14. February 2023 | Press releases:

Out of the drawers TU Braunschweig and HBK Braunschweig together at the Braunschweig Schoduvel with "Karneval*Diversity"

Joint press release of TU Braunschweig and HBK Braunschweig

Diversity: what images do we form in our heads? Students from Technische Universität Braunschweig and Braunschweig University of Art (HBK) show how they experience and think about diversity in a joint project at the Schoduvel, Braunschweig’s carnival procession. When the jesters parade through the streets of the Lion City on 19 February, two of their floats and a 60-strong foot group will be there.

The giant Scrabble: 48 letters and signs were painted on large wooden boards by the students of TU Braunschweig. Photo credit: Communication and Press Service/TU Braunschweig

For weeks, the students at the Institute for Architecture-Related Art (IAK) at TU Braunschweig and the Institute for Performative Practice, Art and Education (IPKB) as well as Transformation Design at the HBK Braunschweig have been sawing, sewing, welding, gluing and painting so that floats, costumes and choreography are ready in time for Schoduvel.

“We want to dissolve stereotypical images”.

The students have painted 48 letters and signs on large wooden panels, in three typographies that differ only by fine nuances. From drawers of an oversized chest of drawers of the HBK float, “strange figures” carry the letters to the display on the float of the Institute of Architecture-Related Art. On the way to the huge Scrabble shelf, the marching dance of the 60-strong foot group constantly creates new words and contexts of meaning: the understandable and the incomprehensible, legible words, meaningless sounds. Dadaist sounds are chanted into the crowd through specially made funnels.

During a long jury session with students and teachers from both universities, models and design drawings for “Karneval*Diversity” (Carnival*Diversity ) were presented and debated. The aim was to compare one’s own images with those of the others. Together it was decided what should be realised. Although the process of coordination and discussion about the designs to be realised between many participants was long and challenging, it was worth it, the students think. Humour and self-irony are indispensable ingredients for the process of collaborative decision-making in “Karneval*Diversity”. Now everyone is curious to see how the message is received by the audience.

For the fourth time, the Institute of Architecture-Related Art is participating in the Braunschweig carnival parade. This time the float is a giant Scrabble shelf. Photo credit: Communication and Press Service/TU Braunschweig

In the past weeks, the students have painted, glued, welded, sawn and sewn. Photo credit: Communication and Press Service/TU Braunschweig

The students painted the letters in three typographies that differ only by fine nuances. Photo credit: Communication and Press Service/TU Braunschweig

“We want to do away with stereotyped thinking,” explains Professor Folke Köbberling, head of the IAK, and Professor Rahel Puffert, responsible for the art education programme and head of the IPKB, adds: “Each and every one of us has stereotypical images of diversity in our heads. These images need to be dissolved in a humorous way in order to bring other ideas to life.“

Even the costumes of the foot group cannot be easily classified: They move between the lines of letters, a clear classification is difficult. “In the midst of the colourful hustle and bustle of the Schoduvel, we wanted to appear neither pompous nor colourful, but to contribute to the diversity of voices in a different way with wit and loudness,” students explain the concept.

Carnival float becomes a stage in the city

The Schoduvel is the prelude to further joint actions by TU and HBK in Braunschweig: converted into walkable platforms, the wagons will continue to move the theme of diversity and place it at various locations in urban society in the summer of 2023. “The wagons will become a venue, a stage, a display,” says Folke Köbberling, “and can be used as a place of information, action or residence.”

“An extensive programme of events with public workshops, cinema, discussions and lectures is already being planned,” reveal IAK students. Among other things, they will deal with topics such as “migration, architecture and art” or the “sound space city”. “The artistic interventions and event formats are intended to stimulate discourse on social inequality and responsibility in art and society,” explains Rahel Puffert.

TU President initiated the cooperation project

The initiative to take up the topic of “diversity” this year together with the HBK came from the President of TU Braunschweig, Prof. Dr. Angela Ittel: “Diversity and equality should be a lived reality, and not only at our university. We want to take on a pioneering role as an employer and work for an open society. Making the topic visible at the carnival is a great idea. I would like to thank everyone involved for their commitment!“

Prof. Dr. Ana Dimke, President of the University of Art since 2022, is well placed to follow suit: “As the HBK Braunschweig, we are called upon to take on the social challenges associated with the demand for diversity and to actively help shape and performatively drive change. Through this project, the University of Art shows itself to be a committed art institution of exchange and discourse that stands up for an open society. I would like to sincerely thank all those involved.”

“Karneval*Diversity” is the first cooperation between the Institute of Architecture-Related Art (Prof. Folke Köbberling, Sina Heffner, Bernd Schulz) and the still young teaching-related Institute of Performative Practice, Art and Education at the HBK (Prof. Dr. Rahel Puffert, Prof. Dr. Johannes Kup, Annika Niemann) as well as the Transformation Design degree programme (Dr. Paul Rajakovics) at the HBK Braunschweig.

The cooperation project is funded by the Stiftung Braunschweigischer Kulturbesitz and the Stiftung Niedersachsen. The participants would like to thank them for this support.


About the institutes of TU and HBK

Institute for Architecture-Related Art (IAK): The institute, headed by Professor Folke Köbberling, has been attracting attention for several years now with art projects in public spaces. Among other things, there were participations in the Lichtparcours Braunschweig 2016 and 2020. A sensational one-month exhibition in summer 2019 on Braunschweig’s Südsee with floating sculptures on the theme of “Anstieg des Meeresspiegels“ (sea level rise) was also held. In 2019, the Institute also received the first prize for the best float of the Braunschweig Schoduvel. In summer 2022, the IAK accompanied the documenta15 project “Citizenship”.

Institute for Performative Practice, Art and Education (IPKB): Founded in 2021, the institute researches and initiates educational processes in engagement with current art and contemporary forms of theatre. The institute’s fields of activity include teaching and research in subject didactics, art and theatre education, performative practice and mediation of art. Responsible for the teaching-related degree programmes at the HBK, the institute makes it its task to seek exchange and networking with cultural, educational and social institutions and to open up multi-voiced arenas of discourse. The institute is currently headed by Prof. Dr. Rahel Puffert.

Transformation Design: The Master’s degree programme Transformation Design of the Institute for Design Research at the HBK imparts project-based competence in reflecting on, initiating and helping to shape change processes. Questions of sustainability and the future viability of society play a central role and are examined from the perspective of design methodology and theory. Along the way, design reinvents itself. Processes, connections and interactions with other disciplines, institutions and civil society are taken into account in the design process.