the emancipatory
potential of
cultural practice

TEH Meeting 81
WUK, Vienna

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Helping refugees in times of crisis

Lecture and discussion with Michael Genner, Norbert Kittenberger, and Solmaz Sandi


Staircase 4, School

The so-called refugee crisis has had a deep impact on the way European countries deal with refugees. While parliaments tighten refugee laws and far-right parties start rallying in streets hoping to achieve a total closure of their states’ borders, large parts of civil society still try their best to help refugees and avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

Norbert Kittenberger and Michael Genner, both members of the organisation Asyl in Not, which offers legal consultation for refugees and fights for humane refugee laws, will analyse the legal and political changes that occurred and are still occurring in Europe since summer 2015. They will speak about their experiences helping refugees and hope to exchange experiences with other workshop members in order to help each other learn how to best deal with the current situation. Together with workshop members they also intend to recount achievements accomplished thus far, e. g. stopping most deportations from Austria to Hungary in autumn and winter 2015/2016.

Solmaz Sandi was the initiator and one of the main organisers of a civil society project, which offered shelter to refugees for four weeks in autumn 2015 in different improvised rooms of the WUK (school, exhibition hall, etc.). A group of about ten people coordinated 300 volunteers in hosting about 1500 refugees all-in-all. On a daily basis, and starting from scratch, WUK provided food and nicely prepared beds as well as facilities, clean clothes, medical aid, and help with the onward journey – all this with a deeply human touch, which filled the project name with life: Guest Welcome WUK. Solmaz Sandi speaks about experiences, spontaneity, borders, and possibilities.