Biannual 09.-10.11.2022

You can expect exciting impulses on a sustainable future and an outlook on the future of our European university alliance.

Look forward to short keynotes on "Clean Water" and on sustainable tourism, as well as art and reports on the criminalization of refugee assistance by Scholars- and artists-at-risk of the UDE Academy in Exile.

The full programme can be found here.

To register for the events or for individual panels, please follow this link.

Our Programme

Our Programme

Hosts and Speaker Biographies

Prof. Dr. Barbara AlbertRector of the University of Duisburg-Essen

Barbara Albert became Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE)  in April 2022. Prior to taking office she was Professor of Inorganic Solid State and Structural Chemistry at the Technical University, Darmstadt (2005-2022) and Professor of Solid State Chemistry and Materials Science, University Hamburg (2001-2005). At the TU Darmstadt she was Vice-President for Research and Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry. She received her PhD and Habilitation at the University of Bonn. Barbara Albert is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and a past president of the German Chemical Society. As a member of the Supervisory Board of Evonik Industries AG she chairs the Supervisory Board Committee for Innovation and Research since 2018.

Prof. Jón Atli BenediktssonRector of the University of Iceland and President of the Aurora Universities Network

Professor Jón Atli Benediktsson became President of the Governing Council and Rector of the University of Iceland in July 2015. Prior to taking office Jón Atli Benediktsson was a professor in the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He was the Pro-Rector for Science and Academic Affairs from 2009, and served in various other administrative capacities within the University of Iceland. Professor Benediktsson received his PhD from Purdue University, USA in 1990. His research is in the areas of remote sensing, image analysis, signal processing and biomedical engineering and he has published over 300 papers and book chapters in his field. Professor Benediktsson has been a member of the Science and Technology Policy Council of Iceland since 2012. He is the Chair of the Icelandic Rectors´ Conference and sits on the council of the European University Association. Jón Atli was elected President of the Aurora Universities Network in 2020.

Prof. Dr. Barbara BuchenauAurora Executive Director at the University of Duisburg-Essen

Barbara Buchenau was Vice-Rector for Social Responsibility, Diversity & Internationalisation at the UDE from 2018 – 2022. In her research, Buchenau addresses the evolution of North American (anti-) urban imaginaries across the centuries. As the speaker of the Graduate Research Group “Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures: American Models, Transatlantic Interventions” she works with urban developers and researchers in the US and Germany to better understand the problematic legacy of the rust belts left by the montane industry in North America and Europe.

Prof. Salvador Anton ClavéProfessor of Regional Geographical Analysis at the Rovira I Virgili University

Salvador Anton Clavé is the Principal Investigator of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) Research Group on Territorial Analysis and Tourism Studies (GRATET) and Director of Research of Tourism Innovation at Eurecat - the Technology Centre of Catalonia. His research concentrates on the analysis of the evolution of tourism destinations; visitor attractions and theme parks; destination image, planning, policies and governance; tourism sustainable development; visitors spatial behavior; and issues concerning ICT and tourism. He was the recipient of the prestigious Roy Wolfe Award from the Recreation, Tourism and Sports Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers in 2021 for his outstanding contributions to the field and discipline of tourism geography.

Prof. Dr. Florian FreitagProfessor of American Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen

Florian Freitag has been Professor of American Studies and co-lead of the Aurora pilot domain “Cultures: Identities and Diversities” since 2019. Among other topics, Freitag is interested in tourism and theme parks and has co-directed three interdisciplinary research groups on theme parks, two of which were funded by the German Research Foundation DFG. Together with 11 international colleagues from history, geography, performance studies, tourism studies, and other disciplines, Freitag has just completed Key Concepts in Theme Park Studies, a transdisciplinary introduction to theme parks.


Prof. Karen ShireVice-Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen for University Culture, Diversity & International Affairs

Prior to becoming Vice-Rector, Karen Shire was the Director of the Essen College for Gender Research (EKfG), and Scholar-in-Residence at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. She is a former member of university council, and serves on scientific boards and selection committees at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Max-Weber-Foundation and the Institute of Work and Qualification in Germany. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990, and was guest professor at the University of Tokyo, the Collegio Carlo Alberto and the City, University of London. She has authored and edited 10 books and numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her current research concerns are translational labor regulation, and the transformation of gender regimes.

Prof. Dr. Bernd SuresProfessor of Aquatic Ecology at the University of Duisburg-Essen

Bernd Sures studied chemistry and biology at the Ruhr-University Bochum and received his PhD and Habilitation in Zoology and Ecology at the University of Karlsruhe. At the UDE he also leads the DFG funded collaborative research unit on acquatic ecology. He is the author of more than 200 articles in international peer reviewed journals and received the Karl-Asmund-Rudolphi award for outstanding research in the field of environmental parasitology in 2004. He has been a visiting professor at the Universities of Brno (Czech Republic), Johannesburg, and is extraordinary professor for environmental sciences and management at the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa. He is currently serving on the scientific board of the research center “One Health Ruhr” in the Research Alliance Ruhr.

Break Activities sponsored by the UDE Academy in Exile

Academy in Exile (AiE) was founded in 2017 together with several partnering institutions. AiE offers scholars who are threatened in their home countries because of their academic or civic engagement for human rights, peace, and democracy the opportunity to resume their research abroad. AiE is led by UDE Turkish Studies Professor Kader Konuk.

In 2022, the Academy in Exile extended fellowships to three artists at risk. One of these fellows, Diren Demir, an artist from Turkey, is featured during the breaks of the AURORA Biannual, where they will present and discuss two performances, one produced for the AURORA Biannual theme sustainability.

AiE provides a forum for reflecting on the pressing challenges to intellectual life, critical thinking, reason, social justice, and diversity that are facing us today and that define the parameters of academic freedom. For this purpose AiE operates a Critical Thinking Programme including courses offered for credit. During the lunch break on November 10, we feature an interview with Sara Mardini, a refugee from Syria, who speaks as part of the online course led by Prof. Vanessa Agnew (Anglistik) on Refugee Routes.

The AiE has received support from the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Volkswagen Foundation, IIE-SRF, the Freudenberg Foundation, the Open Societies Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation.

Diren Demir

Diren Demir is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator from Istanbul, Turkey. Demir’s work seeks transformative solutions to the challenges posed by toxic masculine culture. Demir’s installations and performances frequently deal with revelation and the body-power relationship as a site of conflict. Demir focuses on transformational activism, participatory practices, and developing new models of resistance in their artworks. In addition to queer-themed works, in which the “pure existence” of their own body is used to break down stereotypical gender positions, Demir also aims to de-gender memories of place and the city by referring to LGBTIQ+ history in their articles, seminars, and workshops. In 2018, they translated the compilation S.T.A.R. into Turkish. In 2019, their volume A Night in June: A Biographical Analysis of the Stonewall Revolution was published by Kaos Çocuk Parkı Press. In August 2022, their new book of poetry, Hail to the Fallen, was launched in bookstores. Demir has curated more than 30 guerrilla exhibitions in public places and rural areas, foregrounding the accessibility of art, and has also exhibited in places such as the Akbank Art and Gazhane Museum. Their performances and projects have appeared in Estonia, Turkey, Serbia, the Netherlands, Germany, and India. Demir is an Academy in Exile artist in residence in the 2022 Fixing What’s Broken program.

Art Breaks -  Performances during the AURORA Biannual by Diren Demir

Nov. 10, 12:00-12:15 and 15:15-15:30

Performance Video - Diren Demir Map of the Seas, 2022 (created for the AURORA Biannual)

The "Map of the Seas" performance deals with the melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming. Arctic glaciers have been significantly destroyed for many reasons, including greenhouse gas emissions, the search for oil and natural gas, and increased human activity in the Arctic Ocean. "Map of the Seas" draws attention to the Anthropocene Age, the most recent geological epoch, during which the geology and ecosystems of the Earth have been radically altered as a result of human impact. We are reminded that glaciers are melting and disappearing from the map every day. In the performance, dyed ice cubes of different sizes are placed on a canvas. Demir creates a spontaneous and new world map as the ice cubes melt due to the heat emitted from mobile light sources during this long-term performance.

Live Performance for Performistanbul - Diren Demir Calling Back Nature, 2020

Kulning, or animal herding call, is an ancient form of Scandinavian singing used to call livestock down from inaccessible mountain pastures. In this performance, Demir transforms and re-interprets this ancient herding technique by recalling the power of nature from a rooftop. During the early phases of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were places where curfews were imposed for long periods of time. Species of animals that had abandoned the city were reported to be returning as human activity declined on city streets. Through this call out—inspired by a traditional practice—Demir stages a vocal performance to appeal to animals that took over the deserted urban landscape.

Read more

Review Biannual 2018 at UDE