The opening of the Humboldt Labor also marks the beginning of the permanent presence of Berlin’s research world in this controversial new cultural institution in the heart of Berlin.
In addition to being the central point of an activity or a network node, “HUB” in German is also the abbreviation of a word for a main transhipment centre. In this sense, the Humboldt Labor’s function as a HUB in the Humboldt Forum makes it much more than merely a “showcase for scholarship” for presenting research proposals and findings. It is also a venue for networking, discussions, exchanging ideas, interdisciplinarity and internationalism – and for contentious debate. We hope that scholars and students alike will appropriate this venue as “their” space for presenting their research, their approaches and their questions. Like a commercial hub, the Humboldt Labor will serve to allow the new findings arising from these new presentation formats and from exchanges with the public to flow back productively into working contexts at the university.
The Humboldt Labor is destined to be a permanent presence in the cultural environment of the Humboldt Forum, offering the university and its cooperation partners the opportunity to reach a wide audience. We aim to offer a space where users and visitors can engage with humanity’s questions great and small – which at the same time are also questions of scholarship. Moreover, people and initiatives from beyond the boundaries of the university are invited to contribute and present their activities.
Alexander von Humboldt wrote in one of his travel diaries: “Everything is interaction and reciprocal.” We would like to show that scholarship has a bearing on us and our lives. In times of alarming political upheavals and the threat to our planet from anthropogenic climate change, the initial exhibition focuses on the question: “What future do we want?” Covering an area of 750 square metres, the exhibition will be on show for three years. In the course of its run, objects will be removed and others added, current research findings will be updated, and new correlations will be established, thereby reflecting the processual nature of scholarship in the displays. In the context of the projected Berlin university alliance, this HUB could become a crucial location for new formats of scholarly communications and experimental research in the coming years.
The Humboldt Labor’s planning team is based at the Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik, one of the central institutes of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The curators are developing the contents of the opening exhibition together with researchers from the research projects that are involved. Additionally, the exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive education and communications programme in cooperation with the Humboldt Forum Akademie and the other actors in the building. The project managers are responsible for coordinating all the tasks required for the organizational implementation of the opening exhibition and the launch of the HUB in the Humboldt Forum.