Ahmet Ögüt: The Silent University Resource Room

The Silent University Resource Room is an open archive that is hosted by different arts and community organisations. In early 2013 it will be housed at The Showroom. Consisting of contributions by artists, researchers, educators and community organisations in the form of essays, publications, films and references, The Resource Room serves as a platform to highlight the broader themes and concerns of the Silent University, which are Silence, Alternative Platforms for Learning, Alternative Economies, and Migration.

The Silent University is an autonomous knowledge exchange platform initiated by artist Ahmet Ögüt working with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who, although from a professional background, cannot gainfully practice their profession due to the limitations of the asylum process. Limitations also apply to access to education, access to currency and volunteering.

The Silent University’s goal is to challenge the idea of silence as a passive state, and explore its powerful potential through performance, writing and group reflection. These explorations attempt to make apparent the systemic failure and the loss of skills and knowledge experienced through the silencing process of asylum seekers. By inventing alternative currencies, in place of money or free voluntary service, the Silent University aims to address and reactivate the knowledge of its participants, making the exchange process mutually beneficial.

The Silent University recently activated its website, which serves as an exchange platform between individuals wanting to teach and receive courses. So far 33 users have registered to the website, lending more than 270 hours of their time. These users include a programme manager/researcher, a solicitor, a senior lecturer in social policy, a community organiser and educator, a documentary director, a few artists, curators, journalists, students, an academic researcher, a professor, an employment adviser for refugee professionals, a writer and refugee arts project coordinator, a database officer, a project consultant, a web designer and a camera operator.

The Silent University started in 2012 in London in collaboration with Tate and Delfina Foundation. It was inaugurated at Tate Modern with a series of events in November and December 2012 including a symposium, a screening program, a Resource Room and a reader. In 2013 it will continue its activities in collaboration with The Showroom and Delfina Foundation in London and will also extend beyond the UK by travelling to Stockholm, where it will be hosted by Tensta Konsthall.

For more information on past activities organised around the The Silent University please visit Tate and Delfina Foundation


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