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2021/03/18: Scholarship for Doing Nothing awarded

Hilistina Banze, Mia Hofner
and Kimberley Vehoff will receive the Scholarships for Doing Nothing, each endowed with 1,600 euros, which the Hamburg University of Fine Arts (HFBK) and Friedrich von Borries (Professor of Design Theory) announced in August 2020. Their projects and all other submissions will be on display until July 18, 2021 at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G) in the exhibition School of No Consequences. Exercises for a New Life

The Scholarship for Doing Nothing questions the common mechanisms of achievement thinking and invites to think about the connection of one's own life reality with climate change and social and political structures. From a total of 2864 applicants from 70 countries, the jury initially selected 14 finalists and chose the winners in a second step.


"I will not wear my headscarf for a week," is the Muslim feminist's plan. The social pedagogue and integration counselor from Hamburg wants to show her hair shaved short to 3 mm and thus counteract several role clichés at once. In doing so, Hilistina Banze (31) - like many other applicants - confronts the expectations and role models that are placed on women in particular. The jury was impressed by the radicality and complexity of the experiment and is looking forward to Hilistina Banze's experiences as a woman, a Muslim and a feminist.


"I don't want to generate any usable, personal data about myself for two weeks." This means extensive restrictions for the 26-year-old conceptual designer and student from Cologne: no smartphone use, no checking e-mails, no online shopping - all activities that many other applicants* would also like to do without because they consume too much energy, strain social relationships, entice consumption and leave uncontrollable data traces of themselves and others. The jury found Mia Hofner's clarity, with which she reflects on the consequences of her daily actions and at the same time is aware that she cannot escape digital data transfer forever, remarkable.


"I don't want to do my job" writes the 22-year-old food technology specialist from Bad Fallingbostel. Representative of a great many applications, Kimberley Vehoff expresses a fundamental dissatisfaction with the economic constraints and the pressure to perform in contemporary society. The jury found it particularly convincing that Kimberley Vehoff's social relationships suffer due to alternating early, late and night shifts as well as a 6-day week, and that she wants to use the scholarship to strengthen these emotional ties again.


There were 14 nominees*, including, in addition to the winners, among others:

  • A 9-year-old student who no longer wants to be driven to school by his mother out of a sense of ecological responsibility.
  • A Brazilian activist who collects plastic waste in her village
  • A doctor who no longer wants to prescribe addictive painkillers when there are other ways to treat the disease.
  • A television reporter who wants to stop spreading negative news for four weeks.
  • A man who does not want to speak for ten days, but wants to listen to others more attentively.
  • A woman who wants to stay the way she is, thus pointing out the pressure for self-optimization in society (and in the call for entries).

The jury members - MK&G director Tulga Beyerle, philosopher and HFBK guest professor Armen Avanessian, and lawyer Eva-Dorothee Leinemann - decided to reflect the range of content of the submissions and to leave room for the subjectivity of the applicants. The Scholarship for Doing Nothing was financed by the Leinemann Kunststiftung Nikolassee.

Annette Wehrmann, photography from the series Blumensprengungen, 1991-95; photo: Ort des Gegen e.V.

Conference: Counter-Monuments and Para-Monuments.

The international conference at HFBK Hamburg on December 2-4, 2021 – jointly conceived by Nora Sternfeld and Michaela Melián –, is dedicated to the history of artistic counter-monuments and forms of protest, discusses aesthetics of memory and historical manifestations in public space, and asks about para-monuments for the present.

23 Fragen des Institutional Questionaire, grafisch umgesetzt von Ran Altamirano auf den Türgläsern der HFBK Hamburg zur Jahresausstellung 2021; photo: Charlotte Spiegelfeld


Who speaks? Who paints which motif? Who is shown, who is not? Questions of identity politics play an important role in art and thus also at the HFBK Hamburg. In the current issue, the university's own Lerchenfeld magazine highlights university structures as well as student initiatives that deal with diversity and identity.

Grafik: Tim Ballaschke

Start of semester

After three semesters of hybrid teaching under pandemic conditions, we are finally about to start another semester of presence. We welcome all new students and teachers at the HFBK Hamburg and cordially invite you to the opening of the academic year 2020/21, which this year will be accompanied by a guest lecture by ruangrupa.

Graphic design: Sam Kim, picture in the background: Sofia Mascate, photo: Marie-Theres Böhmker

Graduate Show 2021: All Good Things Come to an End

From September 24 to 26, the more than 150 Bachelor's and Master's graduates of the class of 2020/21 will present their final projects as part of the Graduate Show at the HFBK Hamburg. We would like to thank all visitors and participants.

photo: Klaus Frahm

Summer Break

The HFBK Hamburg is in the lecture-free period, many students and teachers are on summer vacation, art institutions have summer break. This is a good opportunity to read and see a variety of things:

ASA Open Studio 2019, Karolinenstraße 2a, Haus 5; photo: Matthew Muir

Live und in Farbe: die ASA Open Studios im Juni 2021

Since 2010, the HFBK has organised the international exchange programme Art School Alliance. It enables HFBK students to spend a semester abroad at renowned partner universities and, vice versa, invites international art students to the HFBK. At the end of their stay in Hamburg, the students exhibit their work in the Open Studios in Karolinenstraße, which are now open again to the art-interested public.

Studiengruppe Prof. Dr. Anja Steidinger, Was animiert uns?, 2021, Mediathek der HFBK Hamburg, Filmstill

Unlearning: Wartenau Assemblies

The art education professors Nora Sternfeld and Anja Steidinger initiated the format "Wartenau Assemblies". It oscillates between art, education, research and activism. Complementing this open space for action, there is now a dedicated website that accompanies the discourses, conversations and events.

Ausstellungsansicht "Schule der Folgenlosigkeit. Übungen für ein anderes Leben" im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg; photo: Maximilian Schwarzmann

School of No Consequences

Everyone is talking about consequences: The consequences of climate change, the Corona pandemic or digitalization. Friedrich von Borries (professor of design theory), on the other hand, is dedicated to consequence-free design. In “School of No Consequences. Exercises for a New Life” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, he links collection objects with a "self-learning room" set up especially for the exhibition in such a way that a new perspective on "sustainability" emerges and supposedly universally valid ideas of a "proper life" are questioned.

Annual Exhibition 2021 at the HFBK

Annual exhibition a bit different: From February 12- 14, 2021 students at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, together with their professors, had developed a variety of presentations on different communication channels. The formats ranged from streamed live performances to video programs, radio broadcasts, a telephone hotline, online conferences, and a web store for editions. In addition, isolated interventions could be discovered in the outdoor space of the HFBK and in the city.

Public Information Day 2021

How do I become an art student? How does the application process work? Can I also study to become a teacher at the HFBK? These and other questions about studying art were answered by professors, students and staff at the HFBK during the Public Information Day on February 13, 2021. In addition, there will be an appointment specifically for English-speaking prospective students on February 23 at 2 pm.

Katja Pilipenko

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

On the evening of November 4, the HFBK celebrated the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as the awarding of the Hiscox Art Prize in a livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

Exhibition Transparencies with works by Elena Crijnen, Annika Faescke, Svenja Frank, Francis Kussatz, Anne Meerpohl, Elisa Nessler, Julia Nordholz, Florentine Pahl, Cristina Rüesch, Janka Schubert, Wiebke Schwarzhans, Rosa Thiemer, Lea van Hall. Organized by Prof. Verena Issel and Fabian Hesse; photo: Screenshot

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

Alltagsrealität oder Klischee?; photo: Tim Albrecht

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

Ausstellung Social Design, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Teilansicht; photo: MKG Hamburg

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?