Renaissances –– Reinventing the Old?

Renaissance: to be reborn (from the French re-naître), leaving the present behind and starting anew. This credo for a »cultural rebirth« in the spirit of antiquity inspired artists and thinkers alike during the transition between the 15th and 16th centuries. Europe in its entirety was gripped by the spirit of the new and at the same time of recollection; modernity first raised its head. Throughout the 21st century, technical innovations are becoming outdated every second, and while we are so globally networked, yet many are lonelier than ever. Insecurity is ubiquitous; some feel it culturally, others economically, religiously or politically. People feel abandoned, misunderstood, or overwhelmed. The time perhaps is rife for another »rebirth,« a renaissance in the spirit of recollection and a new beginning?

The 2019 festival was launched with an international panel discussion that focused on the rise of anti-democratic and populist rhetoric across Europe against the backdrop of Friedrich Schiller’s inaugural lecture at the University of Jena (1789).