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The Open Lab at the University of Tübingen aims to strengthen the connections to civil society, support local initiatives and promote innovative research projects.

The two calls were focused:

  • Service-Learning and
  • Innovative research projects

Two Service-Learning projects were launched successfully in the winter term 2021-2022. Both projects resulted in further projects, which are planned for the summer term of 2022.

Small business management and the emotional implications of the pandemic

The project supports entrepreneurs overpassing the COVID-19 crisis and defines the meaning of work and the pandemic lockdown’s implications.

As the small businesses are what makes a lively city, this Service-Learning project aims to support these local partners of the community of Tübingen. Therefore, depending on the partners’ needs, services will be created and provided for dealing with emotionally difficult situations such as the pandemic. Initially, the needs of the entrepreneurs will be identified via surveys. In the next step, existing opportunities will be screened and turned into real activities for and with the partners. Students will cooperate with entrepreneurs to help them to deal with the situation and apply theory in praxis.

For the dissemination of the project, a joint workshop will be conducted with the partners and/or local officials. Students will have the opportunity to publish articles or give radio interviews about their experiences after the project.

Project partners

Applicant: Transdisciplinary Course Program

Partners: Cafés, fashion shops and smaller businesses in Tübingen

Academics: Vanessa Weihgold and Leticia Hoppe 

Students: Open to all BA-students of the University of Tübingen and to students from the University of Bucharest and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid within the micro-programme Civic Engagement

Interested in joining the project?

Are you a B.A. student at one of the three CIVIS universities below?

  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • University of Bucharest
  • University of Tübingen

Please have a look at the CIVIS micro-programme "Civic Engagement"

Project contact

Die alternde Gesellschaft - Inclusion, aging and care as a social challenge

The project deals with demographic change and its impact on society (e.g., health, care, inclusion and social cohabitation). Conceptualized as a Service-Learning project, social-scientific methods such as surveys, interviews, participatory observations should be applied in context. At the same time social commitment will be fostered by solving regional, concrete challenges. Researchers of the university, social enterprises and civil society stakeholders work on suitable solutions to meet specific needs.

Understand: The participants of this project understand the impact of demographic change on care and inclusive work.

Reflect: Chances and risks, as well as specific challenges that go hand in hand with these developments, are reflected.

Transfer: Researchers apply specific research methods und participate in co-creation workshops.

Engagement: Students support voluntary projects and regional social enterprises; they participate in processes of social innovation and are committed to find solutions for societal challenges.

It is planned to conduct a final CIVIS Open Lab workshop open to all students of CIVIS partner universities. Thereby the results of this project will be discussed commonly, in the context of the major challenges of the 21st century.

Project partners

Applicant: Transdisciplinary Course Program

Partners: Citizens, Social Enterprises, LebensPhasenHaus

Academics:  Prof. Daniel Buhr, Dr. Sandra Evans, Prof. Udo Weiber

Students: open to all BA-students of the University of Tübingen and to students from the University of Bucharest and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid within the CIVIS micro-programme "Civic Engagement"

Interested in joining the project?

Are you a B.A. student at one of the three CIVIS universities below?

  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • University of Bucharest
  • University of Tübingen

Please have a look at the CIVIS micro-programme "Civic Engagement"

Project contact

Lost places, lost memories? The legacy of Nazi terror along the Swabian Alb

The project aims to research and communicate the materiality of the terror of the Nazi era using examples in the regional environment of the University of Tübingen. It is intended as a think tank that brings together university and non-university research institutions/activities and memorial initiatives to develop future innovative perspectives. The aim is not only to raise awareness among citizens but also to counteract totalitarian and inhuman tendencies in modern-day society.

In 1944/45, ten shale oil factories have been constructed southwest of Tübingen to counteract a precarious fuel shortage. This so-called “Unternehmen Wüste” brought terror and death to 12,000 concentration camp inmates from all over Europe – and devastated the whole landscape as well.
However, the project failed and turned into a humanitarian, ecological and economic disaster. The few material remains left at the sites are crucial to tie those events to the collective memory, but they are threatened to disappear. Since the 1980s, private individuals and initiatives have been working voluntarily to promote commemorative culture and reconciliation. Due to the ever-decreasing number of contemporary witnesses, the study of the material evidence and archaeological remains is gaining new importance for memory and education. Only in recent years the University of Tübingen and the State Office for Cultural Heritage Baden-Württemberg have dedicated themselves to researching, preserving and communicating this material heritage.

The CIVIS Open Lab should help to sustainably link the previous initiatives, to evaluate new research and outreach activities at the interface of university and society and to strengthen the integration into the pan-European memorial discourse. Finally, the material legacy of Nazi terror on the university's doorstep, which - unlike prominent memorials of Nazi terror such as Dachau or Buchenwald - are shockingly absent from the collective memory, must be made more visible and established as learning and teaching environments or open labs. Two major activities serve this goal: 1. The development of new outreach concepts: The factory “Wüste 4” near Erzingen, one of the "lost places" of Nazi terror, will serve as an exemplary case of study for an innovative and inclusive outreach activity. 2. The Development of scientifically based outreach content: by using the case of study of factory “Wüste 4”, selected aspects of the materiality of terror are to be researched through an interdisciplinary approach.

Project partners

Applicants: Tübingen University Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology, Competence Center Archaeometry Baden-Wuerttemberg

Partners: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Baden-Württemberg, Arbeitskreis „Wüste“ Balingen, Verein Gedenkstätten KZ Bisingen e.V., Initiative Gedenkstätte Eckerwald e.V.

Academics: Dr. Lukas Werther, Dr. Christoph Berthold, Dr. Silvia Amicone and Dr. Christian Bollacher

Students: Open to BA and MA students of the University of Tübingen and other CIVIS universities

Interested in joining the project?

Project contact: PD Dr. Lukas Werther - lukas.werther@uni-tuebingen.de