Is teaching always political? New challenges in higher education.





Is teaching always political? – the question is more timely than ever. Within the programme of PATTERNS Lectures 2016/17 we started a passionate discussion about freedom of speech in the classroom, the role of university teachers and students as part of civil society, and unversities’ responsibility for engagement and democracy. This discussion serves as a point of departure for the conference.

24 – 25 November 2017, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Studio Building, Multi-Purpose-Space, Lehargasse 8, 1060 Vienna

In the frame of the conference we want to ask and discuss questions such as: Is teaching always political? And has teaching always been political? What is the responsibility of the lecturer? How to deal with political discussions, with hate speech in the class room? Are there limits of free speech in the classroom? Who should draw them, and where? How do lecturers critically interact with institutions like the university, the state, art and culture? How should students be involved in civil society engagement?

The conference will bring inputs from different perspectives and a panel discussion about freedom of speech, civil society engagement and democracy with Boris Buden, Elke Krasny and Hedvig Turai (PATTERNS Lectures Advisors). Contribution to panels by: Ovidiu Gherasim-Proca, Marina Simić, Jelena Đorđević, Ana Kolarić, Izabela Kowalczyk, Nicole Dołowy-Rybińska, Andrea Pócsik, András Müllner, Cristina David, Irfan Hošić, Martin Piaček.

For more information contact Michaela Handke at
Download the conference programme here.

The event is organised by WUS Austria and ERSTE Foundation in cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, within the framework of PATTERNS Lectures, a programme to support new courses in the fields of artistic research, art history, cultural theory and cultural studies at public universities in Central and South Eastern Europe.

Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.