Current statements


HRK: Hochschulen als freien Diskursraum sichern


Die 38. Mitgliederversammlung der Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK) hat sich in ihrer Sitzung in Fulda ausführlich zu den jüngsten Protesten zum Nahost-Konflikt an Hochschulen und den öffentlichen Reaktionen aus Politik und Medien ausgetauscht. Dazu erklärt HRK-Präsident Prof. Dr. Walter Rosenthal:
„Der Umgang mit Antisemitismus und den jüngsten Protesten im Kontext des Nahost-Konflikts an Hochschulen waren heute zentrales Thema der HRK-
Mitgliederversammlung in Fulda. Die Hochschulen verstehen sich als Orte der offenen Diskussion und des Dialogs. Sie nehmen die Verantwortung wahr, umfassend und wo immer möglich einen akademischen Diskussionsraum bereitzustellen. Durch entsprechende Standards und Verfahrensregeln gewährleisten sie einen Austausch auch über gesellschaftlich strittige
Themen und Meinungen. Hochschulen sind in der Lage, zwischen
wissenschaftsgeleiteten Diskussionen und solchen, die sich nicht mehr im Rahmen der Gesetze und der Verfassung bewegen, zu unterscheiden und darauf
situationsangemessen zu reagieren. Hochschulen bieten keinen Raum und keine Bühne für verfassungsfeindliche oder strafbare Taten, für Gewalt jeglicher Art, für
Diskriminierung, Rassismus oder Antisemitismus. Vielmehr gehen sie aktiv dagegen vor, damit sich alle Hochschulangehörigen auf dem Campus sicher fühlen können. Die Hochschulleitungen nehmen ihren Ermessensspielraum im Rahmen der Hochschulautonomie verantwortungsbewusst wahr. Sie erwarten von Bundes- und Landespolitik Vertrauen und Rückhalt. In den vergangenen Wochen wurden
Wissenschaftler:innen und Hochschulleitungen von einzelnen Medien diffamierend an den Pranger gestellt. Dieses Vorgehen ist für uns inakzeptabel.“

Vote for a Democratic Europe

27.03.2024 European Alliance of Academies

Europe has never been in greater danger of being deprived of its achievements and democratic values as it is now. Or, in other words: Never before in the three decades since the foundation of the European Union have its citizens been more called upon to go to the polls than for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament between 6 and 9 June 2024.

While Europe is going through challenging times, right-wing populists are gaining a growing impact on our societies – with fatal consequences for the freedom of expression in the media, in the political and the public debate, in the arts and culture. Each of us is affected.

The hateful discourse delivered by far-right parties erects walls instead of building bridges. Diversity, respect and solidarity are the core elements of lively democracies. The European Alliance of Academies appeals to the citizens of Europe to assume their responsibility in protecting these values by exercising their right to vote.

No place for anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination

The management of the weißensee school of art and design berlin is open to discussions with all members of the university who have experienced discrimination in connection with the Middle East conflict or whose grief, fear and anger would otherwise not be heard. The university management strives to provide safe and confidential discourse formats, moderated by external experts. Our sympathy and condolences are expressly extended to all innocent victims, including members of academic institutions in all areas affected by the conflict.

The university management is committed to university autonomy and supports the freedom of art, science, research and teaching. It firmly opposes any form of violence, intimidation or hate speech, and any form of discrimination, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Arabism.

Declaration by the State Conference of Rectors and Presidents of Berlin Universities: "No place for anti-Semitism"


The General Student Committee (AStA) of the weißensee kunsthochschule berlin distances itself from anonymous letters

26.06.2023 Berlin

In the wake of the "artspring Berlin Kunstfestival", anonymous notices appeared on studio spaces in Prenzlauer Berg in the second week of June, signed "Wir Studierende von Weißensee" and calling for the eviction of the studios. We would like to distance ourselves clearly from the letter below:
The letter is apparently addressed to artists of the "artspring Berlin Festival", who opened their studios on the weekend of 3 - 4 June 2023. On behalf of all khb students, it calls on them to leave their studios and hand them over to the students of weißensee kunsthochschule berlin.
The authors of the text recognise the artists for their artistic seriousness
seriousness, their diligence and their skills. They describe themselves as "young and talented". Even if the studio situation in Berlin is difficult, the tone and message in the letter are wrong. It is not up to individuals to judge who is entitled to make art or be an artist, nor to deny them the right to rent space for their work. The statements in no way reflect the different thoughts and attitudes of all khb students. Elitist and exclusive thinking is neither appropriate nor expedient and ultimately raises more voices against such a demand than it actually ensures free studios!
actually ensures free studios! We therefore firmly distance ourselves from the posted letters.


To the "young and talented" authors of this text: It is completely legitimate to denounce the precarious studio and labour situation of artists. However, these are part of a structural political problem. So if you want to take action, you should fight on a political rather than an individual level to improve the studio situation as a whole. At the same time, this kind of activism encourages competition. And competition among yourselves does not help in the "fight" for generally better conditions that affect a large number of artists.

Your AStA


Solidarity with the feminist revolution in Iran

25. November 2022

Solidarity with the Feminist Revolution in Iran
Joint Statement of the Arts-Based Universities of Berlin

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, 2022, the Women's* and Equal Opportunity Councils and administrations of the four arts-based universities in Berlin jointly declare their solidarity with the feminist revolution in Iran and stand up for equal rights, self-determination, and freedom.

November 25 is the annual global day of commemoration and action to combat discrimination and violence of all forms against women* and girls.

The Women* and Equality Councils of the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK), the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin (KHB), the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin (HfM) and The Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts (HfS), together with their university administrations, stand up for women 's* rights and human rights in Iran, in Germany and everywhere.

Universities in Iran have become centers of resistance against the Iranian leadership. In response to the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran's so-called “morality police”, students began striking at universities in early October. Since then, the protests have spread to nearly all Iranian universities and have resulted in arrests, torture, and killings of demonstrators by regime forces and university closures, according to published reports.

“We condemn the violence that demonstrators in Iran are facing and stand in solidarity with all people who have been taking to the streets for their rights in the uprising led by courageous women* for over two months across the country. We support all those protesting against human rights violations and decades of political oppression, risking arrest and death or suffering atrocities in prisons on a daily basis. Together, we declare our solidarity with the feminist revolution in Iran and stand up for equality, self-determination, and freedom. We support Iranian and Iranian-diasporic students and staff at our universities and express our solidarity and compassion with them and their families.”
The Women's* and Equality Advisory Councils and university administrations of the UdK Berlin, KHB, HfM Berlin and HfS Berlin.

*Including all those who identify as women

#InternationalerTaggegenGewaltanFrauen  #FreeIran #WeSeeYou #IranRevolution #Woman_Life_Freedom #JinJizanAzadi

HRK General Assembly condemns violence against university members in Iran

16. November 2022

At its meeting yesterday in Jena, the General Assembly of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) expressed its dismay at the continuing state violence in Iran against peacefully protesting citizens, including many students and academics. The assembly of German university leaders declared its solidarity with the Iranian university members and the citizens demonstrating for human rights and explicitly also for women's rights and equality in Iran. It appealed to the Iranian leadership to immediately refrain from the use of violence, to seek dialogue and to respect freedom of expression and academia at all costs.

In the course of the nationwide demonstrations in favour of respect for human rights, there have been strikes and protests at numerous Iranian universities in recent weeks; for example at the University of Tehran, Amirkabir University of Technology, Sharif University of Technology and Islamic Azad University. Although university campuses are protected by law in Iran, police and other security forces have repeatedly used violence against peacefully protesting university members, and some university campuses have been stormed. The arrests of numerous students by armed security forces in plain clothes and attacks by Basij militias on various universities, such as the University of Sistan and Baluchestan in the Sunni south-east or the University of Kurdistan in the north-west of the country, have also been reported.

"The right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and academic freedom are being violated to a considerable extent in Iran. We condemn the massive violence that is being used in particular against university members who are concerned about the present and future of their country," said HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt. "I would also like to express my thanks for the solidarity that students and researchers from Iran are currently experiencing at German universities. Iranian students are the fourth largest group of international students from outside Europe in Germany. Their concern for relatives and friends in Iran is great."

Scholars at Risk (SaR), the international network for the protection of academics at risk, is also deeply concerned about the excessive violence against Iranian students, teachers and researchers in particular. SaR calls for support for Iranian students and academics through hosting agreements and in the fight for academic freedom.


Iran: HRK Senate concerned about violence against university staff

05. Oktober 2022

The Senate of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) expressed its shock and concern at its meeting on Wednesday in view of the escalating situation in Iran and the repression of students and academics at numerous Iranian universities that is clearly being carried out by the state. In the course of the nationwide protests following the violent death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini in police custody, there were apparently strikes and protests at more than one hundred universities. According to consistent media reports, the government is taking increasingly harsh action against the protesters, many of whom are university staff.


"The right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are being violated to a considerable extent. The situation fills us with great concern," said HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt. The HRK Senate declared its solidarity with the Iranian citizens, in particular with the members of Iranian universities, in their commitment to human rights and explicitly also the rights of women, and appealed to all those involved to refrain from violence.


Statement by the university management on the inventory of human remains

2. März 2022

The weißensee academy of art berlin has a collection of human remains whose origin is unknown.

The collection is not used for teaching and is not accessible to the public.

Since taking office in June 2021, Rector Dr Angelika Richter has endeavoured to ensure that the art academy handles the human remains in a transparent, sensitive and critical manner and takes proactive steps to come to terms with them. This basic ethical and political understanding also includes making information accessible.



In 2016, a ligament skeleton and a muscle man made of plaster by Lutego Vargas were transferred from the collection of the weißensee academy of art berlin to the Anatomical Collection of the Dresden University of Fine Arts. The muscle man is now in the anatomical collection of the Charité hospital in Berlin.

An inventory and conservation assessment of the human remains commissioned at the end of 2021 and carried out by conservator Jakob Fuchs led to the conclusion that the collection at the Academy of Fine Arts includes 99 bones, partial body skeletons, mounting skeletons and skulls. It is not clear how many individuals these belong to, nor is the identity of the people whose body parts serve as scientific specimens.

Storage situation

On the initiative of Professor Tyyne Pollmann, Professor of Anatomy and Morphology in the Artistic Design Department at the weißensee school of art and design berlin, customised boxes were produced in the winter semester 2021/22 - with the support of the school's wood workshop and interested students - as a worthy home for the bones. This measure served to improve the storage situation, bring it closer to conservation and ethical standards and thus take an important first step towards rehumanising the human remains.


Archive researches

Despite extensive, ongoing research by art historian Dr Hildtrud Ebert at the Berlin State Archives, there is currently no concrete evidence of the origin, acquisition and arrival of the remains at the university.


Scientific report

In summer 2021, the university took part in a scientific report on the inventory of human remains from colonial contexts in Berlin based on research by Prof Tyyne Pollmann. Under the title We want them back, the report was published on 28 February 2022 by Decolonize Berlin e.V., the coordination office for a city-wide concept for coming to terms with Berlin's colonial past.

A colonial or other context of injustice cannot be ruled out in the existence of the university. However, according to the current state of knowledge, there are no remains of people whose origins can be assigned to a colonial context with a high degree of probability.

The university is aware that the collection of human remains, should they originate from an unjust context, is morally and ethically highly problematic. Its aim is to deal with human remains in a humane manner and to take further steps towards clarification.



The handling of human remains for which the provenance is unlikely to be clarified - as can be assumed in the case of the weißensee kunsthochschule berlin collection - remains an open question.

The recording and conservation assessment of the collection at the weißensee kunsthochschule berlin by Jakob Fuchs recommends transferring the human remains, or at least the part that may still need to be researched, to another institution with adequate possibilities for research and ethically appropriate handling, as well as the burial of the collection for which no further information on origin, age, use and further classification can be obtained.

The scientific report by Decolonize Berlin e.V. points to the particular relevance and urgency of further provenance research and recommends cross-institutional, interdisciplinary and transnational research projects, especially in the case of incomplete or unresolved provenance, as well as the adoption of ethical guidelines for the handling of human remains.

For questions and comments please contact:  rektorat(at)

The scientific report on the inventory of human remains from colonial contexts in Berlin can be found here


OPEN LETTER from the Rectors' Conference of the German Universities of the Arts

Statement by the Academic Senate on accusations in the press, radio and social media that the weißensee kunsthochschule is "anti-semitic":

Over the past few days, we have had to deal with a variety of accusations from the press, radio and social media in which our university has been labelled "anti-Semitic". At the same time, we have been accused of boycotting or censoring the freedom of study, teaching and research of our students and teaching staff.

The Academic Senate of the weißensee school of art and design berlin has issued the following statement in response:

We see our university as fundamentally open, but not as socio-politically arbitrary. The university was founded in 1946 by people from exile and resistance who wanted a democratic, humane, anti-fascist society. Since fascist, anti-Semitic, racist and discriminatory forces have regained influence in our country, we are opposing these forces. This includes confronting discrimination and privilege ourselves, questioning power structures and not giving room to inhuman ideologies and behaviour. Due to the historical context, anti-Semitism in Germany is a form of discrimination that we resolutely oppose at all levels.

The figures of anti-Semitism, contempt, power, oppression and domination are manifold. They emerge from complex structures of contradiction. Their analysis and realisation is controversial by nature, characterised by ideological attributions, projections, fears of loss and desires for simplification. The arts can intervene in these controversial debates in a way that no other area of society can. They can articulate the ambivalence of social signatures of contempt, domination, discrimination and resistance to them in a special way. They are predestined to bring these issues into the public sphere. As an art academy, we need spaces in which we can experiment with aesthetic strategies of cognition and impact; spaces in whose design we have a special responsibility towards all students; spaces that are kept free of thought prohibitions and ideological stereotypes. We defend these free spaces.

The Academic Senate expressly supports the university management's approach in this matter and supports its efforts to resolve conflicts together and strengthen the cohesion of the university.

The Academic Senate of the weißensee academy of art berlin unanimously on
04 November 2020.

Statement by the Rector on the announcements in the media on the occasion of the event "School for unlearning Zionism" at the Kunsthalle der weißensee kunsthochschule berlin / 12.11.2020:

On the occasion of ongoing publications on the event "School for Unlearning Zionism" at the Kunsthalle der weißensee kunsthochschule berlin, which contain false allegations, I feel compelled to make the following corrections:

1. At no time has there been a ban on the "School for unlearning Zionism" event at the Kunsthalle.

2. The university management only found out about the event through press enquiries after it had started. After the start and during the event, the guest professors responsible and the students involved refused to communicate with the university management.

3. The claim that the university management withdrew its support for the event and cancelled the funding is false. It is true that neither the content nor the financial planning was known and therefore could not be cancelled. The 10-year funding from the BMBF, which has enabled the "Interdisciplinary teaching area Visualisation, Mediation, Presentation" with a 4-year visiting professorship at the Kunsthalle since 2011 and in the second funding period from 2016 with the visiting professors M. Jud and Ch. Wachter, ends in December 2020. The "School for unlearning Zionism" project was not included in the Kunsthalle's expenditure plan required for the overall settlement of the project, which the administrative management received in July 2020.

4. The visiting professors Mathias Jud and Christoph Wachter had been informed that the website with the event announcement would have to be taken offline at short notice. There were technical reasons for this in connection with the removal of the misleadingly placed BMBF logo in connection with the event. The website was then immediately put back online by the university management.

5. Events and other activities are designed by the teachers independently and on their own responsibility. Final theses - the School for unlearning Zionism is part of a Meisterschüler_innen final thesis - are generally not funded. The university does not scrutinise lecturers with regard to their personal or political views.

6.  Part of academic and artistic education is the examination of different political and social positions without any prohibition of thought. For years, the School of Art has maintained a productive academic co-operation with the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and supports Israeli students in all their projects. The university and the departments are strongly opposed to insinuations that teaching or student work is hindered if it is dedicated to Jewish-Israeli topics. The university management fully supports the freedom of teaching in all cases and does not presume to pass judgement on the content. All allegations that accuse me and/or the art academy of anti-Semitism are unfounded.

Leonie Baumann


Statement by the university management on the event "School for Unlearning Zionism" at the Kunsthalle der weißensee kunsthochschule berlin on 13 October 2020

The weißensee academy of art berlin adheres to the Bundestag resolution "Resolutely opposing the BDS movement - combating antisemitism" of 15 May 2019 (published as printed matter 19/10191) and the resolution of the German Rectors' Conference General Assembly of 19 November 2019 "No place for antisemitism". The event in question is not publicly funded.

Events and other activities are conceived and organised by the teaching staff of the weißensee school of art and design berlin independently and on their own responsibility within the scope of their academic freedom. An integral part of academic and artistic education is the examination of different political and social positions. The university does not scrutinise the personal or political views of speakers who are invited to give lectures, as in this case by visiting professors at the university.

Statement by the German Rectors' Conference of Universities of the Arts (RKK) on the events at the University of Theatre and Film Arts Budapest (SZFE) on 23.09.20:

We, the members of the Rectors' Conference of the 24 German art colleges and art academies, for whom freedom of teaching and research, democratic decision-making and university autonomy are central concerns, view the events at the University of Theatre and Film Arts Budapest (SZFE) with great concern and collegial sympathy. In recent weeks, it has become clear that the basic prerequisites for freedom of art, science and teaching are also being jeopardised in the heart of the European Union.

We show solidarity with the students, the resigned senate, the resigned rectorate and the resigned teachers of the Budapest University of Theatre and Film Arts SZFE. And we protest against the anti-democratic measures taken by the Hungarian government to abolish the autonomy of Hungarian universities. We appeal to those responsible in the Hungarian government to withdraw the measures against the autonomy of Hungarian universities. And we call on the bodies of the EU and its member states to urge the Hungarian government to immediately restore the status quo ante at SZFE and return all its competences to the legitimate governing bodies.

Declaration of the many

The weißensee academy of art berlin has signed the "Declaration of the Many". The declaration is intended to send a signal against racism and in favour of a society based on solidarity. The signatory Berlin cultural institutions are primarily defending themselves against attacks from the right and their efforts to renationalise culture. In contrast, they are committed to "continuing our society as a democratic one" and will create an "open, enlightening, critical dialogue about right-wing strategies". The signatories pledge to take action by organising information events and discussions on this topic. Rector Leonie Baumann, Vice Rector Prof. Christiane Sauer and Vice Rector Prof. Dr Jörg Petruschat signed on behalf of weißensee academy of art berlin at the beginning of 2019.

German Universities open to the World

The member universities of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK)- the weißensee academy of art berlin is a member - are set to oppose xenophobia in Germany as part of a nationwide initiative. The HRK members are committing to their stance with the slogan "Universities for openness, tolerance and against xenophobia". They are reacting to racist verbal and physical attacks in Germany and to growing isolationism in some European countries and the rest of the world, including the USA.