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Knowledge Exchange Lab

SCRIPTS' core ideas serve as a frame for public discourses and explorations of the political, practical as well as societal implications of the Cluster’s core findings and topics. The Knowledge Exchange Lab (KEL) is conceived as an interface between research and practice. It enables multiple interconnections when dealing with the question of why, how, and by whom the Liberal Script is being challenged: KEL engages researchers with policy-makers, practitioners and institutions from the arts, culture and civil society, media and non-governmental organizations to secure the connectivity of ongoing research activities to public debates, distinct social knowledges and to policy relevant fields.

Cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office

Foreign policymakers, on the one hand, constantly have to deal with the challenges the Liberal Script is facing today. On the other hand, researchers in academia are not always aware of the underlying logics of foreign policy making. A close exchange between SCRIPTS and the German Federal Foreign Office is therefore proving to be beneficial and valuable – for both sides. Just as foreign policymakers can rely on ongoing reflections and findings of the cluster, researchers can get a closer look into the foreign policy “black box”, enriching the individual research agenda. Through integration into the Federal Foreign Offices’ daily operations for a period of three years, a research associate identifies and explores areas of overlapping mutual interest within foreign policy practice and SCRIPTS. Regular discussion forums serve as the central hub where SCRIPTS experts, policy practitioners as well as relevant stakeholders are brought into an ongoing dialogue.

Arts & Culture

As a public common good, knowledge is being produced at different scales and in various spheres of culture and society. It is also negotiated and implemented by a wide range of actors – within and beyond academia. Doing research on “contestations of the liberal script” is doing research on highly relevant matters of concern for present and future societies.  KEL's outreach activities into arts & culture are part of a reflexive and translational practice that connects SCRIPTS researchers and research question to public & cultural spaces of debate and interventions. Close collaborations with institutional and individual partners allow to explore new sites and constellations for exchange, conversations and performative reflections on the liberal script and its erosion.

„After Nature” at the Humboldt Forum Berlin - Science in translation

SCRIPTS invites public dialogue at the crossroads of science and society with an exhibition of its research agenda “in translation”: Why are contestations of the liberal script matters of acute political concern? Is this even relevant to society at large? How can we investigate and learn more?

An intensive phase of codeveloping a narrative approach to the SCRIPTS research agenda preceded the Cluster’s contribution to the Humboldt Labor exhibition "After Nature" at the Humboldt Forum Berlin, which has opened in July 2021. More than 80 video statements make up the “Talking Wall”, a kinetic multimedia display of moving screens in parallel projections that reflect contestations and core promises of the liberal script from the multiple disciplinary and regional perspectives of SCRIPTS members. A lively conversation on research topics unfolds rather than a lecture-style “presentation” of SCRIPTS projects. The audience is invited to explore knowledge in the making and experience the liberal script as a complex set of core ideas, promises and practices that is only one among various other blueprints for organizing societies. This interactive space will be continuously updated with public programs to reflect ongoing conversations on SCRIPTS topics and ongoing research.

“Futuring the Liberal Script” at the silent green

“Futuring the Liberal Script” is a conversation series live from the silent green Kulturquartier in Berlin. Researchers of the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS” discuss and analyze current crisis of liberal societies and democracies and reflect on future political imaginaries from diverse perspectives. Because as a script “in trouble”, the liberal script needs manifold analytical and discursive registers for keeping track of open antagonisms but also of its inherent contradictions and tensions. 

As such, “futuring” is not necessarily a variant of optimizing, but rather relates to developing a critical and creative stance in response to current erosions and contestations of liberal values. The liberal script has to compete increasingly with alternative scripts and agendas for organizing societies, be they run by authoritarian, populist, Islamic fundamentalists, terrorist or technocratic autocracies. Whether liberal democracies are confident, flexible and agile enough to respond to the challenges posed by contrary political systems and alternative ideas is a central matter of acute political and social concern. The SCRIPTS conversations assemble a variety of views, concerns, and actors by putting research topics and timely diagnosis up to public and ongoing debate.