Five Years of Academy in Exile

For the past five years, AiE has headed a proud tradition of supporting scholars at risk. AiE is vitally needed, stress UDE Chancellor and AiE’s largest funder, VolkswagenStiftung.

For the press release, see here and in English here.

Ostrakon – AiE’S new open access small-format imprint

Academy in Exile announces the publication of the first issue of Ostrakon, AiE’s new open access small-format imprint.

Its first issue, X-ist, edited by AiE fellow Ahmad Moradi, is inspired by a collaborative art project on the ways in which nature and imaging technologies like x-rays record the perils of crossing Europe’s external borders (Moradi and Hassanzadeh 2017). The essays in X-ist take their cue from the art project and engage with the intricacies of borders and what they give rise to or deny.

Contributors: Stef Jansen (University of Sarajevo), Madeleine Reeves (University of Oxford), Juli Perczel (University of Manchester), and Claudia Tazreiter (University Linköping).

Access the full volume here.

Public Statement

Academy in Exile has been trolled by politically-motivated parties.

Academy in Exile is committed to supporting scholars at risk and to advancing academic freedom. Academy in Exile adheres to the principles of good academic practice and the rule of law.

Legal action has been taken against libelous claims.

Prof. Dr. Vanessa Agnew

Technische Universität Dortmund

Prof. Dr. Verena Blechinger-Talcott

Freie Universität Berlin

Prof. Dr. Volker M. Heins

Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut

Georges Khalil

Forum Transregionale Studien

Prof. Dr. Kader Konuk

Technische Universität Dortmund

Fellows of the Academy in Exile

12-24 months


Visiting Professorships


Short Term Fellowships

3-6 months



Disciplines of Academy in Exile-Fellows


Social sciences






Political sciences












Media studies

Countries of Origin of Academy in Exile-Fellows
Host Institutions

Host Institutions

  • FU: 27
  • Forum: 21
  • KWI: 18
  • UDE: 9

Academy in Exile supports cultural producers and scholars in the humanities, arts, social sciences, or law who are at risk because of their academic work and/or civic engagement in human rights, democracy, and the pursuit of academic freedom.

Academy in Exile provides a forum for reflecting on the pressing challenges to intellectual life, critical thinking, reason, social justice and diversity that are facing us today and that define the parameters of academic freedom.

Academy in Exile fellowships afford scholars the opportunity to continue their careers in Germany and to work on a research project of their own choosing in a multidisciplinary environment. Fellows contribute to and shape the research agenda and intellectual profile of the Academy generally.

Academy in Exile was founded in 2017 as a joint initiative of the Institute for Turkish Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen and the Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin. The Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Volkswagen Foundation provided the start-up funding. Grants conferred by the Mellon Foundation, Volkswagen Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Freudenberg Foundation, IIE-Scholar Rescue Fund, Scholars at Risk Network, Allianz Kulturstiftung, and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) have allowed AiE to support scholars, artists, and journalists with fellowships and positions that strengthen AiE’s scholarly and cultural activities. From 2019–2023, Academy in Exile hosted scholars at the Freie Universität Berlin with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Open Society Foundations. In August of 2023, AiE has moved to the Department of Cultural Studies at the Technische Universität Dortmund.


Academy in Exile is based on a proven model that creates multidisciplinary cohorts of scholars around a unified theme, with the aim of enabling persecuted scholars to collaborate with each other. Since its inception in 2017, AiE has created 78 hosting arrangements through long-term fellowships, emergency stipends, artist-in-residence fellowships, and guest professorships.

Online courses

Online courses developed by Academy in Exile are being co-authored by scholars banished from academic life in their home countries. Across borders and disciplines, scholars collaborate to shape widely accessible, pioneering pedagogical tools for higher education. The first courses were offered online in 2019. All course videos can be accessed here.

Conferences and workshops

Academy in Exile creates public fora for the dissemination of its intellectual work. An inaugural international conference was held in October 18-19, 2018 at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut in Essen (KWI) on the topic of “Exile and Academic Freedom Today”. A diverse audience of scholars, students, and members of the public shared theoretical and personal insights into exile and reported on threats to academic freedom around the globe. The conference also created a particular synergy for identifying gaps in the existing support mechanisms for exiled scholars, and for discussing new models of support such as the one provided by Academy in Exile.  Click here for the conference program.

Academy in Exile hosted a second international conference on “Critical Thinking” on January 16 and 17, 2020 at Freie Universität Berlin. Click here for the conference program.

Academy in Exile’s third international conference on “The Unrecognized Genocide: Dersim 1937–1938” took place on November 18-20, 2021. Click here for the conference program.


Academy in Exile started a series with transcript to publish monographs and edited volumes, edited by Vanessa Agnew (Technische Universität Dortmund/ The Australian National University), Kader Konuk (Technische Universität Dortmund), and Egemen Özbek (Technische Universität Dortmund). The first volume of the series entitled Refugee Routes (2020) is edited by Vanessa Agnew, Kader Konuk, and Jane O. Newman (University of California Irvine). A new volume, Academics in Exile, is edited by Vera Axyonova (Universität Wien), Florian Kohstall (Freie Universität Berlin), and Carola Richter (Freie Universität Berlin) and was published in June 2022.

Academy in Exile’s new imprint Ostrakon welcomes multi- and interdisciplinary work, which explores and develops themes broadly related to mass mobility, forced displacement and exile brought about through conflict, climate change, and authoritarianism. Ostrakon welcomes contributions from a wide range of authors and artists that move beyond conventional scholarly presentational forms to alternative modes of creative and multimedia work.