In this seminar we critically examined selection processes and barriers when wanting to study as well as studying at art colleges. What exclusions and discriminations already exist before one is accepted into the impressive buildings? What expectations are naturally placed on students and who can actually fulfill them? How diverse is the student body and what are the reasons for it? How do universities present themselves to the outside world and how do students experience reality? Who is hidden or openly excluded before and during their art or design studies? How do such exclusion mechanisms persist in the professional world?
These were questions we discussed during the three day seminar using theoretical and practical approaches. Therefore we talked to Sophie Vögele about the study Art.School.Differences, which deals with injustices and normativities in the area of art education. We also discussed power abuse as well as discrimination in entrance exams and used the seminar as a safer space for exchanging own experiences. Additionally we were also concerned with the question what kind of artistic practices are rated as ‘good’ at the participating students art schools and what effects that had/has on their studies. We learned about student initiatives at the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) (#exitracismudk, Critical Diversity Blog and AG Critical Diversity) and met for an exchange with Mutlu Ergün-Hamaz, at that time the new diversity officer of the UdK. The seminar was part of the Studium Generale program of the UdK, wherefore we met far away from the UdK on the grounds of the Floating
University to enable an appropriate exchange framework for getting to know one another, discuss, eat together and prepare activities.
During the annual student exhibition of the UdK in July of 2022 the seminar group showcased the interactive installation “Wir müssen Ihnen leider mitteilen, …” in the inner courtyard of the main UdK building. It is a response to the rejection letters sent every year, which deny thousands of applicants access to art schools. While otherwise the reasons for rejection are not apparent and form an invisible wall of exclusion mechanisms and discrimination, answers are collected here collectively.
The organising team had the opportunity to reflect the seminar as well as the intervention within the article “Wir müssen Ihnen leider mitteilen, …” – ein Beitrag von Eine Krise bekommen that was published on the Art.School.Differences blog. You can also download the article here.