What is the Silent University Ruhr ?

The Silent University Ruhr is an independent platform for sharing and exchanging knowledge for immigrants, especially refugees and asylum seekers. These Refugees who migrate to Germany cannot exercise their knowledge, skills and abilities because their papers are often not recognized or allowed to function within the system.

The Silent University Ruhr is a performing art since it provides a stage for the re-enactment of different facets of life of immigrants; their past experiences, their cultural heritage, their educational knowledge and so on. Often these experiences remain excluded, in the past of their former life, before their flight. They are now not allowed anymore to officially practice their profession because of the resulting social status as refugees. In the Silent University we reanactent the lost (professional) identities of the persons, they teach as before their flight in their mother tongue. We are convinced that life itself is a stage and all daily activities of human beings can be brought on that stage that we provide.

The initiative of the Silent University founded in 2012, by the Kurdish artist Ahmet Öğüt who became aware of the fate of refugees and asylum seekers with an academic background has as objective to put an end to the enforced silence of these refugees.

The Silent University that was initiated in London now has sister universities in Stockholm, Hamburg, Berlin and Mülheim an der Ruhr. The objective of the Silent University is to enable the exchange of knowledge by encouraging members to hold lectures, give workshops, and do artistic exhibitions. The SUR creates an exchange platform between migrants and the German society but also among migrants. The Silent University therefore is a good vehicle towards integration into the German sociocultural arena which gives these migrants hopes & dreams for the future.

The Knowledge Exchange area

The knowledge exchange section organizes and gives opportunity for migrants to share their experiential and professional knowledge. This forum that serves as a platform for the reenactment of knowledge, is open to members of the public in all disciplines; from the very basic works of art to the very highly academic. Illustratively, we have had presentations on water painting and from a medical professional. This is a very important wing of the SUR because it helps boost immigrants’ confidence and demonstrates that they have something to bring to the host community. Like the other units the exchange platform creates a network between migrants and the rest of their community. Finally, it shows that different cultures have different ways of performing arts, and other forms of knowledge.

Information and Counseling service

This counseling service is open to the public and has the advantage that it operates in four languages: Pidgin English, English, French, German. A Silent University worker sits in the vier.zentrale and answers questions, gives advice, and gives directives to members of the public who come in with questions. For example migrants from different countries and nationalities are given information on German laws/policies, issues on migration, economic activities, social/educational issues.

The translation & interpretation unit

We accept and encourage the re-enactment & communication of different languages and cultures.

The Silent University Ruhr believes that language should not be a barrier to people’s abilities, which is why all SUR activities are translated into at least three world languages. To manage our translation services, we have organized a pool of translators, who work with us regularly and are part of the SUR. As a further training we also plan to organize training workshops and refresher courses for translators and interpreters.

Gender and Empowerment section

This sector is made up of an Intercultural Academic Women Empowerment Network (W.E.I.N) & the Intercultural Mens’ Matrix. The Silent University Ruhr has dedicated itself to acculturation, enlightenment, and empowerment of immigrant women & men. The SUR gender section encourages intergender activities that makes it possible for men and women to work together.

We have created a network between women and men from different educational, cultural, professional and social backgrounds. Men and women are able to share ideas and seek common solutions to common and specific gender problems. This initiative that involves diverse groups of members in the SUR projects, helps improve the socio- economic situation of members through practical assistance. It provides a common platform for immigrant women and men to integrate themselves more into the socio-economic life of Mülheim an der Ruhr. Members connect with each other, share ideas, experiences, on how to achieve their migratory dreams in Germany.

Networking & Event Management (Spread the wor(l)d)

We encourage networking because we believe that it is through this that we can sell our convictions and reach out to as many people as possible. Here we organized visits to other groups and associations in neighboring cities such as Essen, Duisburg, Dortmund where we meet groups to talk on different themes. We have also taken part in international programs such as our visit to Rome and Matera where we were part of a program on how migrants and refugees can improve their educational facilities via better networking with other groups and associations. We have an online forum for our members where we reach out to diverse men and women.

The sector for Artistic & Intercultural exchange

In this sector we encourage the exchange of artistic and cultural diversity by having expositions of multicultural works of art, traditional artistic techniques and learning the history of different cultures by sharing artistic traditions and knowledge. The SUR provides this forum for artistic & cultural exchanges by hosting different activities held by diverse artists, which also involves our members in artistic ventures.

Specific activities carried out so far

  • Workshops
  • Presentations
  • Discussion forums
  • Training programs
  • Intercultural exchanges
  • Networking Programs
  • Regularly meetings of Women & men groups
Polynice Ringlokschuppen Dezentrale 18 05 2018 8 Von 30, Copyright Björn Stork | polynice

Contact ​Silent University Ruhr​

Leineweberstr. 15–17
45468 Mülheim an der Ruhr
Opening times: Mon. and Wed. 10.00 to 13.00, Thursday 14.00 to 17.00
and on appointment


Tel.: 0208 - 993 16 73

Im Rahmen des Förderprogramms „Neue Wege“ wird die Silent University Ruhr vom Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen in Zusammenarbeit mit dem NRWKULTURsekretariat gefördert

Eine Koproduktion von