The Showroom

The Silent University Seminar

Tuesday 20th May 2014, 3–7.30pm at Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford
Free, please RSVP [email protected]

Wednesday 21st May 2014, 6–9pm at The Showroom, London
Free no booking required


The London branch of the Silent University will produce a two-day event in collaboration with the Oxford Migration Studies Society and the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford and The Showroom, London. These two events will focus on drawing together members of the London Silent University in dialogue with artists, curators and theoreticians who are working on projects that deal with migration issues in the legal framework of Western democracies.

The events are curated by The Silent University team in collaboration with Visible curators, Matteo Lucchetti and Judith Wielander, and Catherine L. Crooke (Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford) and Louise Shelley (The Showroom, London).

Seminar Schedule:

20 May 2014, at Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB
3–4pm: Ceremony
4–5pm: Lectures
Coffee break
5–6.30pm – Round table discussion
6.30–7.30pm – Reception

Contact person: Catherine L. Crooke (MSc Candidate, Refugee & Forced Migration Studies, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford): [email protected]

21 May 2014, at The Showroom
6–8pm: Lectures
8–8.15pm: Coffee break
8.15–9.00pm – Roundtable discussions

Contact person: Louise Shelley (Collaborative Projects Curator, The Showroom, London): [email protected]

On the 14th of December 2013 the second edition of the Visible Award was awarded to The Silent University, a knowledge exchange platform initiated by the artist Ahmet Ögüt and led by a group of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. The jury, chaired by Charles Esche – Director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and curator of the upcoming Sao Paolo Biennial – included Tania Bruguera (artist, New York), Jeanne Van Heeswijk (artist, Rotterdam), Koyo Kouho (curator, Artistic Director of Raw Material Company, Dakar), Nikos Papastergiadis (University of Melbourne, Sydney), and Michelangelo Pistoletto (artist, and Artistic Director of Cittadellarte, Biella). The 25,000 euros prize was awarded to the existing branches of the University in London, Stockholm, and Paris, who will work to strengthen the infrastructure through which The Silent University and its members operate.

The 2013 Visible Award official ceremony will take place as part of the event at the University of Oxford, where Michelangelo Pistoletto and Anna Zegna - representatives of Cittadellarte - Pistoletto Foundation and Fondazione Zegna - will present the award to Ahmet Ögüt. Ögüt, a Kurdish artist from Turkey is the second recipient of the Visible Award after the Colombian collective Helena Producciones were awarded the prize in 2011 at a ceremony held at the Serpentine Gallery, London for the 8th edition of the Festival de Performance de Cali, which was realised with great success in the Autumn of 2012.

The Silent University is an autonomous knowledge exchange platform led by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Silent University members have had a professional life and academic training in their home countries, but are unable to use their skills or professional training due to a variety of reasons related to their status.

Acting as a group of lecturers, consultants and research fellows, each group icontributes to the programme in different ways, including developing courses connected to their qualifications, specific research on key themes as well as personal reflections on what it means to be a refugee and asylum seeker. The Silent University wants to address and reactivate the knowledge of the participants and make the exchange process mutually beneficial.

The Silent University's aim is to challenge the idea of silence as a passive state, and explore its powerful potential through group reflection to make apparent the systemic failure and the loss of skills and knowledge experienced through the silencing process of people seeking asylum.

The Silent University started in London in 2012 in collaboration with Delfina Foundation and Tate and was later hosted by The Showroom. It is currently being established in Sweden in collaboration with Tensta Konsthall and ABF Stockholm, and in France, at Le 116 in Montreuil, Greater Paris region.

  1. Silentuniversityopenday
    Event The Silent University Open Day

  2. Silentuniversity1
    Exhibition Ahmet Ögüt: The Silent University Resource Room