Life at the Centre
re:work sees itself as making a contribution to the restatement of German scholarship’s international potential. This internationalisation requires more than just the work of a single scholar; rather it involves the creation of an entire environment in which both joint research and interpersonal exchange are facilitated. As such, re:work is a place where scholars from around the world can work, inspire each other, and be intellectually creative.
re:work is mindful to not only attract junior and senior scholars from the North Atlantic area; as such, the centre makes a concerted attempt to invite scholars from diverse regions of the world as a means of transcending the Eurocentric perspective. Despite the fact that researchers from so-called smaller disciplines as well as the humanities are certainly of particular interest, scholars from the areas of law and social science are explicitly targeted. In addition, re:work cultivates close relationships and fosters cooperative exchanges with international institutional partners. The reason for this is that we believe the best kind of learning community emerges by bringing together diverse traditions of knowledge and a variety of methodological approaches as well as highly specific cultural perspectives in a productive debate evolving around a central social theme.
Furthermore, re:work does its best to include former fellows for further work, whether in an advisory capacity or for short stays, and it is in this way, despite the regular turnover in guests at re:work, that a research tradition and community of scholars can be developed which is dedicated to the theme of work and life course.
The following elements constitute re:work’s programme that runs throughout the academic year from October to July.
The fellows meet every Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the seminar room at our research centre. All fellows are obliged to present their projects within the framework of this weekly colloquium at which only their peers are present (45 to 60 minutes).
In addition, invitations to participate in re:work’s events are extended to guest scholars and individuals interested in the centre’s work, even if they are not from the academic world. These individuals often come from areas such as politics, culture and developmental assistance.
Whether they do so by themselves, or in cooperation with other fellows, every re:work fellow is afforded the opportunity of organising a colloquium. Scholars whose work is relevant to the topic under discussion and who are affiliated with the Humboldt University or any other scholarly institution based in Berlin may also be invited to the colloquium.
Furthermore, lectures by external guest speakers also take place. These lectures seek to address overarching substantive or methodological aspects of re:work’s main thematic thrust. Every Wednesday there is a common meal as a further way of promoting interaction among fellows and fostering a sense of community. Every fellow is asked to take turns cooking. Every month re:work organises an optional excursion with the aim of inviting fellows to discover Berlin's tremendously rich cultural and historical offerings.
At the end of the academic year, re:work invites the fellows to a final conference in the presence of re:work’s associate fellows and the advisory board. Fellows are asked to make a final presentation (20 minutes) and to include a reflection about re:work’s central concepts: work, life course and global history. The idea behind the conference is to rethink the interesting new ways in which fellows’ projects were shaped and delimited by discussions at re:work.
re:work’s staff offers advice and practical support to fellows on how to organise a stay in Berlin, such as information on visas, insurance, residence permits, accommodation, and how to open a bank account etc. This service includes providing advice to our guest researchers’ partners and or families that may accompany them. Our aim is to make the transition to working in Berlin as smooth and easy as possible. Furthermore, re:work provides a library service which includes ordering, collecting and returning items from various libraries in Berlin. Items that are not available from these libraries can be ordered through inter-library loans. The re:work intranet and calendar provide regular information about other fellows’ activities as well as news from the centre. Every fellow is also given a user name to use the services provided by the Humboldt University. Finally, re:work also offers German as foreign language classes.