FREIRAUM Freiraum (“Free Space”) is a project of the Goethe-Institut in collaboration with 53 actors in...


Freiraum (“Free Space”) is a project of the Goethe-Institut in collaboration with 53 actors in culture and the arts, the research community and civil society. Some 40 cities in Europe will be thrashing out these questions till March 2019: What does freedom mean in present-day Europe? Where is freedom at risk? How can we shore it up?

Paired European cities are developing projects about current social issues and are grappling with the concept of freedom, exchanging points of view and forging new networks. In case of the paired cities Copenhagen and Skopje the question is: How can a city ensure social diversity and harmonious coexistence? How is the scope of freedom in the public realm negotiated and altered over time?

​A robust civil society is the basis of a democratic and pluralistic community. In neighbouring countries and even right on our doorstep, we are suddenly resuming debates that many of us thought were over and done with. Institutions have a special responsibility here: to challenge supposed certainties and seek dialogue with one another – even where common ground is not self-evident.

The Goethe-Institut sees itself as an institution with a European mission. We advocate for a vision of European integration and a shared European cultural space based on cultural diversity and distinctiveness – and we are well aware of the crisis of that vision today. Not naïve enthusiasm, but the willingness to engage in productive dialogue should lead the way forwards.

Part of the project was presented on:

CRIC Festival for critical culture | 07.12.2018

Museum of Contemporary Art- Skopje

​​​19:00 – 19:45

​Skopje – Changing Ideals, Renegotiating Space, Copenhagen Architecture Festival (DK)

Video screening​

As part of the pan-European project Freiraum, initiated by the Goethe Institute to examine the state of freedom and agency in Europe, film by Copenhagen Architecture Festival team is underpinned by the question: How are democracy and identity renegotiated in the design and use of public space and cultural heritage in Skopje? Arriving from the very different context of Denmark’s capital Copenhagen and from the field of architecture, they are examining Skopje and the issue of freedom and agency from a spatial perspective. From the Greek agora to Lefebvre’s question of the right to the city, we know that the design, planning and use of public space and cultural heritage are always embedded in various discourses of politics, democracy, identity, culture and – indeed – freedom and agency. In Skopje, this seems particularly apparent and poignant. First, with the demolitions and modernist rebuilding after the tragic 1963 earthquake and subsequently during the historicist-nationalist makeover of Skopje 2014. Filming during the 30 September election, Copenhagen Architecture Festival team is among others investigating ongoing renegotiations of what to do about the new cultural layer of Skopje 2014 and the ambivalent relationship to the rest of Europe and the World, but also the everyday life experience of the city. Together with the Danish-Macedonian architect Daniel Serafimovski, who is familiar with both Skopje and Copenhagen, they are revisiting different cases of public spaces and cultural heritage through interviews with local experts, archival footage, on-site registrations and vox pops with citizens of Skopje, a city aspiring to become European Capital of Culture in 2028.  ​

20:00 – 20:45

​Nomadic Identities – wandering in the freedom within itself, Kontrapunkt-Skopje (MK)

Video screening ​

This short artistic documentary was filmed in Copenhagen. Through the stories of five protagonists who are originally from Macedonia, but their life destinies are connected to Copenhagen, it explores several issues very important for contemporary reading of the notion of freedom. In their meta-narrations, contextualized into a narration-voice and artistic approach of post production editing of the movie are posed several questions: How freedom is related to the place of residence?; when ambivalence and contradiction appears in the personal memories of the homeland and the new country of living?; in which way the new models of mobility, nomadic experiences, frequent travels, short term stays in other countries influences and shapes someone’s understanding of the concept of freedom?; where is the space of the transmigration groups and non-citizen classes, such as immigrants, economic migrants, exiles, refugees and illegal aliens?; how are the voluntary diasporic subjects and emigrant different from those whose lives have been mapped by exile and forced economic migration?; can we now speak of different kind of citizenship and belonging to the concrete space or country – flexible, diasporic, and nomadic? – insert video

20:45- 21:45

​FREIRAUM, Johannes Ebert (DE)

​Keynote lecture followed by a discussion with Signe Sophie Bøggild and Johannes Ebert, moderated by Elena Veljanovska – insert video

* Johannes Ebert has been Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut since 2012. He read Islamic Studies and Political Science in Freiburg and Damascus and thereafter worked as a journalist in Heilbronn. After periods as an instructor at the Goethe-Institut in Prien, as a language course consultant at the Goethe-Institut in Riga and as deputy head of the Public Relations division in the Munich head office, he was director of the Goethe-Institut Kiev from 1997 to 2002. From 2002 to 2007 he was director of the Goethe-Institut in Cairo and regional director for North Africa and the Middle East. Subsequently he served as director of the Goethe-Institut in Moscow and regional director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia from 2007 to 2012. In his work, Johannes Ebert focuses not only on advancing European collaboration and integration, but also on intensifying engagement in crisis-ridden regions and countries going through radical change, for example in Ukraine, North Africa and the Middle East. He is particularly dedicated to supporting refugees with cultural and educational projects in the neighbouring countries of Syria and in Germany. In addition, he has been campaigning for years for the expansion of digital offers in foreign cultural and educational policy, the introduction of global debates in Germany and the continual expansion of the worldwide network of the Goethe-Institut.


As part of the project the film “Five stories about the freedom” was made – insert video

Shared on: February 23, 2021 at 2:03 pm