Kerry Bystrom And Zaher Alshamy. Photo: Annette Hornischer

Beyond “Wilkommenskultur”

Intense debates about appropriate measures for dealing with large-scale migration are taking place in both Germany and the United States. Against this backdrop, the American Academy in Berlin hosted an event in cooperation with the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz entitled “Beyond ‘Willkommenskultur’: Artistic and Academic Approaches to Integration from a Transatlantic Perspective” on the evening of Wednesday, February 28, 2018. Two multidisciplinary panel discussions, related to the Academy’s migration theme, brought together thinkers and practitioners from both countries and from a wide variety of artistic and academic backgrounds to gain a broad-based understanding of two catalysts of integration.

The participants on the first panel, about integration in the arts, were Raven Chacon, a composer, performer, installation artist, and the Inga Maren Otto Fellow in Music Composition at the American Academy this spring; Jörg Heiser, the director of the Institut Kunst im Kontext, Universität der Künste Berlin; Julia Grosse, the co-publisher and editor-in-chief of Contemporary And (C&); and Josh Kun, a professor of communication and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, and this spring’s Bosch Fellow in Public Policy at the American Academy. The arts panel was moderated by Pamela Rosenberg, a senior advisor to the American Academy in Berlin.

The second panel, about academic life and institutions, was moderated by Academy president Michael P. Steinberg and was comprised of participants Kerry Bystrom, the associate dean and a professor of English and human rights at Bard College Berlin; Rajshri Jayaraman, an associate professor of economics at ESMT Berlin; Keith Watenpaugh, a professor and the director of Human Rights Studies at the University of California, Davis, and director of the Article 26 Backpack™ program, and a spring 2018 Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy; and Zaher Alshamy, a PhD candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin.

The evening was introduced by Barbara Schneider-Kempf, director of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz. The full video of the discussions is below, and coverage of the event ran in Der Tagesspiegel.