The Silent University is a platform for knowledge exchange initiated by artist Ahmet Ã–gÃ¼t during a year-long residency at Tate in partnership with Delfina Foundation. It has recently been set up in Stockholm and there are plans to develop other offices in European cities. The university is led by a group of lecturers, consultants and research fellows. Each group contributes to the programme in different ways which include course building, specific research on key themes, as well as personal reflections on what it means to be a refugee or asylum seeker. In each case the Silent University uses the hosting institution and its resources to bring together users.
A series of weekly workshops have taken place, with a group of participants that have had a variety of asylum, migrant, and refugee experiences. In particular the project has involved those that have had a professional life and academic training in their home countries, but are now unable to use their skills or professional training in their new home due to a variety of reasons related to their status.
To address and reactivate the knowledge of the participants and make the exchange process mutually beneficial by inventing alternative currencies, in place of money or free voluntary service. The Silent Universityâ€™s aim is to challenge the idea of silence as a passive state, and explore its powerful potential through
performance, writing, and group reflection. These explorations attempt to make apparent the systemic failure and the loss of skills and knowledge experienced through the silencing process of people seeking asylum.
The participants were connected with their former academic level and through the workshops improved their skills.