Panel Discussion What We Brought With Us

Wed, 10/18/2023

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Goethe-Institut New York

Exhibition Opening and Panel Discussion

Register The opening panel of the exhibition serves as an engaging exploration of the profound significance and emotional resonance carried by the objects refugees bring with them when fleeing their homelands. Curators of the exhibition from University Alliance Ruhr’s TU Dortmund University along with University of Cincinnati’s Director of the School of Art will delve into the multifaceted layers of meaning, shedding light on the complex interplay between possessions, identity, and the resilience of individuals in the face of displacement.

Through thought-provoking discussions and poignant insights, the panelists will challenge our assumptions, provoke introspection, and inspire dialogue about the transformative power of objects amidst upheaval. Together, we will unravel the intricate stories woven into each item, questioning the role of material possessions in shaping our collective understanding of home, belonging, and the human experience.

Join us for this reflective opening panel as we embark on a journey of discovery and empathy, delving into the deep well of human resilience and the enduring significance of the things we carry with us.

Prof. Dr. Vanessa Agnew was Professor in Anglophone Studies at University of Duisburg-Essen until 2023 and is now in the Faculty of Cultural Studies at TU Dortmund University; is Honorary Professor in the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at Australian National University, and Associate Director of Academy in Exile. Agnew’s monograph, Enlightenment Orpheus: The Power of Music in Other Worlds (Oxford UP, 2008), won the Oscar Kenshur Prize and the American Musicological Society’s Lewis Lockwood Award. Agnew’s illustrated children’s book on refugee flight, Wir schaffen das – We’ll Make It, appeared under a pen name (Sefa Verlag, 2021), and in Ukrainian and Arabic in 2022. Agnew’s current project is entitled λεῖμμα (leîmma): Remnantal Responses to Flight.

Prof. Kate A. Bonansinga is the Director of the School of Art in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at University of Cincinnati, where she is also professor and teaches courses about curatorial practice and theory and about public art. She is interested in museums as dynamic sites for learning, in the impact of art in gallery and  non-gallery settings, and in the current methods that artists employ to make a difference in society and culture. Bonansinga is the author of Curating at the Edge: Artists Respond to the  U.S./Mexico Border (University of Texas Press, 2014). She curated and authored the exhibition  publication for Staged Stories: 2009 Renwick Craft Invitational at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and for Unraveled: Textiles Reconsidered, 2016, at Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.

Prof. Dr. Kader Konuk is a comparatist with expertise in the literary and cultural history of migration and exile. She is professor of German literature at the TU Dortmund University. Between 2014–2023, she was professor of Turkish literary and cultural studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen and between 2001–2013 an assistant professor and, subsequently, associate professor of comparative literature and German studies at the University of Michigan. In 2022, she was appointed honorary professor at the Research School of Humanities & Arts at the Australian National University. Her research focuses on ethnic and religious communities in the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and Turkey, and examines discourses, cultural practices, and disciplinary formations that are shaped by travel, migration, and exile. In 2017, she co-founded Academy in Exile, a third-party- funded fellowship program that has offered 78 scholars-at-risk from 15 different countries fellowships to resume their research in Germany. She currently serves on the board of the Consortium for Humanities Centers and Institutes and the Foundation Exilmuseum in Berlin.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Baer is Professor and Director of NYU’s Center for the Humanities at New York University and a writer, translator, and scholar who believes passionately in the transformative power of ideas and books, and that real conversations play a key role in our evolution as conscious, responsible and compassionate people — hence, his publications, including single-authored and edited books, his commitment to higher education, and his podcasts. Baer’s published oeuvre includes books on a range of topics, including poetry, photography, free speech, September 11, Holocaust testimonies, as well as a dystopian novel (We Are But a Moment, 2017), and a collection of stories (Beggar’s Chicken: Stories from Shanghai, 2012). His analysis of free speech in the 21st century university, What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth, and Equality on Campus (Oxford University Press, 2019), deepens his widely debated defense of the university’s obligation to use free speech as a tool to create knowledge by the greatest number of participants first made in 2017 in The New York Times.

The exhibition "What We Brought With us" will be presented by Goethe-Institut New York and University Alliance Ruhr, it is created by Academy in Exile with the support of University of Cincinnati, New York University, Mellon Foundation and Volkswagen Stiftung.