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#Democracy! Free Themed Semester at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam

FHP teaching staff and students are organising the summer semester 2024 under the motto #Democracy! With this initiative, all members of the university are invited to actively engage with issues of democracy, diversity and openness as part of courses, research projects and workshops.

#Demokratie! vertikal links von einem großen "D" mit kreisförmigem Farbverlauf und zehn Händen darauf.

#Democracy! invites you to a dialogue

The year 2024 is a year of democracy in many respects: almost half of the world's population will be called to the ballot box to elect their parliaments and governments. In Brandenburg, elections for local parliaments, the state parliament and the European Parliament are coming up. Following the revelations about a far-right meeting in Potsdam, millions of people in Germany took to the streets in favour of democracy in the first few weeks of the year. The issue of democracy has taken on an acute urgency in a very short space of time. This topic is also reflected in the Science Year 2024, which is dedicated to the focus on freedom and invites constructive dialogue between science and society.

At the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, teaching staff and students have joined forces as part of a decentralised initiative to place the summer semester 2024 under the motto #Democracy! The themed semester invites all members of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam to engage with democracy, diversity and openness as part of teaching and research activities. The thematic focus is voluntary for everyone and is intended to serve as a platform for inter- and transdisciplinary dialogue. The central question is: How can we protect and further develop the free democratic basic order in the face of various crises? In order to find answers to this question, specific events will be organised, existing courses will be adapted to the topic, aspects of the topic will be addressed in individual sessions of existing courses and independent projects will be initiated.

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Collection of materials

Im Vordergrund: weiße Schrift "Nutze deine Stimme" und EU-Flagge. Im Hintergrund: Foto mit junger und älterer Frau.

Use your voice. Otherwise others will decide for you.

European Parliament election spot for participation in the European elections on the 9th of June 2024 with moving speeches from survivors of the Second World War, among others, to their grandchildren, who will now be voting for the first time.

Text: Wahl-O-Mat - Europawahl 2024. In Sprechblase: Du hast die Wahl!

Wahl-O-Mat European elections 2024

The Wahl-O-Mat of the Federal Agency for Civic Education is an information service for the European elections on the 9th of June 2024, providing answers from the 35 parties running for election to key questions selected by an independent commission for comparison with their own positions.

Auf blauem Grund großer Schriftzug: "Sozial O Mat"; in klein: Europawahl am 9. Juni 2024

Social O-Mat European elections 2024

Diakonie Deutschland's Social O-Mat is a voting aid for the European elections 2024 with a focus on social issues. With the Social-O-Mat, people can compare their own positions on key social issues with the parties' answers.

Klimastreifen-Visualisierung im Hintergrund; "Science-O-Mat" im Vordergrund

Science-O-Mat European elections 2024

The Science-O-Mat from Scientists for Future (S4F) is an election O-Mat for the European elections 2024 focussing on climate change, sustainability and securing the future. The Science-O-Mat can be used to compare your own positions on key political issues with a focus on science, the environment and energy.

Rosa Wahlbrief wird in die Öffnung eines gelben Briefkastens geschoben

Vote by post in European and local elections

Detailed information on postal voting with deadlines etc. from the state capital Potsdam, eligible voters can order the documents online or by post, also receive them in person on site, even by proxy, just not by telephone.

Gelbe Briefkästen aus Spanien, Frankreich und Schweden

Take part in the European elections by postal vote during your semester abroad

This flyer explains briefly and concisely how easy it is to vote in the European elections by postal vote from abroad (or from another federal state). Take a quick look now and note the deadlines for applying for a polling card.

Illustration mit drei Personen, die Sterne in einem Kreis um den roten Adler Brandenburgs arrangieren. In Schrift: EUROPAWAHL in Brandenburg 9. Juni 2024 - Fragen und Antworten

Questions and answers about the European elections 2024

But who can actually vote on 9th of June 2024? How many votes do I have and who can I vote for? And how and where can I get involved in the work of the European Parliament after the election? The brochure from the Brandenburg State Centre for Political Education answers key questions and provides compact information on the European elections.

Auf grünem Grund werfen verschiedene Hände Wahlzettel in eine Wahlurne. Die Zettel ergeben zusammen Brandenburgs roten Adler

Local elections in Brandenburg 2024

Lots of information on the local elections in Brandenburg 2024 can be found on the website of the Brandenburg Centre for Political Education.

Ein Foto mit einem Stapel blauer Stimmzettelumschläge und im Hintergrund unscharfe Hände und Arme.

Volunteering: Information for election workers

Election workers make an important contribution to the organisation of elections. They experience first-hand how democracy is practised. The website provides general information on what, how and why. If you are interested, it is best to register directly with your own municipality or find out whether people are still needed.

Vorschaubild für Miro-Board mit Daten zu Wahlen in Brandenburg

Election data in Brandenburg

A Miro-Board with information on election results, forecasts and analyses in the federal state of Brandenburg, as well as lots of other exciting statistical and political information – prepared by Prof. Klaus Dufke (FHP) for the course THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN.

Vorschaubild für Miro-Board zu Erklärvideos im Auftrag politischer Bildung

Explanatory videos on behalf of political education

This Miro-Board with information on political information brings together concepts and projects, as well as animated infographics on political education or on disinformation and political propaganda – prepared by Prof. Klaus Dufke (FHP) for the course THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN.

Ausschnitt des Buchcovers "Die 101 wichtigsten Fragen: Demokratie" von Paul Nolte

The 101 most important questions: Democracy

This free special edition of a small 1 × 1 of democracy by Paul Nolte allows you to delve deeper into the multifaceted topic of democracy. From the historical beginnings to current developments and research findings, it provides basic knowledge and invites you to think further.

Auf abstrakten geometrischen Farbflächen der Schriftzug "Fake News"

Research against fake news

What is behind the terms disinformation and fake news and what dangers do they pose? Who spreads fake news? How can they be recognised? What role do scientists and modern technologies play? This BMBF brochure (2023) provides answers and food for thought.

Zwei Personen, von hinten fotografiert, mit Regenbogen-Flaggen auf den Schultern

For diversity & tolerance

In this position paper, the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam commits to being a discrimination-sensitive university and a place worth living in for everyone, where discriminatory, misanthropic and anti-democratic statements and actions have no place.

Courses

Design & European Media Studies, Prof. Dr. Nico Heise

Participants in the seminar will analyse and discuss selected aspects of the Basic Law on the occasion of its 75th anniversary, with a focus on media law such as freedom of expression, freedom of the press and data protection. They will also look at other constitutional issues and discuss in lectures, group work and discussions whether there are any critical points in addition to the celebrations.

More info

Social Work, Prof. Dr. Friederike Lorenz-Sinai

In this seminar, we will examine historical continuities of anti-Semitism and current manifestations in the institutional contexts of post-national socialist society. Based on current studies, we will deal with experiences of anti-Semitism from Jewish perspectives, with interpretations and categorisations of institutional actors as well as with challenges and questions of political and pedagogical intervention. We will also go on an excursion to a counselling centre specialising in anti-Semitic discrimination.

Interface Design, Prof. Boris Müller

In this course we will work intensively with – and against – generative "AIs". Experimental websites will be developed that play with the results of generative "AIs" and provide a visionary outlook on the influences of "AIs".

More info

Design, Prof. Myriel Milicevic

The global "Nature Rights" movement is working to rethink nature as a legal space and to fight for legal rights for ecosystems. In design processes, "More-Than Human Centred Design" is becoming a common part of practice. In this course, we will expand our human-centred understanding to non-human beings with a focus on the river and its communities. Who is the river? How can we engage with the river and the non-human actors in an experimental, non-verbal, playful, sensual and interactive way? How can we open up new perspectives on the river and its communities?

Through research, experimental methods and their own observation tools, design students will investigate various river relationships and develop narratives, prototypes and interfaces. These will be exhibited from the 4th – 5th of July 2024 at Spreepark, Berlin. In an accompanying panel with local and international experts, the question of rivers as legal entities will be discussed.

In collaboration with Public Art Lab Berlin and Spreepark Art Space.

More info

Library Science, Prof. Dr. Antje Michel

The course introduces students to the information science research field of information behaviour research, its theories and concepts, research trends and methods as well as the practical relevance of information behaviour research. Following on from an overview of the information science research and practical field of information behaviour research, students develop and work on their own projects in accordance with the didactic principles of research-based learning within the framework of two key topics of their choice. A key topic for the projects in the summer semester 2024 is student information behaviour in the context of the upcoming elections in Brandenburg.

Design, Stephanie Hankey

Participants in the seminar will explore the use of communication and interface design in the complex environment characterised by political tensions, mistrust in science and institutions, and disinformation, and develop strategies to address these challenges. Throughout the course, with guest lectures and a collaboration with an environmental NGO, students will design their own projects aimed at finding solutions and countering misinformation using a variety of formats and techniques, including AI.

More info

InterFlex, Christian Berkes, Prof. Dr. Antje Michel

The participants of the interdisciplinary workshop explore the potential of vacant buildings in cities and rural areas in order to redesign them as social spaces by contributing their professional perspectives to the development of proposals and solutions. After an introductory block with in-depth insights from experts, the students will work in groups on site in Luckenwalde to develop prototype concepts for activating vacant shops, which will be presented and have the chance to bring about lasting positive change in the city.

More info

Design & Urban Future, Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk & Hendrik Lehmann

Students cooperate with data journalists from different European cities to explore innovative formats that combine data visualisation with interactive storytelling on urban topics. In the process, a critical view of the role of data in the urban context and practical skills in data preparation and visualisation will be practised.

More info

Design, Prof. Myriel Milicevic

When we want to change our private or social lives, we often get stuck in our habits and find it difficult to change our behaviour. Even if it would make our lives healthier, more conscious or more sustainable. Overcoming ingrained routines of comfort often seems like tilting at windmills. Imagining a different way of living together in society is a challenge for many and often leads to conflict.

In this course, we will therefore attempt the seemingly impossible, just like Don Quixote. The aim is not to develop solutions, but to create images and scenarios that invite us to question the status quo, provide pleasure and create opportunities for new routines and customs.

More info

Bachelor's degree programmes in Information Science, Prof. Dr. Michael Scholz

This course teaches the constitutional foundations of the general right of personality and the main features of its development in the analogue and digital age. This gives students a deeper insight into a fundamental right that is particularly relevant in the context of making data accessible via information portals and (social media) communication applications.

Cultural Work, Deputy Prof. Dr. habil. Renate Ruhne

Demands for 'political correctness' are widespread today, "anchored and realised as a claim in the social mainstream" (Degele 2020), but also highly controversial in cultural policy debates. The very "use of the term is part of a debate" (ibid.), but what exactly are its contents, backgrounds and objectives? In intensive text and reading work, we will examine the term and concept of 'political correctness' in the course and take a closer look at different perspectives and contexts of the debate(s).

Communication Design, Prof. Klaus Dufke & Prof. Lisa Bucher

The seminar deals with the creation of animated and illustrative infographics on political topics, which are developed on the basis of the state elections in Brandenburg, and includes theoretical and practical elements, including a possible exhibition and the publication of the works.

More info

Design, Emilia Knabe

In this course, students work together with twelfth grade student from the Schulzentrum am Stern to design a workshop kit for local political participation in order to explore and expand the pupils' opportunities to have a say. They immerse themselves in the practical realisation of co-design workshops, explore design approaches and actively participate in Potsdam's urban development.

More info

Design, Prof. Holger Jahn

Participants in the seminars use their design skills to work with and for initiatives that promote social cohesion, diversity, equal opportunities and environmentally conscious, science-based politics by developing concepts, campaigns and various media. In the face of global risks such as disinformation and climate change, the initiative cooperates closely with democracy and climate protection organisations to achieve a broad impact in the super election year 2024 and is supported by experts from various fields.

More info

Alliances & initiatives

Logo der Kampagne #Zusammenland
Kampagne #Zusammenland © DIE ZEIT

#Zusammenland – Vielfalt macht uns stark

The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is taking part in the campaign "#Zusammenland – Vielfalt macht uns stark" – a joint initiative of major German media companies.

Logo der Initiative Brandenburg zeigt Haltung

Brandenburg zeigt Haltung!

The University of Applied Sciences Potsdam supports the call for democracy and cohesion.

Illustration vieler Luftballons mit Schriftzug: Bündnis Potsdam! bekennt Farbe

Potsdam! bekennt Farbe

Potsdam University of Applied Sciences plans to join the alliance "Potsdam! bekennt Farbe"

Contact

The organisation team includes:

  • Lale von Baudissin
  • Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk
  • Prof. Holger Jahn
  • Dr. Jasmin Jossin
  • Corinna Gerloff
  • Emilia Knabe
  • Prof. Dr. Friederike Lorenz-Sinai
  • Prof. Dr. Antje Michel
  • Prof. Myriel Milicevic
  • Stefan Raich
  • Jannik Schlüter
  • Katja Stephan
  • Elise Werner
  • Wenke Wulf
  • Ulrike Weichelt
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrike Wuttke

Please send any questions, suggestions or comments to demokratiesemester@fh-potsdam.de.