The Desire For Freedom

"Freedom" Workshop in Berlin | Photo: Tina Gotthardt
"Freedom" Workshop in Berlin | Photo: Tina Gotthardt

From late January to early February the EUSTORY alumni workshop "The Desire for Freedom - European values in times of crisis" took place in Berlin. On the occasion of the 30th Council of Europe Art Exhibition "The Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe since 1945", the Körber Foundation and the German Historical Museum invited 15 young Europeans to Berlin to discuss various aspects of the term "freedom"and its meaning for today's democracies.

Tamara Čakić (22) from Slovenia is a student of International Relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences. She talked about her idea of freedom:

“My perception of freedom is that I am not limited by any kind of authority in deciding what to do, think, speak, believe, who to love, for who to vote and where to go. However, I strongly believe that if we want to be free together as a society every individual's freedom can only extend itself so far as long it does not breach rights and freedoms of other people.”

right to left: Jorge Fernández Gómez, Dr. Lothar Dittmer, Marianne Birthler, Monika Flacke, Tamara Čakić (Photo Körber Stiftung | David Aussserhofer
From Right to Left: Jorge Fernández Gómez, Dr. Lothar Dittmer, Marianne Birthler, Monika Flacke, Tamara Čakić (Photo Körber Stiftung | David Aussserhofer)

Over the course of a four-day-workshop, the Eustory alumni, aged 18 to 26, not only discussed their ideas of freedom with experts in the German Historical Museum as well as in the Department of Foreign Affairs. They also had a stimulating exchange with Marianne Birthler, the former Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Archives of the former GDR on January 31. The participants created collages, sculptures, films and texts that will be incorporated into the Art Exhibition.

„It is impossible not to broaden your horizon when you are working closely with 14 Europeans over four days. Europe is so multifaceted that even in neighbouring countries you will find differences“, asserts Sofia from Finland. The participants of the workshop came from EU member states as well as from Belarus and the Russian Federation. As a result, their individual ideas of freedom were quite different. “It looks like the participants from other countries enjoy more freedoms. But nobody is really free, even if you “only” take the European Convention on Human Rights as a basis,“ says Darya from Belarus. And she backs her statement: „I was surprised to learn from Sofia that you cannot open a pharmacy in Finland without having had medical training. That’s different in my country.”

The young Europeans were cautiously optimistic for the future: “ I would like to hope that we are on the right track in terms of freedom”, says Sławomir from Poland, “but I know a little bit about human nature and I know that absolute freedom and world peace are impossible.”

A documentation of all pieces of art, films, texts and interviews, as well as the results of a survey about how free Europeans feel, can be viewed on the workshop blog.

The German Historical Museum also has a blog about various aspects of the exhibition (the blog is in German).

The participants came from fifteen different nations, including Poland, Italy and Estonia: the three countries that the Council of Europe Art Exhibition will travel to next.

Click here to have a look at the programme.

Go back