The Bayreuth Academy of African Studies provides a framework for ground-breaking research projects into major themes of current interest. This research can take part in and shape inter-disciplinary multi-national debates.

Researching the Future - Visions in Time

The Bayreuth Academy provides a platform for innovative research into Africa and the African diaspora to enter into scientific dialogues with other fields of study. Thus, African Studies is given the opportunity to provide impulses necessary for interdisciplinary scholarly debates beyond so-called Area Studies. At the same time, Africa itself alongside its Diasporas is considered in its global context and its intertwining with other regions and histories of the world. The Bayreuth Academy emphasizes the fact that Area Studies are always doing systematic work in the same way other disciplines apply to find their empiric material in some areas of the world. The primary research focus of the Bayreuth Academy are Cultural and Social Sciences, but it is open to other disciplines as well. Its work is interdisciplinary and focuses on one overarching project for several years. During the Bayreuth Academy’s first phase (2012 – 2016), its main project was “Future Africa – Visions in Time.” The project has been expanded and extended till the end of 2018 under the theme, “Future Africa and Beyond – Visions in Time.”

Structured yet creative - avenues of research

The Bayreuth Academy is researching its specific goals. University professors lead the various aspects of the research which is divided into several sub-projects. These professors with diverse scientific backgrounds from various countries work closely with post-docs, who coordinate the sub-projects applying disciplinary and trans-disciplinary methods in their work. Research conducted in this way is the foundation of the “Working Groups” which are formed for one semester and allow forums for debates about the main topic. The fellows within the Working Groups are predominantly members of the sub-projects, but guest fellows from local, national and international backgrounds are also included. The first Working Group in the summer semester of 2013 made an appraisal of new debates about the topic of “Future” from a variety of regional and systematic perspectives. The group raised the notion of possible contributions towards these debates by Africa-focused research.

Through invitations to the working groups as well as to the series of lectures, workshops, and conferences conducted by the sub-projects and working groups, the Bayreuth Academy is making an important contribution towards a closer interconnectedness in the African-focused studies of the University of Bayreuth, and as well as in other fields of study. These studies are also important to research facilities and projects both within the University of Bayreuth and outside of it. The results of this type of networking are pertinent to research findings and contribute to academic debates. That also leads to more third-party funded initiatives within the academy’s environment.

Graphik Structures and Activities

Another essential aim of the Bayreuth Academy is the broadcasting of its research findings into the fields of cultural work, public relations, and politics. Workshops, roundtables, readings, film screenings, and exhibitions serve as fora for dialogues with actors from various fields such as politics, economy, and culture. The Bayreuth Academy is a “research workshop” with international, national and local impacts, whose results spring from continuous dialogues between the subprojects, the working groups, and their respective environments.