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Auf der Walz / Em deambulação

Sind sie dir auch schon einmal aufgefallen? Schwarzer Hut, Weste, Schlaghose – junge Menschen mit diesem Outfit sieht man seit ein paar Jahren wieder häufiger in Städten oder an Autobahnauffahrten Deutschlands. Welche Geheimnisse es bei den Wandergesellen zu finden gibt – und welche nicht – erfahrt ihr in diesem Artikel:

Será que também já deste alguma vez por eles? Chapéu preto, colete, calças à boca de sino – jovens com esta indumentária voltaram a ser cada vez mais vistos nos últimos anos na Alemanha, nas cidades e nos acessos às autoestradas. Os segredos que se pode chega a saber dos aprendizes deambulantes – e estes que não se pode chega – pode ler neste artigo:

Sammelband „Inklusion in Kanada“

Im Beltz-Verlag ist nun der Sammelband über Inklusion in Kanada mit einem Artikel von mir erschienen.

Kanada ist federführend beim Thema „Bildung für alle“. In dem Buch werden nicht nur verschiedene Beispiele aus Kanada vorgestellt, sondern die schulische Inklusion dort auch mit der in Deutschland verglichen.

In meinem Beitrag „Kulturbedingte Herausforderungen für schulische und gesellschaftliche Teilhabe in indigenen Reservaten Kanadas: Das Beispiel des Atikamekw-Dorfes Manawan in Québec“ wird vor allem darauf eingegangen, wie das Bildungssystem in Quebec auf die Bedürfnisse der indigenen Kinder und Jugendlichen eingeht (oder auch nicht), und welche Möglichkeiten und tollen Initiativen die Indigenen in den Reservaten im Bereich Bildung haben, weil das kanadische Gesetz den Indigenen relative Autonomie im Bereich Bildung gewährt.

Ein Beispiel, das ich darin vorstelle, ist das Atikamekw-Wikipedia-Projekt, die weltweit erfolgreichste Wikipedia in einer indigenen Sprache.

Der Sammelband wurde von David Jahr und Robert Kruschel (beide von der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg) herausgegeben und erschien bei Beltz.

Jahr, David / Kruschel, Robert (eds.) (2019): Inklusion in Kanada. Internationale Perspektiven auf heterogenitätssensible Bildung. Weinheim: Beltz.


Poetry-Slam – Kunst, Hobby und Beruf / Poetry slam – arte, passatempo e profissão

Poetry-Slam ist ein Wettstreit von Dichter*innen, der in Deutschland viel Anklang findet. Doch was denken die Slammer selbst über dieses Format? In diesem Beitrag für das Goethe-Institut Portugal kommen zwei  bekannte Slam-Poeten aus Leipzig zu Wort.

Poetry slam é uma competição de poesia que se populariza muito na Alemanha. Mas o que é que @s poetry slammers pensam eles mesmos de essa formata? Neste artigo para o Goethe-Institut Portugal tomam a palavra dois slam poetas conhecidos de Leipzig.

Tourismus und Lissabon / Turismo e Lisboa

Wie hat sich Lissabon in den letzten sechs Jahren verändert? Welches neues Tourismuskonzept ist zu spüren und wie beeinflusst es das Stadtbild und die Lebensqualität in der portugiesischen Hauptstadt? Diese Fragen habe ich in einem Artikel für das Goethe-Institut Portugal beantwortet.

Como é que Lisboa mudou nos seis anos passados? Qual é o novo concepto turístico que se pode sentir e como é que influencia a imagem da cidade e a qualidade de vida na capital portuguesa? Respondi nestas perguntas num artigo para o Goethe-Institut Portugal.

Religious and general fasting

I grew up in Germany, a country which is characterized by Christianity and Judaism. In recent times, also Muslim traditions become more and more familiar to me. Among many other things, one common practice in many religions is fasting. Why do people fast? Is it an only religious motivation or do people fast for other reasons? What does fasting do to people? Here are some facts and some thoughts on this topic.

Neue Heimat: Käse

Fasting is the abstinence or reduction from certain or all food, drink or other substances, for a period of time. In Ancient Egypt fasting was known. The fasting culture in this part of the world included for example the abstinence of fish dishes during the spawning period. The fasting period of 40 days was probably adopted by the Egyptian Copts from their ancestors.


The best known fasting in the Christian religion is the forty-day Lent fast before Easter. It reminds on the 40 days which Jesus Christ spend fasting and praying in the dessert. Traditionally it’s a fasting of meat. The reformation relaxed this Lenten season. Today, many Christians fast special habits which crept in their daily routing, like eating sweets or watching TV.


Fasting for Jews means completely abstaining from food and drink, including water. Traditionally observant Jews fast six days of the year. With the exception of Yom Kippur, fasting is never permitted on Shabbat. Yom Kippur (also known as Day of Atonement) is considered to be the most important day of the Jewish year and fasting as a means of repentance is expected of every Jewish man or woman.


In Islam, fasting is the fourth of the Five Pillars and involves fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, which is probably the most known fasting period in the world. In this holy month, Muslims are prohibited from eating and drinking (including water) and other substances from from fajr (dawn) until maghrib (sunset). As I know from some friends, also physical pleasures (even kissing) are prohibited. The Qur’an states that fasting was prescribed for those before them (i.e., the Jews and Christians) and that by fasting a Muslim gains taqwa, which can be described in one word as ‚Godconsciousness‘ or ‚Godwariness‘. Fasting is believed to help promote chastity and humility and prevent sin, the outburst of uncontrolled lusts and desires and far-fetched hopes.


There are many other religions having fasting traditions, but I only mention here the three main religions. Today – besides medical or healthy fasting – fasting is often used as a tool to make a political statement. In recent times I remind on the hunger strikes in European refugee camps to protest against the conditions in many of these camps, or hunger strikes by Canadian women to draw attention to the disappearance of many First Nations women in the past decades.

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I don’t want to discuss political or medical reasons of fasting, but focus here on spiritual reasons. During the Christian Lenten period (which ended last Saturday), I reflected religious fasting reasons. The question I always ask is the question concerning the cause. „Because my religion tells me to fast“ should not be an answer. At the beginning, at least hundreds of years ago, there must have been a cause. Sure, the Qur’an, Torah and Bible give us some causes and reasons, like being closer to God and the paradise, or atoning for our sins. But what does this mean? Maybe the answer is in the fasting action itself. When we do not eat meat, we remember that meat is luxury, that there won’t be meat forever and that we have to take care of the animals and our nature. When we fast TV, we find back time for ourselves, to think, to watch the world, to talk to our families and friends – we find back to ourselves and to the world and the universe. No matter what we fast – it is the time to go back to our roots and to the basis. Maybe this is what religions mean with being closer to God and the paradise – it is the time to reflect on what we did and do. Don’t fast for a religion, fast for yourself, rethink and go back to your roots, and this is the answer.

Leipzig – A city with book tradition

Leipzig (Germany) was once one of the major European centers of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing and plays still an important role in these fields. How did this happen and which role does the Leipzig Trade Fair plays in this development?


In the Middle Ages, Leipzig was the intersection of two very important trade roads of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe: Via Regia (from East to West) and Via Imperii (from North to South). Being located on this spot, Leipzig got endowed with city and market privileges in 1165 and opened its Trade Fair, an event of international importance. In 1409, the „Alma Mater Lipsiensis“ – the University of Leipzig – was founded as one of the first universities in Germany. In 1497, Leipzig received the title of Imperial Trade Fair and by that the monopoly for regional and long-distance trading. The city evolved from a regional trade place into an international trade fair site and played an important role especially in the East-West-trading. The Leipzig Trade Fair is the oldest remaining trade fair in the world.


The inhabitants of Leipzig – characterized by the twice yearly trade fairs – were „through acquaintances and contact with the world and its inhabitants […] more cultured and enlightened than those in other German trading cities“ (Johann Gottfried Langermann, 1794).


The world’s first daily newspaper appeared in Leipzig in 1650. In the 18th century, the city became the center for instructive journalism, alongside scientific journals there were also literary criticism and periodicals for women and children. In 1780, there was one writer for every 170 inhabitants in Leipzig (in Berlin it was 1:675). Censorship was in the hands of the City Council and the university and was therefore liberal. Without being hindered by the mandatory membership of a guild, as was the case elsewhere, publishers were able to control type foundries, printing works, book binding, publishing and the book trade, which led to the location of a large number of publishing houses in Leipzig.


The free intellectual atmosphere made Leipzig the commercial book trade center of Germany, which had already surpassed the Frankfurt Book Fair in importance in the 17th century. It was only in 1945 when Frankfurt was able to take back the leading role as German book trade metropolis. Today, Leipzig is the second largest book fair in Germany and continues to grow every year since the unification of Germany in 1990. Welcoming 186,000 book fair visitors in 2015, last week (from March 17th to 20, 2016) there were 195,000 visitors.


Why do so many people – professionals and consumers – come to the Leipzig Book Fair? What does Leipzig differ from Frankfurt? It’s the new profile. Today, the fair in Leipzig aims to be for the public, above all, and to emphasize the relationship between the authors and the fair’s visitors through readings. The new orientation is necessary to compete with Frankfurt Book Fair, which sees a much larger volume of industry trading. During the four-day fair Leipzig hosts over 1,800 events both in the city (see picture above) and at the fairgrounds, making it the largest events of its kind in Europe. The Leipzig Fair was one of the first to recognize the growing market for audiobooks and incorporate this trend into its concept. Hélia Correia, one of the most important Portuguese authors, told us in an interview that she usually does not accept invitations to book fairs because she doesn’t like the blatant advertising of the books; but she got told that the book fair in Leipzig was different, with a strong concentration on the texts and the readers, so she accepted to come to Leipzig and was happy about this decision because here she got the confirmation that it was true.

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Another very important part of the new Leipzig Book Fair is the Manga-Comic-Convention, the first event of the year for lovers of comics, manga, cosplay, Japan and games. The trade fairground provides an own hall for this event, but you can see the cosplayers everywhere. Cosplayers are mostly teenagers who wear costumes and act to represent a character of manga and anime, comic books and cartoons and video games as closely as possible to the original. This tradition comes from Japan.


I had a great time on the fairground, even though it was tiring to walk through the mass of visitors. But the thousands and thousands of books from small and big publishers and the great readings from German and international authors compensated the stress in a wonderful way.

Und für alle, die dem Deutschen mächtig sind und mal lesen wollen, wie die Messe für den deutschen Autoren André Herrmann war (lebt in Brüssel), kann seinen sehr empfehlenswerten Blogartikel dazu lesen.


Bryant Park in New York City

As I come from a small town in Germany, huge cities like New York stress me after some days. My favorite NYC places to relax are Central Park and the High Line. But when you’re walking in the Time Square area and you need a break, go to Bryant Park. There are benches, and in summer you can sit on the grass and enjoy a green spot in the center of rush.


In 1686, when the area was still a wilderness, New York’s colonial governor at that time designated the area as a public space. George Washington’s troops crossed the area while retreating from the Battle of Long Island in 1776. Beginning in 1823, the future park was designated a graveyard for the poor and remained so until 1840, when thousands of bodies were moved to Wards Island.


The first park at this site opened in 1847 as Reservoir Square. It was named after its neighbor, the Croton Distributing Reservoir. In 1853, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations took place in the park. The square was used for military drills during the American Civil War. In 1884, Reservoir Square was renamed Bryant Park, to honor the New York Evening Post editor and abolitionist William Cullen Bryant. In 1899, the Reservoir structure was removed and construction of the New York Public Library building began. Terrace gardens, public facilities, and kiosks were added to the park.


Bryant Park is located in Midtown Manhattan between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. The Main Branch of the New York Public Library forms the park’s functional eastern boundary. Bryant Park is located entirely over an underground structure that houses the library’s stacks, which were built in the 1980s when the park was closed to the public and excavated; the new library facilities were built below ground level while the park was restored above it. Since 1980, the park is managed by the private not-for-profit corporation Bryant Park Corporation.


Numerous events are hosted on the Great Lawn at Bryant Park, for example the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival and free musical performances. The park has a chess concession at the west end that offers chess boards and lessons. There is also a court for practitioners of the French game Pétanque, and two ping pong tables. Also popular are free classes in juggling, yoga, tai chi and knitting. Since its restoration, Bryant Park has become a favored setting for movies, like Ghostbusters (1984) or Sex and the city (2008). In December, you can go to The Holiday Shops, modeled on Europe’s Christkindlmarkt, and buy crafts and commercial merchandise from vendors. In Winter, there is also a free-admission ice skating rink that instantly became a fixture in the Manhattan holiday scene.


For me, it was a great place to relax before walking around Times Square and visiting the beautiful New York Publish Library. I recommend to buy your lunch nearby and to eat in the park laying on the grass as many real New Yorkers do it during their lunch break.


Cabarete (Dominican Republic)

Cabarete is a village on the North coast of the Dominican Republic. It was founded in 1835 by Zephaniah Kingsley and his mixed-race family (he practiced polygamy and married four black women), and 53 slaves he freed from his Florida plantations.

In 1984, a Canadian wind surfer discovered Cabarete as an exceptional hot spot for wind surfing. Subsequently, the outstanding surf conditions of the bay of the until that unimportant fishing village was promoted in surfer magazines in Canada and the USA, and today, Cabarete is one of the most popular surfer beaches in the world for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

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Louise Lecavalier – Ikon of contemporary dance

Impressing and outstanding. Different and unique. Particular and herself. These are some words that come in my mind when I think of Louise Lecavalier who I was honored to see dancing on Friday night in the European Center of Arts Dresden „Hellerau“. How can a person have so much energy, express her story by an incomparable sharing dance and amaze me so much, that I was not able to close my mouth during her 65 minutes of dance?


How did she do that? No, she did not change her clothes all 10 minutes from rocker to sexy to colorful. She didn’t use props or songs that everybody knows. No. What she did was dancing her own choreography with a story that was easy to understand only when you are able to forget everything you know from show dance where music, costumes and smiling or sad faces reveal very clearly the story. Forget about all that and watch her dancing. Look at the scene: a square dance flooring which spends very clear borders which are crossed by the dancers from time to time with no caution and no hurry, just very naturally. And then you see the high wall at the and of the square flooring. But Battleground doesn’t care about walls. The two dancers use it as a very normal part of the stage and roll themselves over the floor using the wall as a welcome and simple part during their move.

Dance Company : Fou Glorieux Title english : BATTLEGROUND Titre français: Mille Batailles Choreographer : Louise Lcavalier Dancers: Louise Lecavalier & Rob AbuboPhoto: André Cornellier

Dance Company : Fou Glorieux Title english : BATTLEGROUND Titre français: Mille Batailles Choreographer : Louise Lcavalier Dancers: Louise Lecavalier & Rob AbuboPhoto: André Cornellier

What I liked very much was the simple clothes of the three artists: the dancers Louise Lecavalier and Robert Abubo and the live DJ Antoine Berthiaume wore black. That helps to focus on the choreography, the incredible and fantastic light design show by Alain Lortie and great beat of the contemporary electronic live music – I should mention that Lecavalier’s dance company Fou glorieux (glorious madman) comes from Montreal – a capital for contemporary and nonstandard music. Montreal is a colorful, wild and open city with a very innovating art scene – and it is hometown and home of Louise Lecavalier.

Battleground_MilleBatailles_Katja Illner_1Photo: Katja Illner

Who is Louise Lecavalier? What should surprise everybody who saw her dancing is the fact that she was born in 1958. She grew up in Montreal in the Canadian Province Quebec. At the age of 15, she decided to become a dancer and became three years later part of the company Groupe Nouvelle Aire where she met the choreographer Édouard Lock. In 1981, they founded La La La Human Steps, travelled around the world with this dance company and became very popular. In 1990, Lecavalier played the leading female part in David Bowie’s music video Fame. In 2010, she was awarded the Order of Canada. Her first dance choreography So blue premiered in 2012 in Düsseldorf (Germany).  Battleground premiered this month in the same city and was inspired by Italo Calvino’s Il cavaliere inesistente (1959; The Nonexisting Knight). She still lives with her family in Montreal. As Montréalaise, she speaks French and English, but has also very good other language skills as for example in German.

Battleground_Mille_Batailles_Katja_Illner_5Photo: Katja Illner

Dance Company : Fou Glorieux Title english : BATTLEGROUND Titre français: Mille Batailles Choreographer : Louise Lcavalier Dancers: Louise Lecavalier & Rob AbuboPhoto: André Cornellier

Photo: André CornellierPhoto: André Cornellier

I was impressed by the dance style that was a bit provocative, but choreographed also with a lot of love for detail. The relationship between the two dancers is not comparable to anything else I have already seen: there was no forced romantic, no touches all along. They were a great team and developed romance in the respectful behavior towards each other. In the first quarter or third of the dance, Louise Lecavalier danced by herself. Then, Robert Abubo walked on her side in the square dance floor. Moves she had danced alone in the first part were later repeated together in a slightly amended version – it was wonderful to see that. One of my favorite parts was the farewell scene in the last five minutes which was still part of the dance; the dancers danced modified bows and imitated the coming backs on the stage – bowing – leaving – coming back – bowing etc. tradition – what I liked is that they did not dance it in a satirical comedian, but rather in a reflecting and unemotional way. I recommend everybody to watch a Louise Lecavalier choreography. It inspires you to break up with ordinariness.

Dance Company : Fou Glorieux Title english : BATTLEGROUND Titre français: Mille Batailles Choreographer : Louise Lcavalier Dancers: Louise Lecavalier & Rob AbuboPhoto: André Cornellier

Many thanks to the Government Representative Office of Québec and the European Center of Arts Dresden „Hellerau“ for the invitation to that wonderful evening with the artists Louise Lecavalier, Robert Abubo and Antoine Berthiaume.

(Titelfoto: Louise Lecavalier | ©André Cornellier)