global Prayers Workshops Berlin, Lagos, Beirut and Mumbai

Workshops in Berlin, Lagos, Beirut and Mumbai
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One of this transnational research and exhibition project’s central elements are workshops that take place at the cities of research. Urban excursions, discussions with experts, and workshops comprised of participating scientists and artists on overarching questions relating to the project are significant components of the global prayers project. Another one is the public presentation and discussion of the project in the participating cities. So far, workshops have been conducted in Berlin (July 2010), Lagos (December 2010), and Beirut (June 2011). Further workshops are scheduled to take place Mumbai (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2013).

Berlin, June 2009
The launch event for the global prayers • redemption and liberation in the city was held on June 2, 2009 at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The one-day workshop served to introduce the project, its goals, and its organizational structure. The event was also attended by academics from all over Europe whose lectures provided an overview of important topics in current religious research. Thus, the workshop served as a survey of possible starting points for the global prayers project’s research.

Berlin, July 2010
The second workshop of the project global prayers • redemption and liberation in the city took place at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin from July 11-17, 2010. The workshop gathered, for the first time, grantholders, associated researchers, artists and cooperation partners of global prayers. The main objective of this non-public workshop was to discuss the overall research questions, approaches, methods and forms of cooperation of the project. The core of the event was the presentation and discussion of the research proposals of the grantholders as well as of the artist projects. Some further lectures and comments on methodology framed the workshop, as well as time and space for working groups, networking and informal talks between participants and the project management.

Lagos, December 2010
The third workshop of global prayers • redemption and liberation in the city took place in Greater Lagos and consisted of three parts: a workshop for people involved in the project that took place on the Lekki Pensinsula, a number of multi-day excursions through the metropolitan region, and a public presentation supported by the Goethe-Institut Lagos and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.
The internal workshop gathered about 25 grant holders, associated researchers, artists and collaborators involved in the global prayers project. It consisted of presentations of interim findings of the participants’ scientific and artistic research and a discussion of the project’s central questions. One finding coming out of the discussion was that all participants had come to regard the following topics as important over the course of the first research phase: The City of Modernity, Borders and Zonings, Street Politics, Mobility and Movements, and The City as a Laboratory of Religion. The next few days were spent looking further into these topic areas in smaller teams. The results of the workshop, and the collaborative projects between research fellows that came out of it, showed once again what an important component of the overall project the workshops in the research locations are.
A number of excursions to numerous religious sites followed the workshop. At this places the participants discussed with academics, artists, activists, journalists and experts about the main questions of global prayers • redemption and liberation in the city.
The final part of the workshop consisted of a public presentation of the global prayers project, moderated by the literary scholar Sola Olorunyomi, at the Glendora bookstore/The JazzHole. Here, the global prayers team presented the project itself as well as work coming out of two workshops conducted under the project’s umbrella: the documentary film workshop Workshop of God, conducted by Jens Wenkel, in which young filmmakers from different religious backgrounds created works on the topic of religion, and the hip-hop workshop Rhythm, Beats and Skills, conducted by Adé Bantu.

Beirut, June 2011
Beirut was the meeting point for the fourth global prayers workshop in June 2011. A number of team members and fellows got together in this city that like scarcely another has been influenced by the concurrence of different religions. The global prayers workshop consisted of seminars, lectures, and excursions. In addition, a public presentation was held in The Hangar, an important cultural center in Beirut that is affiliated to the UMAM, the Lebanese Association for Artistic and Cultural Exchange.

Mumbai, September 2012
In September, the next workshop leads Global Prayers to Mumbai.
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From September 26rd to 30th, global prayers organizes together with the Goethe-Institut Mumbai a public symposium and an artistic presentation at the Max-Müller-Bhavan. Project fellows, artists and international guests are invited to present their research projects and to exchange their views  with local experts, activists and the broader public.

Public Symposium (26th and 27th of September, 1.30-5.30 pm)
The focus of this symposium which is taking place on September 26th and 27th  is centred around different aspects of “urban-religious configurations” which examine zones of overlapping  and / or shifting boundaries between what is perceived as secular and as sacral: What are spaces and places of faith? Which kinds of borders and of limits can be experienced? And how are the boundaries between „the religious and the sacral“ being established, maintained, transformed or blurred? These questions will be addressed with public presentation of artistic projects, film screenings, discussions, lectures and various interventions.

26th September:
global prayers – redemption and liberation in the city: Introduction to the Research Project by Stephan Lanz / Kathrin Wildner (Urban Researchers, Berlin-Frankfurt-on-Oder)
Building the New Religious City: Asonzeh Ukah (Religious Sociologist and Religious Historian, Lagos/Bayreuth)
Faith, Ritual, Labour: Translocal Religion Before, Between, and Beyond Politics
D. Parthasarathy (Sociologist, Mumbai)
Gospel Funk: Pentecostalism and Popular Music in Rio de Janeiro
Martijn Oosterbann (Anthropologist, Utrecht)

27th September:
On the Sacrality of Urban Sprawl: Registering Contemporary Religiosity in India: Smriti Srinivas  (Sociologist, Bangalore / Davis)
Religion and Rehabilitation – Human Biopolitics, City Spaces and Acts of Religion: Yasmeen Arif (Sociologist, Delhi)
Negotiating Gender Boundaries: Religion, Respectability and Access to Public Space in Mumbai: Sameera Khan (Jounalist and Researcher, Mumbai) and Shilpa Phadke (Cultural Scientist, Mumbai) in talk with Julia Eckert (Anthropologist, Berlin/Bern)

Artistic Presentation (26th-28th, 1-10 pm, Live-Event: 6-9 pm)
Apart from the academic contributions a live-event presented by Jochen Becker (art curator, Berlin) and Katrin Klingan (cultural manager, Berlin) compromising an artistic presentation and two film events will be open to the public. The event documents the exhibtition ‚the Urban Cultures of global prayers‘ recently shown by metroZones (Berlin) at the Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst/NGBK (Berlin) and Camera Austria (Graz).

Works presented during the event can be viewed individually on September 26, 27, 28 from 1-10 pm at Galerie Max Mueller.

26th September, 6-9 pm: Artistic Presentation
The curatorial team of global prayers will present artistic works and researches produced for the exhibition ‚the Urban Cultures of global prayers‘. The presentation will be accompanied by an introduction into curatorial aspects of global players. It will be followed by a discussion with representatives of the artistic scene in Mumbai.

27th September, 6-9 pm: Film Screening
On 27th September, the artistic curator Jochen Becker will present two artistic contributions to the Global Prayers-Project with different as well as specific approaches on questions dealing with documentary film and religiosity, the video installation ‚On the set of 1978ff‘ (58 min.) by Sandra Schäfer and the documentary ‚Sometimes I Wonder‘ (46 min.) by Tom Jide Akinleminu, Titilola Kayode, Matthias Luthardt, Tina Okhai and Jens Wenkel. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with representatives of the art-scene in Mumbai.

27th September, 6-9 pm: Film Presentation
On 28th September, filmic contributions on religious practices in the urban context of Berlin and of Mumbai will be contrasted with excerpts of the documentary ‚The Great Passion‘ by Jörg Adolph. This documentary deals with a widely received passion play in the province of Bavaria which underwent several reforms. The screening of the excerpts will be followed by a discussion with Mumbai-based film-makers and sociologists.