Migration and Religious Diversity in Public Space

Migration and Religious Diversity in Public Space

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This unique exhibition project (co-authored with Alexander-Kenneth Nagel, Ruhr University of Bochum) combines science, religion, and fine arts took place on September 16-17, 2011 in Essen, Germany, and was funded by the fellowship program of the Global Young Faculty (Stiftung Mercator, Essen). Abstract: Making visible religious diversity and plurality in the immigration country Germany and highlighting the connective resources and potentials of religion, these have been the principle object of the exhibition and art project ‘Sondernutzung – Religious Diversity in the Public Sphere.’ The project addressed the question of how the perception of religious diversity does change when different religious groups were relegated for a moment from the ‘margins’ of our cities’ backyards and neighborhood communities, business parks and industrial area to the urban centers in the Metropolis Ruhr. An ‘interfaith pavilion’ was at the heart of a temporary exhibition that took place in the inner city of Essen, Germany, on September 16-17, 2010. A menacing-looking barbed wire fence surrounded a high tower constructed of bright and yellow concrete-timber panels with six square meters of area. The interior of the pavilion invited visitors to contemplate, rest, and tranquilize. On the inner surfaces, the visitors could post and share their impressions and experiences of religious diversity as well as their opinions about religion, posterity, etc. The space between the fence and the pavilion created an exhibition platform for the presentation of multimedia based student research projects. The exhibition served both to raise the awareness of ‘hidden’ aspects of religious diversity in familiar surroundings and to stimulate discussions about religious traditions of immigrants and minorities and their public validity claims. Finally, a ten-minute documentary recorded the reactions to exhibition and art project.

Publications: Arnold, M. & Nagel, A.-K. (in press). Migration und religiöse Vielfalt in der Metropole Ruhr: Das Projekt ‚Sondernutzung’ [Migration and religious diversity in the Metropolis Ruhr: The Project 'Sondernutzung'].Raumplanung, 155(4), 109-110.

Documentary: Sondernnutzung - Religious Diversity in Public Space @ vimeo

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