European Summer Academy

The European Summer Academy, enabled by the German Haniel Foundation, brings together MA students from different European business schools and universities, such as the University of St.Gallen, the Copenhagen Business School, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and Paris Dauphine University.

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2021/2 – Organizing museums in digital cultures

Besides the university, the museum is one of the oldest forms to think about and effectuate the organization and representation of knowledge, its history of ideas and its repertoire of artifacts and objects. The museum is currently undergoing an enormous shift in how it performs its own functions, propelled by the ubiquity, everydayness and agencies of digital infrastructures, information technologies and media platforms.

These socio-technical conditions are closely related to a broader societal shift towards an experience economy and the culturalization of urban life. They turn museums into exemplary sites of organizational change through and with digital media. Encompassing yet going beyond phenomena such as the digitization of »analogue« collections, online appearance, cultural marketing and museum pedagogy, today’s technological and cultural transitions call for a deeper exploration and reflection of the museum as key organizational site of knowledge, experience and sociality.

This Winter Academy will investigate the organizational challenges that museums face in digital cultures, and reflect upon responses and new practices of organizing. Students will have the unique opportunity to empirically engage with selected Swiss museums, e.g. their curators, technicians and managers. Joined by researchers of all participating universities as well as guests, we will jointly work towards an exhibition of the students’ findings on the museum as organizational site for, and in, digital cultures.

Therefore, the course “Organizing museums in digital cultures” has as learning goals, 1) understanding the changing positions and approaches of contemporary museums and how they relate to digital technologies; 2) setting up and implementing a field study of/in an important museum; and 3) constructing an exhibition experience (that exhibits the museum in the museum).

2021/1 – Mapping Entrepreneurial Neighbourhoods

At the beginning of the 21st century, cities are, once again, at the center of intellectual and political attention and debate. Cities are laboratories for the configurations and significations of (post-)modernity, brimming with creativity and entrepreneurship. Nowhere are there so many potential fields of interaction as in the urban habitus: potential specialist or different vocations, dispositions or lifestyles will find articulations somewhere within urban spaces. Simultaneously, cities are the first to sense and to respond to new changes, whether economic, political, cultural, social, or religious. In an ongoing process of social formation and deformation, participants of urban life invent ways of making their voices heard. Urban spaces are contested arenas where a multiplicity of interests, perspectives and discourses make their claims.

When urban spaces become the focus of inquiry, they tend to be perceived as architecturally built environments, physical containers for human conduct, put into place and remodelled by city planners and builders. By focussing on the distilled material forms, however, the dynamic production and reproduction of city space is too often left aside.

Departing from simple but detailed and personal yet reflected experiences of urbanity, we will focus on theories and observations which allow to understand the city as a geographic, discursive, cultural, social, and above all, affective and atmospheric space. We will inquire how the ordering and organization of urban life is continuously forged and challenged where new possibilities for work, citizenship and lifestyle emerge. There is movement and change, desires and passions, tensions and conflicts, politics and ideology that shape and reshape a city (and are shaped and reshaped by it in return). Studying urban spaces thus presents a potentially endless variety of observations, exemplifications and interpretations as well as potentially-to-be-written stories that re-vision and change the images and representations of public life in our cities. […]

2020 – Don’t be evil.

Technologies of organization and entrepreneurship

The ubiquity of digital technologies and the ‘datafication’ of everyday life correspond to new organizational processes and forms. Human enterprise and organizational practices of all kinds are mediated by pervasive computing, by its codes, devices and infrastructures. The future of organizations and even societies, or so it is claimed time and again, would depend on becoming fit for the ‘digital age’, on grooming ‘digital entrepreneurship’ and on embracing new technologies in organizing work and life. Yet the very organizational forces unleashed by these technologies, and by the organizations behind them, provoke a whole range of concerns and critiques, from ‘surveillance capitalism’ to ‘digital Taylorism’.

More than ever, organization and entrepreneurship are shaped by images and practices of technological connectivity. Yet technologies of organization and entrepreneurship are never neutral: they condition relations of power and control, disruption and emancipation.

The summer academy explores the intimate relations of digital technologies, organization and entrepreneurship. Students and lecturers interrogate and reflect how digital technologies change the way we organize and the way we are organized. They focus on historical trajectories, scrutinize today’s entrepreneurial and organizational contexts of algorithmic management, platform and surveillance economies, and ponder alternative forms of socio-technical organizing.

2019 – Be creative!

Organizing Creativity and Attention

“Be Creative!”: This is the imperative of the late modern service industries under what has been termed an “aesthetic capitalism” (Reckwitz, 2017). In an economy where “creativity is the new form of capital” (Alloa, 2018), creativity as innovation involves the constant production of the new — of the next new thing on the market, new emotionally engaging experiences, new inspiring stories, new ways to optimize one’s lifestyle, and so on (Beyes & Metelmann, 2018). This intense call for the new has intensified the necessity to adapt to novel environments and process unfamiliar packages of information, which in turn stretches attention to its limit and turns it into a scarce resource.

In light of this dynamic environment, the pressing question becomes: How are creativity and attention connected and how are they organized? This question is the point of departure for this year’s European summer academy, in which we will explore different modes of organizing creativity and distributing attention within the ‘creative’ and ‘restless’ city of Berlin.

Participating students will come from five different European universities and business schools. Lecturers will introduce their perspectives from the fields of business and management, philosophy, psychology, theatre and performance studies. These diverse backgrounds allow us to explore multiple layers of the phenomena and use multiple perspectives to make sense of the ways in which creativity and attention are organized in today’s economy. Moreover, based on critical discussions, we will also begin to experiment with ways of intervening in and shaping the current dynamics.