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Researchers in exile – exhibition with portraits of refugee researchers

An exhibition at the Humboldt-Universität depicts the lives of academics who have been forced into exile

From 3rd to 24th September, the exhibition “Standing for Freedom / Poser pour la liberté” at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin will show what it means to have to leave your own country as an academic. The president of the HU and the French ambassador will speak at the opening event.

The exhibition depicts portraits of refugee researchers who are now living in France. The Humboldt-Universität, itself host to numerous at-risk and refugee researchers, will be housing the travelling exhibition until 24th September.

The photo compositions, consisting of a portrait as well as scenes from the country of origin, of the host country and of personal items, show the stories of the people portrayed. They offer a foray through four subject areas: The History of Academic Asylum; Researchers in Mortal Danger; Academia in Exile; and Report, Monitor, Testify.

Countries like France and Germany, especially, and their universities, consider themselves to have an obligation to take care of these endangered people. Germany and France cooperate closely in defending academic freedom and have launched the Philipp Schwartz Initiative and its French counterpart PAUSE for this purpose. It is also for this reason that the HU is a member of the "Scholars at Risk" network and the New University in Exile Consortium.

The exhibition, at the interface between research and art, integrates different layers into one whole: the work of Pierre-Jérôme Adjedj (photographer) and Pascale Laborier (researcher and curator) as well as the PAUSE programme.

The partners of the exhibition are the Humboldt-Universität, the French Embassy and the Centre Marc Bloch.

Time and location

The exhibition, which runs from 3rd–24th September, can be visited from Monday to Saturday in the East Atrium (Lichthof Ost) of the main building of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Access is via the inner courtyard at Dorotheenstr. 19. Entry is free. Group visits should be arranged in advance.

Opening event

The exhibition will be launched on 7th September with an event at the Humboldt-Universität (HU). The president of the HU, Sabine Kunst, and the ambassador of the French Republic, Anne-Marie Descôtes, will speak at the event (12:30 p.m.–1:00 p.m.).

In a subsequent panel, the curator Pascale Laborier and refugee researchers who have found a new academic home in Berlin will share insights into their lives and work (1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.). The event will end with closing remarks from the photographer Pierre-Jérôme Adjedj and the director of the Centre Marc Bloch, Jakob Vogel, followed by a preview of the exhibition (1.45 p.m.–2.30 p.m.).

Representatives of the media are very welcome. We ask that they please register in advance.

Further information

At-risk and refugee researchers at the Humboldt-Universität: Since 2015, the HU has been increasingly committed to championing at-risk scholars. Thanks to the support of the Philipp Schwartz Initiative from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Academic Freedom programme of the Einstein Foundation Berlin, the HU has since been able to take in 30 researchers, who receive financial support.


Neda Soltani

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Officer for At-Risk Scholars ; 030 2093 20087