

Cadet

Maria Theresian Military Academy

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Srdjan Cvijić

Senior Policy Analyst

Open Society Foundations

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Maria Craffonara

Musician

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Elis Borde

Ass. Professor

Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais Brazil

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Robert Konrad Schimpf

Head of InnCubator | Associate Dean of Study for the Supplementary Programme Entrepreneurship

InnCubator | University of Innsbruck

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Julia Mourão Permoser

Senior Research Fellow

Department of Political Science, University of Innsbruck

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Kai Hockerts

Professor in Social Entrepreneurship

Copenhagen Business School

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Emma Taylor

Creative Writing Student

Bath Spa University

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Minja Maria Mertanen

Dancer | Dance and Movement Therapist

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Verena Struckmann

Senior Research Fellow

Department of Health Care Management, Technical University Berlin

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Bruno Stagno Ugarte

Chief Advocacy Officer

Human Rights Watch

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Tawana Dingembira

Actor

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art | RADA

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Annique Mossou

Researcher and Trainer

Bellingcat

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Massimo La Torre

Professor of Philosophy of Law

University of Catanzaro, Italy

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Lucy Jamieson

Actor

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art | RADA

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Reinhard Steurer

Associate Professor at the Institute of Forest, Environmental and Natural Resource Policy

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna

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Hermann Hauser

Co-founder and Venture Partner

Amadeus Capital Partners

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Kimberly McArthur

Chief Operating Officer

Apolitical Foundation

Schedule for Alpbach Seminars 2022

Web22 seminars 20210903120745 POL Fireside Talk Alma Zadic EFA Elisabeth Mandl

Fireside Chat EFA21 (c) European Forum Alpbach / Elisabeth Mandl

Choose your Alpbach Seminars

20210823162631 Collaboration Through the Power of Music EFA Matteo Vegetti 1060520 kl

This year's scholarship holders have the opportunity to choose among a variety of artistic or competence-based and scientific seminars. The following videos provide a better understanding of who the seminar chairs are. The short descriptions give insights into the main topics of each seminar and are provided to support the scholarship holders' decision making in advance.

Conference Week | Scientific

Activism versus Resistance - How to Transform Together | Conference Week | Scientific

The crises of modern times are being used to displace people, further drive division and destabilise democracy. Protest and resistance are the result of this as contradictions and uncertainties take over. Climate deniers and opponents of democracy must be taken seriously in order to be able to shape the future together as a society. But how to take action and to encourage energy transformation in open democracies? What influence has populism on the discourse of climate change and energy transformation? And how to strengthen the participation of citizens?

  • The critical relation of democracy and populism
  • Interlinkage of populism in different fields – migration, COVID-19, climate crisis  
  • Why do people follow populism?
  • Getting new insights, developing new strategies together
  • Developing democratic culture in conflicts regarding energy transition

Geopolitics in the EU's Neighbourhood | Conference Week | Scientific

When Ursula von der Leyen presented her Commission to the European Parliament in November 2019, she said it would be “geopolitical”. Today, the EU faces the greatest challenge in its neighbourhood since 1989/1991. What is its “geopolitical answer” to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine? How to respond to the membership bids of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia? How to cope with the growing influence of China? And what about the Western Balkans, to whom a future within the EU was promised nearly 30 years ago?

  • EU’s geopolitical environment since 1989
  • Russia’s war against Ukraine: Implications for the European security infrastructure and energy provisions
  • Russia, China and other third powers in the Western Balkans and the Eastern partnership
  • Future geopolitical battles

How Free is Free Speech? | Conference Week | Scientific

What are the limitations to freedom of thought and expression, and how can articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights safeguard those rights? How to deal with opposing views and conflicts in academia, politics, everyday life? Are there meaningful, objective criteria to apply in specific situations? The participants are asked to contribute their own experiences. Keywords: academic freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, wokeness, cancel culture.

  • Conceptual analysis: Freedom, Speech, Law, Right
  • Free speech and democracy
  • Limits and censorship: The ethics of the public sphere
  • Freedom and truth in academia
  • Disagreements, conflicts, and justice

Humanity at the Crossroad | Conference Week | Scientific

Humanity is at a crossroad. The first road continues on the path of business as usual. This road solidifies existing power structures and will predictably lead to environmental and societal collapse. The second road actively prepares for major systemic changes, while ensuring that the old system does not uncontrollably crash. It enables the emergence of a regenerative financial and economic system serving humanity and the planet. This seminar explores what it takes to travel the second road.

Securing Europe Amidst Current Insecurities | Conference Week | Scientific

Europe is continuously searching for its role and identity in the global security arena amidst a sense of increasing threat. But what about the legacies of the EU in diplomacy, conflict prevention, and crisis management? What about alternative understandings of security that centre the well-being of individuals and communities? How can Europe deal with migration and cyber security, and what role does the securitisation of borders play in this regard? This seminar examines the developments in European security and explores possibilities for thinking security otherwise.

  • The global role of the European Union
  • European security and defence policy
  • Securitisation
  • Alternative visions of security

Social Entrepreurship for Sustainability and Climate Change | Conference Week | Scientific

This seminar cooperation of the Aurora Alliance and the European Forum Alpbach will act as the final step of creating innovative business solutions for intricate societal problems focusing on sustainability and climate change issues. The students will use their previously acquired knowledge in social entrepreneurship and consolidate their competences to work – face to face for the first time – in interdisciplinary, international teams with stakeholder engagement to answer real-life questions.

  • Definition of social entrepreneurship and acquisition of an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Creating a business for social change
  • Answering real life questions
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Understanding intricate societal problems

Towards a European Perspective on Bitcoin | Conference Week | Scientific

With the invention of Bitcoin, we are entering a new era in the evolution of money – an era where money is not bound to a nation state or a supranational entity but is global and borderless. To understand the macro- as well as microeconomic implications, the seminar will start off by covering the working mechanisms of Bitcoin. Throughout the seminar, an emphasis will be laid on Bitcoin mining and its related environmental impact as well as on how Bitcoin can reinforce individual freedom and human rights in Europe and around the world.

  • Bitcoin and Lighting – How it works
  • Bitcoin mining and energy usage
  • Social impact of Bitcoin
  • The future in a European framework

Conference Week | Competence-based or Artistic

4Cs4U | Conference Week | Competence-based

An unstable neighbourhood, migration, the question about Europe’s fate on a geopolitically divided planet, and the blurring line between peace and violence in the world: we face a lot of challenges these days. How to deal with them? Common, collective, connected, and comprehensive! Four traits, 4 Cs, which might be the answer? Within our seminar, it is you, physically and intellectually, who experiences and evaluates these 4 Cs. "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided."

  • What does leadership mean?
  • The 4 Cs: Common, Collective, Connected, Comprehensive
  • Comradeship
  • Creativity
  • Empathy and group dynamics

Collecting and Saving Digital Sounds for the Future | Conference Week | Artistic

This seminar builds a bridge to the art project “Start By Listening”. Participants will record sounds in and from Alpbach and process them artistically. The created soundscapes are intended not only to help capture the special sounds in Alpbach, but also to preserve them for future generations, thus becoming artefacts of their time. Such artefacts have always been collected and are valuable testimonies of human culture – as digital trading with tokens also makes clear.

  • Being able to perceive and appreciate the sounds around you in a different way
  • Learning the basics of sound engineering and recording
  • Learning how to creatively work with a sequencer
  • Categorising different sounds in and around Alpbach and denaturalising them
  • After the course: Performing your own music in Alpbach in an open air concert

Financial Literacy - What It Takes to Become Moneywise | Conference Week | Competence-based

All of us have to make risky decisions on a near daily basis – whether it is about shares, loans or internet purchases like that new backpack you do not actually need. Weighing personal credit scores seems more important than ever. But how do I make the right decisions when it comes to financial issues? Financial literacy is much more than just understanding numbers and interest rates. It is about skills and tools on how to solve today’s challenges both independently and in a sustainable and meaningful way. This seminar strengthens the participants’ understanding and skills, giving you skills that might just safe you from overdraft fees for years to come.

  • Understand the many aspects and the importance of financial literacy (not only for individuals, but for the whole society)
  • Explain main financial terms and concepts
  • Identify financial challenges throughout life and manage their own finances
  • Discuss main findings of research on various aspects of financial literacy
  • Develop your own ideas (independently as well as collaboratively) on how to enhance financial literacy

Hoagaschtn: Tyrol Improvisation | Conference Week | Artistic

"Hoagaschtn", a Tyrolean expression for chatting, will accompany us on the search for anarchic open spaces that Tyrol, and particularly Alpbach, can offer apart from tourism industry. Perception of biodiversity, the question of land use and the related question of nature-based solutions will be our focus. Abandoned lift facilities are explored, locals are interviewed, and by wearing devil’s masks the dissolution of boundaries is sought. By improvising and staging Alpbach, a cinematic artwork will be created.

  • Rituals
  • Devil masks
  • Alpine apocalypse
  • Oral history
  • Acting and filmmaking

Sit Back and Stretch: Politician for a Week | Conference Week | Competence-based

Trusted, ethical, courageous and diverse leaders are the transformative force needed to amplify the innovations, financing, technology and people power that already exist to address the climate crisis. We uncover and practice skills and knowledge in empathy, neuroscience, behavioural science as well as in values and identities needed by the leaders of tomorrow (and today) to bridge divides and make progress on complex, often polarizing issues.

  • Simulations and self-reflection to learn the skills of a politician
  • Effective communication and collaboration in polarised environments
  • Awareness of values and identities and connection with political attitudes
  • Making evidence-informed policies

Strategic Foresight Workshop - The EU and Enlargement Process | Conference Week | Competence-based

This seminar will explore the drivers and triggers of potential future EU enlargements from the rule of law and democratic security perspective. With the democratic backsliding in some countries, a strategic dilemma presents itself: how should future enlargements be decided, while reinforcing the rule of law and democratic resilience in Europe? Foresight is a structured and systematic way of using ideas about the future to anticipate and better prepare for change. Participants approach the topic using these methods.

  • Strategic foresight
  • EU Enlargement
  • Future of Europe
  • Western Balkans policy
  • European neighbourhood

Working Together (Spells Success) | Conference Week | Artistic

In actor training, students are first introduced to the concept of ensemble. Artistic endeavours in the field of acting are very much a group activity, so the more proficient students become at collaborating as a group, the better they perform individually. In this peer-to-peer seminar with students from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, you will be introduced to exercises and games fostering seamless and poetic group work – a stepping stone for our democratic society.

  • Team building in a new way
  • Basics of actor training
  • Getting out of your comfort zone in a safe environment

Lab Week | Scienitfic

Democracy in Times of Crisis | Lab Week | Scientific

Is democracy (still) resilient today? Democracy is increasingly coming under pressure. Driven by war, the pandemic, the climate crisis, the consequences of digitalisation and growing gaps between rich and poor, social divisions and polarisation are becoming an ever greater challenge to democracy. This seminar looks at new forms of democratic action, examines new concepts of citizenship and the role and participation of civil society and their potential for building resilience in times of crisis.

  • Different dimensions of key challenges to democracy: social, economic, political
  • Democratic transformation of citizenship, polity, politics
  • Relationship between current political phenomena and different dimensions of democratic systems
  • New forms of democratic action

Europe's Struggle for Technological Sovereignity | Lab Week | Scientific

Every country has to ask itself whether it produces the technology it needs itself or whether it has secure access to it in the future. Especially for critical technological infrastructure (e.g., quantum computing, blockchain, medical or biomechanical research), this is a delicate question. Alongside the USA and China, this can be Europe’s big opportunity – but why is it that Europe continues to be slow in developing and advancing critical technologies? And what can a step forward look like?

  • Defining European digital sovereignty in a global context
  • Establishing value-based governance for new technologies
  • Shaping rules for artificial intelligence
  • Technological domain and digital authoritarianism in times of war
  • Varieties of global internet and digital governance

Gendering Conflict, War and Weapons | Lab Week | Scientific

This course addresses the gendered dynamics of armed conflict, especially in the context of the Russian war against Ukraine. Feminist perspectives in security studies will shine a light on gender-based violence in conflict and the rise of authoritarian masculinism and militarism as drivers of war. With a focus on the UN Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in Central and Eastern Europe, we will further explore alternative concepts of security that take into account intersectional insecurities.

The video is currently under production and will be uploaded in due time!

Health Systems and Health Security | Lab Week | Scientific

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the key role of health and health systems for our societies, well-being and the overall economy. Various national and international measures within health systems and beyond responded to the crisis. Out of this pandemic has come renewed attention to health system and health security. This seminar will highlight the importance of strong and resilient health systems for global health security. It will look at various challenges such as workforce shortages, but also debate ideas such as the One Health Approach, Universal Health Coverage, Global Health Diplomacy, Planetary Health and the European Health Union.

  • Resilient health systems for global health security
  • One Health Approach
  • Synergies between universal health coverage and global health security
  • The role of diplomacy in global health security
  • Global health equity

Human Rights in Norm and Practice | Lab Week | Scientific

Are human rights universally valid? Even in the member states of the EU, there are different understandings of the law – all the more so if one includes neighbouring and farther states. Does this also result in different approaches to human rights? How can a dialogue look like among states and stakeholders that hold different positions? These questions will be at the centre in this seminar, as will be the examination of the discrepancy between norms and a rapidly transforming reality on the ground.

  • Ideas - Aspirations - Rights
  • Victims - Witnesses - Evidence
  • Accountability
  • Universality - Double standards
  • Mission drift - Welcome expansion

Manifesting European Climate Policy | Lab Week | Scientific

Solutions do not grow on trees, and wishful thinking is never enough as climate change is not confined to national borders. To tackle it, we need comprehensive transnational policies. So, what is actually happening at the EU level? In which areas are we on track? Where do we expect delays, hurdles or further standstill? This seminar is about strengthening the understanding of European climate policy as well as about concrete steps to protect the climate and reduce greenhouse gases. How can Europe take the lead in this global crisis?

  • How bad is the climate crisis? It’s worse than most of you think!
  • How we have failed to cut emissions globally: from Kyoto to Paris … to Brussels
  • Why didn’t we mitigate global heating in time? Socio-economic and socio-psychological explanations
  • Outlook: What it would take to avert a global climate catastrophe

Whose Right to the City? | Lab Week | Scientific

Who are the residents of our cities, and what rights do they have? By escaping an anthropocentric mindset, we will explore and imagine a world that goes beyond human stakeholders. We will trace and analyse humans, the built environment and its technologies, as well as non-human nature within an urban context. What interactions exist, and how, if at all, can possible conflicts be solved? We will jointly draft a manifesto to summarise our findings and reframe the perception, design and code of urban co-existence.

  • Urban tech
  • Rights of nature
  • City ethics
  • Parliament of things
  • Urban co-existence

Lab Week | Competence-based or Artistic

Body and Voice for Non-Violent Conflict Resolution | Lab Week | Artistic

Conflicts do not only manifest themselves in violent confrontations but are natural phenomena that arise almost automatically in any process of change. Every development or change causes conflicts of interest – not automatically violent confrontation. But how to deal with conflicts constructively? This seminar explores in an artistic way how body, voice and movement can be used to learn methods that allow us to solve conflicts non-violently and constructively with each other.

  • Learning through art
  • Non-violent communication through body and voice
  • Body as a safe space

Creating Our Future | Lab Week | Artistic

Do all the stories about our planet have to be those of despair? This peer-to-peer seminar will explore the benefits of creative writing to offer a story of hope and to find new paths to imagine a more positive future. This seminar will offer an alternative method of looking at our world via imagination and creativity. Guided by art scholars from Bath Spa University participants will learn how to express themselves through fiction, poetry and memoir and how to write about what matters.

  • An alternative method of looking at our world via imagination and creativity
  • How to use language creatively
  • Gain ideas and suggestions from practising writers and poets
  • How to apply creative methodologies to a variety of uses and develop a knowledge of editorial skills
  • Awareness of how creative approaches can inform broader discussions

Drifting Characters | Lab Week | Artistic

“Character is destiny” is a quote attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. The word “character” carries two meanings: the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. How can one construct an enigmatic, interesting, ambiguous, complex and at the same time convincing character in literature? Are there moral obligations in this construction? What can we learn from this for dealing with prejudice? This seminar tries to counteract the drifting apart of society by means of literary tools.

  • Identifying complex characters: Fiction (literature) and real life
  • Identifying with complex characters
  • Ethical questions: good vs. evil vs. neither
  • Exploring the complexity of one’s own character and of the others
  • Analysing the double fold concept of character („Character is destiny“ vs. “Character as protagonist”)

Fact or Fake How to Stregthen Digital Courage | Lab Week | Competence-based

Hate speech on the internet and conspiracy theories have become a current, socially urgent issue. Violent digital threats are becoming more and more frequent and are by no means marginal phenomena anymore. This seminar not only deals with the question of how conspiracy theories spread, but also aims to teach skills to actively stand up against hate speech and disinformation on the internet and thereby build digital civil courage.

  • What is disinformation and hate speech and why these phenomena threaten our democracies
  • Techniques for how to investigate disinformation
  • Interventions against hate speech
  • Safe space (Chatham house rules, respectful communication) to discuss in the group about dangerous digital dynamics and potential solutions

Feeling Safe (Is Key) | Lab Week | Artistic

A sense of safety and security is essential in actor training. Work can be very demanding and challenging as students need to be present and emotionally available, at times using their own experiences for creation. As such it is important that they do not feel exposed. This peer-to-peer seminar with students from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art will share the training aspects that allow them to be vulnerable by creating a safe environment.

  • Team building in a new way
  • Basics of actor training
  • Getting out of your comfort zone in a safe environment

Leadership Transformation: Collective Climate Action? | Lab Week | Competence-based

Participatory leadership addresses systemic challenges – such as climate change – by using individual and collective practices of dialogue and co-creation. This seminar combines theory and practice of participatory methods, mental models, and skills on how to tackle individual, organisational and societal topics collectively. Participants will have a chance to connect, engage in meaningful conversations, discover challenges around change, and practice finding solutions in a participatory way.

  • Tools to design and facilitate workshops
  • Theoretical background on participatory leadership, co-created innovation, and “The Art of Hosting”
  • Methodologies that help to tackle individual, organizational, and societal/systemic change
  • Opportunities to practice meaningful conversations and connect as a group
  • A practice ground for connecting participatory leadership with the topic of climate change

The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Unleash Your Innovation Superpower | Lab Week | Competence-based

Entrepreneurship is not limited to start-ups. Innovative problem-solvers, out-of-the-box thinkers and solution implementers are heavily requested in every facet of business life today – thus, it has grown into a life-time skill. This hands-on seminar introduces you to the key concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation in 2022. Together, we will debunk the myths of entrepreneurship and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset to set the stage for reviving Europe from bottom-up.

  • Jointly debunking the myths of entrepreneurship with latest research insights
  • Learn with playful exercises how to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Explore different ideation techniques and developing your own innovation pipeline
  • Recognize and leverage the power of co-innovation
  • Business modelling for newbies

FAQ