Looking back on a hybrid Hybrid-year

©Rene Arnold

©Rene Arnold

We are also taking a bit of a summer break, as we do every year. The Covid-19 pandemic has us all also forces in 
winter semester 2020/2021 and summer semester 2021, to live the new digital normality. Nonetheless, before we get to some completely far-from-digital thinking, let's look back on another year filled with digital impressions: 

After a summer 2020 that gave hope for a winter semester in presence, those hopes were almost completely eliminated early in the semester due to rising incidences. At least we were able to welcome the speakers of the 40th Hybrid Talks on the topic of "Transparency" in persona in the Hybrid Lab on a small scale and in compliance with hygiene and distance rules. The first talks of the semester were not only the first we broadcast live ourselves, they were also part of the Berlin Science Week 2020. Moreover, they have been watched over 260 times so far - thanks to digitality - and have thus reached about four times more people than past Hybrid Talks. 

In December, another hybrid highlight followed. The third Hybrid Futures, which has now been streamed over 7,000 times, once again took place in cooperation with the Futurium. An exciting evening that reflected the joint work of the biotechnologist and artist and the architect through the discussions and speculations of the two guests, Vera Meyer and Sven Pfeiffer

The first Hybrid Talks, the 41st, followed immediately in January, which could only take place digitally, but this in no way diminished the quality and information content of the "Nature" evening. Also the following exchange in the virtual room Wonder gave the usual possibility to enter into the dialogue after the Talks. This virtual networking was so successful that it even became the birth of new cooperation projects. 

In February, together with the Falling Walls Foundation and the Chemical Invention Factory (CIF), we tried a new event format: the "Hybrid Challenge". Together, we challenged Followers from our networks to take on two specific green chemistry challenges, describe and communicate their potential uses. The teams work on the challenge virtually, exchanging ideas with other science engagers from around the world, and learn a lot about creative communication approaches and perspectives. 

The post-dramatic play Dancing at the Edge of the World by REPLICA and their collaborators was performed online in late March 2021. The piece was developed at the UdK's Berlin Open Lab after a research phase since fall 2020. The extraordinary livestream performance in March was followed by a Q&A with the artists*, designers* and scientists* involved in the development. Many exciting questions and discussion approaches also came out of the live chat.

Despite the limitations, the Hybrid Platform looks back on an exciting digital event year, which would have been crowned by the 42nd Hybrid Talks, which finally would have taken place in presence again - live in the Hofgarten of the UdK. This time it was not Corona, but the continuous rain that got in the way of a real meeting and forced us to postpone the Hybrid Talks on the topic of "Cohesion". We are looking forward to it next year. 

But not only on the event side a lot has happened in the past year, also a number of research and teaching formats have taken place in cooperation or through the support of the Hybrid Platform. In the winter semester, for example, the inter-university and interdisciplinary master's program "Design & Computation" of the UdK and the TU Berlin, which had been planned from the beginning, was launched. 20 students from a wide range of disciplines have gone through an exciting time in which they apply multi-layered knowledge in creative practical formats. For the next start term there was already a huge rush with several hundred applications, which was reduced with a lot of effort to only a small, selected group. The topic obviously meets the spirit of the times and a need for knowledge!  

Since October, the workshop "Science Almighty", initiated by the Hybrid Platform together with Prof. Timothée Ingen-Housz, focuses on how scientists* can communicate their research differently. Here, storytelling techniques are used to develop new narratives. 

In October, the workshop "Working between science, technology, art and society", led by Nina Horstmann from the Hybrid Platform and Emilia Nagy from the ZTG, took place for the fourth time - but this time virtually for the first time. The workshop was also held for RWTH Aachen University, as a research college here was looking for targeted knowledge building. The results and impressions of the past four years were also summarized by Nina Horstmann and Emilias Nagy for the symposium at TU Berlin "Transdisciplinarity as an institutional challenge for universities" on June 15 & 16, 2021 and in an article on ShapeID

For the "Voices of Culture" initiative, which is developing proposals for the EU Commission, Nina Horstmann from the Hybrid Platform contributed to the group on sustainability and culture. In a two-day workshop, the selected participants* from the EU developed proposals and then elaborated them over several months before presenting the results to the Commission. 

Together with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Hybrid Platform was an input provider at the course "From Societal Impact Strategy to Implementation and Execution" of the Network for Advancing and Evaluating the Societal Impact of Science (AESIS Network). Alexandra Graupern (Vienna) and Nina Horstmann (Berlin) together gave a virtual workshop on effectiveness in arts-science collaborations, which was an occasion to reflect again on methods and approaches. This topic will be further worked on together in the future. 

The time was also used by Nina Horstmann to write an article on "Art and Science" for the handbook Transdisciplinary Didactics. This will be presented on September 9, 2021, in the course of a symposium at the TU Berlin, parts of which can also be followed online. 

As always, we have also published all the small and big events, projects, ideas, reviews and guest contributions for you over the year under the category "News" - we will publish new news, events and projects of the Hybrid Platform again from the end of September. Until then, we wish you all a fantastic summer!