Viennese discourses

Because experts have a great deal to say

1. January 2018

Several talk series and discussion forums bring top-class expertise from science, politics, culture and business to Vienna. We want to bring dialogue and dialectic back into public awareness.

These days many people are no longer able to distinguish facts from fake news. In a globalised world, interrelationships are getting increasingly complex, and the ways of gathering – often anonymously – and distributing information become ever more confusing. Rather than exchanging ideas, people seem to be more intent on asserting their own opinions. Instead of arguments, they swap likes and smileys. We want to cultivate the art of public discussion in Vienna and allow real experts in their field express their views.

Debating Europe

A series of Sunday morning performances, Debating Europe brings leading politicians, scholars and intellectuals on to the stage of Vienna’s Burgtheater to talk about current politically and socially relevant topics.


© Matthias Cremer/Der Standard

In February 2019, Erhard Busek, Ludger Hagedorn, Basil Kerski, Noémi Kiss and Radek Knapp were asking what remained of 1989. And in March 2019, Denis Staunton, Mary Kaldor, Tessa Szyszkowitz and Tom Tugendhat discussed with Ivan Vejvoda the situation of Europe before Brexit.

Partners: Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Burgtheater, Der Standard.
Media partners: W24 and Ö1.

Photo: Debating Europa at Burgtheater. Photo: Matthias Cremer/Der Standard

More information you will find at the websites of IWM and Burgtheater.

Vienna Humanities Festival

The Vienna Humanities Festival has gathered leading scholars, artists and cultural protagonists each year since 2016 to share their thoughts in a focused and inspiring atmosphere. Over the course of two days in autumn, some 40 talks and discussions turn Vienna’s Karlsplatz into an expansive urban salon. The talks are held at Wien Museum, Technische Universität, Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church), and Evangelische Schule. All events are open to the public free of charge.

“Hope and Despair” is the motto of the fourth Vienna Humanities Festival, which will take place from 26 to 29 September 2019. The organizers of the festival expect more than 5,000 visitors this year.

The festival opens on 26th September with Ágnes Heller, probably the most important contemporary philosopher. As an eyewitness and critical observer, she has witnessed all the political systems that occupy us today: the two big totalitarianisms, democracy and, most recently, populist antipluralism. On stage at Volkstheater, together with IWM Permanent Fellow Ludger Hagedorn, she talks about her latest book “Paradox Europa”, her wake-up call to Europe: “If the Union fails, Europe will have a past, but no present and still less a future. It will turn into a museum.”

The opening event, held in cooperation with the Wiener Vorlesungen, will be followed by a top-class discussion on” Social Networks or Social Nightmares? “at the Globe Vienna in the Marx Halle. The panel consists of the Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems (“Kämpf um deine Daten”), who has taken to court against Facebook, the publicist and critic of the new smart world Evgeny Morozov (“The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom”) and Roger McNamee, who after his experiences as Mark Zuckerberg’s adviser has made headlines with the book “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe”. The debate on 27 September will be in cooperation with Vienna Contemporary and ERSTE Foundation and will be moderated by Shalini Randeria, Rector of the Institute of Human Sciences.

On Saturday and Sunday, the festival will be located around Karlsplatz, where discussions on political, historical, technological and social topics will take place at the same time in the Wien Museum, Evangelische Schule, Technische Universität and Stadtkino. Prominent speakers include Leon Botstein, Michael Bünker, Cecily Corti, Iris Eisenberger, Misha Glenny, Ivan Krastev, Helga Kromp-Kolb, Josef Penninger, Ilija Trojanow, Nicola Werdenigg-Spieß, Max Zirngast and many more.

An event organised by the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Wien Museum, Time to Talk. ERSTE Foundation co-sponsors the event.

More information you will find at here.