A Collaborative Project

European universities have a long tradition in collecting art and scientific objects. These collection pieces are not only epistemological tools for research and learning, but also preserve and materialize knowledge, inspire collaborative research practices, and open up to  public curiosity and interest. While university collection networks have been established on a national level in recent years, improving their visibility and availability through digital data bases and interdisciplinary exhibitions, the envisioned project concentrates on European collections in the framework of the UNIC – European University of Post-Industrial Cities program.

Aiming  at the initiation and consolidation of collaborative teaching, research, and exhibition projects between ten participating European universities, the idea of the network is to focus on the specificity of  university collections in post-industrial and super-diverse cities. Here, art and scientific collections obtain special significance both as teaching tools in highly diverse classrooms and for reaching out to a broader public. Artefacts, both material and digital, become agents that make cutting-edge research accessible and comprehensible to audiences of diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. They hence build important bridges between academia and the public in transitioning post-industrial landscapes.

A central scope of the project therefor is to learn from each other by exchange and discussion. The aim is to analyze how art and scientific object ecologies create fertile environments for artistic, cultural, and scientific research that not only serve the academic communities they are housed at, but also help reflect societal changes and challenges, making knowledge accessible to a wider community and facilitating cultural integration.

„21 Plateaus“ is a network in progress.

UNIC for Engaged Research (UNIC4ER)


Collaborating Universities:

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, DE
UCC Cork, IR
Universidad de Deusto, ES
Koç Üniversitesi, TR
Uniwersytet Łódźki, PL
Malmö Universitet, SE
University of Oulu, FI
EUR Rotterdam, NL
University of Zagreb, HR


Prof. Dr. Carolin Behrmann
Institute for Art History, RUB, Bochum

Lee Chichester, MA

UNIC at RUB Bochum:
Dr. Judith Ricken,
UNIC & UNIC4ER project management:
Jonna Tikkanen: