New Alphabet School

New Alphabet School

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)

Ludwig Leo, Laborschule Bielefeld (draft, detail), 1971. Ludwig-Leo-Archive, Academy of the Arts, Berlin, Nr. 5 Bl. 10.

October 7, 2019
New Alphabet School
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / #thenewalphabet

Is it possible to imagine an overabundance of multifarious fields of languages, knowledge production and learning practices beyond one universal matrix? Can common reference points and collective action be enabled without monopolistic force? How can knowledge be both situated and globally relevant?

The New Alphabet School is a collaborative self-organized school for artistic, curatorial, archival, poetic, activist, critical and affirmative research practices. Out of the conviction that theory can only be developed through localized ethical practices, the School probes solidarity between different forms of knowledge production. Over the course of two years, it offers a space for research approaches outside of academic, disciplinary or genre constraints, seeking different methods of learning and unlearning in order to rethink the idea of criticism as a practice of shared responsibility and care.

From Berlin to Dakar, from Gaza City to Bubaque and Havana: The New Alphabet School combines HKW-based editions and site-specific events with partner institutions worldwide, such as Goethe-Institut New Delhi,  INSTAR – Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt in Havana or Redes da Maré in Rio de Janeiro. These cooperations will analyze taxonomies, categories, but also legislations or institutional frameworks in order to understand the logics of current structures of knowledge production.

The project focuses on vernacular, opaque or highly differentiated ways of knowing which are in danger of being increasingly subsumed into simplified universalizing structures. In a spirit of solidarity, the school develops strategies of de- and reconstructing processes of learning.

The New Alphabet School is a participatory format, which invites artists, scholars and activists worldwide to attend the public programs as well as the corresponding workshops. Participants of any New Alphabet School workshop session become part of the School network and can propose and facilitate workshops in the upcoming editions.

Registration for the upcoming workshops will open October 9 at

To stay up to date for all other workshop opportunities, subscribe to our newsletter or follow our activities on Facebook.

The New Alphabet School was inaugurated with an (Un-)Learning Place in January 2019 and will continue with eleven editions worldwide until 2021. Part of HKW’s long-term project The New Alphabet (2019-21). The New Alphabet School is conceived by Olga von Schubert and Caroline Adler.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Upcoming events

#2 Situating
November 7-8, 2019
With Liliana Angulo Cortés & Juan Rodrigo Machado Mosquera, Karin Harrasser and Natalie Loveless
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Workshop registration will run from October 9–20, 2019.

#3 Coding
January 16-18, 2020
With Sara Sharma and Felix Stalder
Delhi, India
In cooperation with Goethe-Institut New Delhi and The Common Room Foundation

#4 Transmitting
April 2020
With Heissam El Wardani, Adania Shibli, and others
Gaza City and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
In cooperation with 28 Magazine and Goethe-Institut Ramallah

#5 Caring
June 11-14, 2020
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and M.1/ Arthur Boskamp-Stiftung, Hohenlockstedt, Germany
In cooperation with soft agency (Gilly Karjevsky, Rosario Talevi) and M.1 / Arthur Boskamp-Stiftung, Hohenlockstedt

#6 Survivance  
July 15-18, 2020
With Coletivo Cadjigue, Filipa César, Elizabeth Povinelli and Karrabing Film Collective
Bubaque, Guinea-Bissau
In cooperation with IBAP – Institute for Biodiversity and Protected Areas

#7 Instituting
September 17-19, 2020
Athens, Greece
In cooperation with Eight Athens and Goethe-Institut Athens

#8 Community-Building
December 3-5, 2020
With Chantal Mouffe, Richard Sennett and others
Havanna, Cuba
In cooperation with INSTAR - Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt

#9 Healing
February 2021
Dakar, Senegal

#10 Weaving
May 6-7, 2021
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In cooperation with Redes da Maré

#11 Commoning
September 16-17, 2021
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

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Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)
October 7, 2019

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