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Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School 2019: Der Kampf um die Wahrheit - Kulturinstitutionen im Fokus gesellschaftlicher Polarisierungen

Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School 2019

Der Kampf um die Wahrheit

Kulturinstitutionen im Fokus gesellschaftlicher Polarisierungen

Dresden, 23. September 2. Oktober 201

The public discourse has become an arena of the struggle for truth. Claims to truth are negotiated in mutual accusations of representing the wrong truth. Terms such as post-factual, fake news and alternative facts make it all the more difficult to communicate about differing explanations of the world and diverging interests on a sophisticated level. Such communication moreover takes place against the background of growing skepticism – not only towards the nation’s elites, but also towards institutions that have traditionally conceived of themselves as producers and representatives of existing orders of knowledge and society.

Museums and libraries, but also universities, as institutions whose purpose is to store knowledge, make it accessible, and thus further it, are accordingly under increasing pressure. These institutions have a long tradition of seeking to distinguish between original and forgery, between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and of the struggle for proof and counterproof. At the same time, they serve as forums for discourse and resonance chambers for societal developments. Culture and knowledge institutions are thus not only the focus of societal polarizations, but within those polarizations they must also take a stance and act accordingly. They are theatres of the war for truth, and at the same time they are in the firing line of competing claims to truth.

This is precisely the topic the Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School 2019 will address. The ten-day programme will pursue issues of scope for action, competencies and responsibility. How do museums and libraries proceed when they find themselves at the centre of societal polarizations? What role do they play as arenas and venues of societal debates? And what position do they take themselves, as protagonists, with regard to polarizing issues? Perhaps scientific and cultural institutions should respond to reductions of the public discourse to ‘true’ or ‘false’ by pointing out that there can be several truths, that mistakes can also be productive, that lies can write successful stories, and that in some cases ignorance can be a helpful.


The summer school will be held primarily in German. Individual programme items and discussions may be held in English. We expressly welcome applications from all over the world. Applicants should be capable of following lectures in German.


Deadline for applications: 19 May 2019


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