The Update


What we do, what we plan, what we think



A Closer look: Israel

How did we get here? This is one of the central questions of Shimon Dotan’s complex and moving documentary The Settlers about the history and presence of Israeli settlements, mainly in the West Bank, which presents portraits from a conflicted nation. The film came out in 2016, yet the perspectives are now more relevant than ever.

What do we do now? Shimon, who, along with his wife Netaya Anbar, was a fellow at THE NEW INSTITUTE, will return this month to discuss his film and the current crisis, the Hamas massacre of October 7, and the ensuing war in Gaza with the current fellows. It will surely be an evening of grief and mourning, of reflection and anger, of coming together, and of hope.

What comes next? Nobody really knows. While we mourn civilian victims on both sides, the mere mention of “both sides” is controversial. Jews don’t feel safe and are being threatened; Islamophobia is on the rise. This situation bodes ill for freedom, justice, and solidarity – if we don’t take a stand. And history offers little consolation.



The Final Report: The New Hanse

Over the past two years, The New Hanse, a collaboration between THE NEW INSTITUTE and the city of Hamburg, led by Francesca Bria, has been exploring the transformative potential of  sharing urban data between business and government. The final project report, "Governing Urban Data for the Public Interest", offers actionable guidelines for European cities seeking to harness the power of data for the public good.

The key recommendations are: Shifting the paradigm and advocating for a policy that defaults to making urban data accessible; providing legal clarity by balancing privacy and confidentiality needs; streamlining data sharing efforts; institutionalizing data sharing by building urban data intermediaries; learning from the Hamburg experiment and scaling it across Europe.

We invite you to read the full report for comprehensive insights into the legal, technical, and regulatory dimensions of data governance in the public interest, along with specific practical recommendations to make it happen in Hamburg and across Europe and beyond.

Lin May Saeed, Mureen/Lion School (2016), Styrofoam, acrylic paint, steel, plaster, 170 x 245 x 19 cm

Source of inspiration: A Tribute to Lin May Saeed

In the realm of compassion and co-existence. We mourn the passing of Lin May Saeed. In her art, Saeed advocated for the rights of animals, utilizing her skills with humility. One of her artworks showcasing this richness of artistic brilliance and empathy —The Snow Falls Slowly in Paradise – found its temporary home at THE NEW INSTITUTE, within the Warburg Ensemble. Installed in one of our collaborative spaces, dedicated to the theme the “Future of Democracy”, the piece has become a steady companion for our fellows, watching over them while they think, write, discuss. The relief, carved in Styrofoam and masterfully overpainted, depicts two lions engaged in a communication both intimate and distant, against a barren landscape. This work reflects the enduring impact of Saeed's work: a testament to the interconnectedness of all living things and a contemplation of the intricate dance between humanity and the natural realm – which is movingly on display at Lin May Saeed’s solo exhibition at the Georg Kolbe Museum in Berlin.


Looking back: Three Memorable Events

The International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC): The damage is in the trillions, the consequences are corrosive – corruption kills. This is why the IACC is such an important initiative, and we were proud to host an esteemed international group of legal practitioners and scholars as well as government experts at THE NEW INSTITUTE and support their work.

The Hall of Fame der Deutschen Forschung: As a collaboration with manager magazin, our Hamburg neighbors, we were honored to host this year’s event, celebrating four constructive scientists from the natural sciences and technology. They were united in their skepticism about easy solutions and quick fixes, and their shared belief in the power of science.

The Frankfurt Book Fair: Markus Gabriel, one of the Academics Directors of THE NEW INSTITUTE, was invited to debate some of the ideas from the discussion paper “Towards a New Enlightenment”. He was joined by Andrej Zwitter, Chair of the program on “Conceptions of Human Flourishing”. You can watch the discussion moderated by Gert Scobel here.


Looking ahead: The Winter Institute

What is the New Enlightenment? In these times of geopolitical crises, nested within different socially complex crises of diverse scales and orders of magnitude, many thinkers are trying to develop a shared universal value set that defines the life form of human beings. THE NEW INSTITUTE invites scholars from different fields and career paths to be part of a three-day conference in Hamburg on the motto “The Universal in Crisis”.

The Winter Institute will be an opportunity to formulate conditions for the emergence of new modes of the universal – given our historical circumstances wherein the very idea of the universal is questioned. One overarching question will be: How can practices of universalizing from local cultural conditions and transcultural dialogue foster a novel understanding of humans in the 21st century?

What are anthropological commons? We attempt to transcend the boundaries of specific identities without succumbing to the much-discussed dialectics of a false Enlightenment universal. Our goal is to put the recently emerging concept of future-oriented humanities into practice.


A New Film: Mac Premo

The Mission Film for THE NEW INSTITUTE features key elements of Mac Premo’s style: Fast-paced intelligence, assemblage aesthetics, and sly humor. Now that Mac and his partner Adrianna Dufay are fellows in Hamburg, we are happy to explore their creativity together.

A new form of collaboration: Mac and Adrianna have started working on a short film with Minna Salami, Chair of the program on Black Feminism and the Polycrisis. It’s an experiment intended to bring fellows from the arts and academia together to create a shared and inspiring narrative.

Based on interviews, the film will be finished before the end of the year (that’s the goal) and will offer a poetic look at what black feminism has to offer the world. We will, of course, share the film here with you.

In these dark times, as always, look ahead, look up, look at where you stand.

Hamburg is our home.
The world is our habitat.
The future is our concern.

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