Academic Freedom


Six minutes for academic freedom

Six minutes for academic freedom – that’s what five members of the Junge Akademie are calling for in a joint project. Anna Lisa Ahlers, Nausikaä El-Mecky, Anuscheh Farahat, Bettina Keller and Fabian Schmidt are working on four-minute films in which they present their own perspective on the question of why academic freedom is valuable to society. The goal of the project is to create a total of four films that will be released in May 2018.

Numerous tendencies to restrict academic freedom can currently be observed around the world. Researchers who produce ‘undesirable’ results often find themselves placed under political and financial pressure while opportunities for the international exchange of knowledge among scientists are impeded and unwanted research findings are openly discredited. So far, academic freedom has not been directly challenged in Germany. But even here academia is being subjected to new pressures to justify itself, such as when research projects are required to adhere to cost-benefit stipulations, or when the reason for being – especially when it comes to theoretical research, but also for highly specialized fields with limited possibilities for application – is generally called into question.

The complex framework of research and society involved often makes it difficult for the layperson to understand in this debate and gives rise to numerous questions: “Why is it necessary to study the historical genesis of a linguistic detail?”, or “What is a research finding even worth if ‘new truths’ are being hailed in the news every month?”

One of the goals of the project is to engage with these questions and provide a vivid explanation for why academia cannot function without freedom. The series is a collaboration between Die Junge Akademie, Antonia Schanze (videojournalist), and Christopher Kuß (media- and communication designer).

In July 2018, the first two films were published. Click here for the Press Release.

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