Confronting Capitalism: Creating Value for Social Well-being

Cao Fei, Asia One, 2018. Video, 63’20”. Inkjet print. Read more

2024/25 Call for Chairs
2024/25 Call for Chairs

Confronting Capitalism: Creating Value for Social Well-being


We live in a time of interconnected systemic crises. We cannot go on as before. The new must be born. At THE NEW INSTITUTE, we ask: Which progressive futures are emerging in our political and economic present? Where does economic and ethical progress align? How do we maintain the strengths of market economies while addressing their weaknesses? To which extent is the ecological crisis a signifier of capitalism? Which emerging reforms and experimental practices hold promise? What would it take to scale them? Where does the law hold us back – and how would it have to be rewritten?

We invite applications for up to five Program Chairs, both practitioners and academics, for the Academic Year 2024-2025. Chairs should apply with a research project that addresses our overall theme. They must already have made outstanding, innovative contributions in their field. Together with us, through a separate call and direct contacts, we will assemble up to four additional Fellows for the respective project to form an intellectual “dream team” that has the potential to propel research into a new dimension. The Program Chair and Fellows will be supported by a Program Coordinator (typically a post-doc or graduate student) who will be employed for the duration of the project to assist with research and administrative tasks. The Program Coordinator will be selected in close consultation with the Program Chair.


On the basis of humanistic and social-scientific reflection on human becoming in the 21st century, THE NEW INSTITUTE develops concrete visions of future socio-economic and political realities. We gather thinkers and practitioners with interdisciplinary and intercultural backgrounds in academia, politics, business, media, the arts, and technology around projects that effect positive social change.



During our selection process, finalists are expected to attend a selection workshop at our premises in Hamburg. Travel costs are covered. Please only apply if you can attend the workshop which will take place on June 7-8, 2023.


Please send the following material – as a single PDF file – to

  • Letter of motivation (3 pages max)
  • CV (please include in the header: current address, including time zone, current affiliation, last university or higher education degree including the institution from which you received the degree, nationality, gender, cell phone number, and the title of your proposed project)
  • Proposal for a research project within the framework of the overall theme, which will then be developed into a separate call for fellows who will form the “dream team” to carry out the project (5 pages max)
  • A 3-minute video of you presenting your project. Please use WeTransfer to upload your video and include the link in your PDF file

For further information (including what we offer), click here and direct questions to


Cao Fei's film "Asia One" (2018) centers around the last two individuals in a vast logistics center in Shanghai, where robots and artificial intelligence control the automated distribution system, increasingly seeing the protagonists as a hindrance. Fei's work is a subtle yet virtuosic critique of contemporary society, exploring the psychosocial effects of new media, loneliness in a technologized and virtualized world, and the social implications of digital capitalism and urbanization. Despite its critical nature, Fei's work maintains a tender, precise, and poetic perspective, offering a unique and humane viewpoint that surpasses any mere portrayal of disaster.

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