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The Centre for British Studies (Humboldt University Berlin) proudly presents ”100 Years of Britons in Berlin. From the Roaring 20s to the 2020s”, a virtual interactive exhibition where visitors will experience Berlin through the eyes of Britons throughout history, and gain extensive insight into the topic. Through diverse activities, online discussions, workshops and panels, participants will have the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues, and revisit the past, alongside prominent figures connected to the field.

Panel Discussions and Workshops

A panel of writers, artists and performers, will engage themselves in a lively conversation about the appeal of the city and what it is like to be a British expat in the German capital. During the virtual Q&A Zoom session, questions like How much political or socio-cultural climate of the UK influenced their decision to relocate? and ‘How do they foresee future relationships between the countries?’  is going to be discussed. More contemporary issues like modern literature are going to be focused and workshops on creative writing are going to be held. Participants will enjoy a great diversity of activities.

A memory journal of Berlin will also provide a chance to explore a more personal side of the city, in which visitors will be able to share their stories that have taken place in particular neighbourhoods in Berlin.


100 Years of Britons in Berlin

Berlin has always been a crossroads for travellers and British travellers were never an exception. In a virtual and interactive exhibition, the Centre for British Studies will dive into the lives, struggles, identities and influences of Britons in Berlin, celebrating a 100- year time period starting from the Roaring ‘20’s and ending in the present, the 2020’s. This virtual-exhibition is going to take the visitors to a time journey that begins with the collapse of the Empire and the birth of the glorious Weimar Republic in the 1920’s. Providing a historical background to the cultural, intellectual and political relationship of the two nations, the visitors will have the chance to shed a light on what attracted the British to the capital of Germany in the aftermath of the Great War.  Under the light of these reciprocal relationships, the exhibition aims to unearth the British identity within the context of Berlin city life and its experience of adaptation to the city. Narrowing the focus particularly on the female gaze on the city, the exhibition is also going to explore questions such as the extent and reasons of the perceived sexual freedom of Weimar Berlin- a  “sexualised space” for people to express their sexuality.

How did the freedom of sexual activity transform and embody itself in the nightlife of the city is going to be explored and reflected with the magnificent works of Isherwood, Auden, while the other side of the coin is depicted by Vita and Virgina Woolf.

Moving towards the World War II era, the visitors will approach the event under the themes of hope and remembering, a less employed perspective to the concept of war. By peaking into different depictions and interpretations made by the era’s figures like Juidth Kerr, Frank Auerbach and more, the visitors will be looking back on a globally destructive event, WWII, with an eye to rebuild and recover and will have chance to track down the relationship of the survivors to this topic. The historical era known as the Cold War will be explored by focusing on the particular issues of the Berlin Blockade and Espionage in Berlin, untangling the extent of British activity in the events. This focus aims to clarify the power dynamics of the era, for a better understanding of the historical events.

Getting closer to our day, the exhibition is going to celebrate the rebirth of Berlin, as a fruitful source of artistic inspiration., The songs and movies made by the prominent artists of the age such, David Bowie, The Strangers, Fischer-Z, Camel, U2, Pink Floyd and Robbie Williams will give chance to the visitors of the online-exhibition to relish their relationship with Berlin, by looking at the city through the minds of artists. Finally, arriving in the 2000’s, the exhibition will analyse the mechanisms behind the contemporary issues related to Britain., Seeking out the patterns and differences between two capitals, the issues of gentrification and migration in the early 2000’s will be explored. The visitors will also be introduced to the topic of myths and truths about Berlin in the 21st century.

Within all the historical and cultural context they bear in mind, the visitors will arrive at the most crucial event of this century, BREXIT.

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