Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien
Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

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Thicket of Ideas
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Date | 29.11.2016 - 02.12.2016
Venue | ÖBB Unternehmenszentrale, Am Hauptbahnhof 2, 1100 Wien and Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus, Akademiestr. 13, 1010 Wien

Organized by
Initiative Minderheiten, Center for Advanced Studies South Eastern (CAS SEE), ERSTE Stiftung, Institut für die Wissenschaften von Menschen (IWM), Asylkoordination Österreich, arge region kultur, GBW Minderheiten, Interkulturelles Zentrum (iz), Karl-Renner-Institut

In co-operation with
Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB), Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus, REMESO (Institute for Migration, Ethnicity and Society, Linköping University), oiip (Austrian Institute for International Affairs), IDM (Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe)


While the European states are not able to create humane conditions for those who have fled war zones in the Near East in recent years, the dedication of Europe’s civil society proves that solidarity is alive and that the vision of a democratic Europe will not be abandoned. Community action—whether in smaller communities or in larger cities—is becoming a guiding principle for many. As a result, actions and organizations from civil society strongly influence European democracies, changing and reshaping them.

What kind of potential do these actions of civil society hold for the advancement of European democracies in connection with the most recent refugee movement? What can be learned from historical experiences with the wars in Yugoslavia, but also from experiences today in Sweden? How is the refugee movement changing European democracies and what can be learned from civil society’s activities, which have been emerging since last year?

The Aktionstage: Refugees - Migration - Democracy, which are being supported by a number of organizations, are dedicated to exploring these questions from a theoretical and practical perspective and attempt to understand the current situation through historical and geographic comparisons.


The new faces of Democracy! European Experiences

The first, scientific part, which will be held at the Academy of Fine Arts, reflects on the experiences with migration from former Yugoslavia from the 1990s to today. This example provides a long-term study of the issues of flight, return, transnationalism and the impact on host societies and communities of origin. Questions about the impact of the current refugee movement on our understanding of European democracies and about negotiating new notions of belonging within Europe are also tied to this, because the debates about the safety of the EU’s external borders and the refugee quotas change the democratic self-image of the European Union and its member states.


The new faces of Solidarity! Civil society and activismus

The second part, held in the ÖBB headquarters at the Hauptbahnhof—which has become a historical place in connection with refugees since 2015, offers an opportunity for international and regional actors to exchange experiences and network with each other, while interweaving theory and practice. The focus is on new forms of activism within civil society, particularly along the “West Balkan Route,” in Sweden and in the countryside. The presentation of the film Logbook Serbistan and a talk with the director Želimir Žilnik will conclude the Aktionstage.

program: https://www.facebook.com/events/1816734671924385/

Supported by
MA 17 – Stadt Wien, Industriellenvereinigung, Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union

Media partner

Project management: Vedran Džihić und Cornelia Kogoj
Organisation and press work: Angela Wieser
Public Relations and Communication: Philipp Sonderegger
Team and Conzept: Gerda Daniel, Vedran Džihić, Christiane Erharter, Cornelia Kogoj, Ivan Krastev, Herbert Langthaler, Branka Likić-Brborić, Gerhard Marchl, Shalini Randeria, Franjo Steiner, Gerd Valchars, Nada Zerzer
Administration: Helga Kovrigar
Finanze: Sabine Schwaighofer