DOCUMENTA KASSEL 16/06-23/09 2007

Education, Migration, Exclusion

A command of the German language is becoming an increasingly important key to participation in society. This is accompanied by calls for monolingualism, which go hand-in-hand with substantial pressures for social conformity. This process begins in early childhood and continues at school. The schools can thus be exclusionary, particularly for children from migrant families, since their monolingual organisation fails to acknowledge and indeed systematically devalues other (linguistic) competencies, skills and specific knowledge.

This tendency is further intensified at the universities: the pressures of competition are increasingly forcing institutions and their actors to prove their excellence. These rising demands, however, coexist with a growing number of young people who find themselves prematurely excluded from the educational system.

In Kassel’s Nordstadt district one can observe this coexistence of disparate educational worlds in exemplary fashion: while the university campus is engaged in high-level research and training the next generation of scholars, in the immediate vicinity the Schlachthof cultural centre offers literacy, German language and so-called integration courses for immigrants. Right next door, a large vocational school from the 1970s serves as a glorified holding centre for young people whose lack of qualifications leaves them little or no chance on the labour market.

The advisory board plans to take this socio-spatial situation as the jumping-off point for a series of events, which will be organised during documenta 12 together with local educational institutions and mediators from the documenta 12 team. An ‘education island’ will be installed on the central square between the university, the vocational school and the Schlachthof cultural centre, offering a site for discussions of the topics of education, migration and exclusion.


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