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Dr. Friederike Schäfer

Friederike Schäfer
Image Credit: EXC 2020

Research-Track Postdoc, Research Area 2

Academic Coordinator, Research Area 2: Travelling Matters

Freie Universität Berlin
EXC 2020 Temporal Communities
Otto-von-Simson-Straße 15
14195 Berlin

Friederike Schäfer is an art historian and occasionally pursues cultural/curatorial projects. She studied art history and North American studies (with culture and sociology as majors) at Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Washington, Seattle. From 2013 to 2017, she was a Doctoral Fellow in the project "Mobile Spaces" of the EXC Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Humboldt-University of Berlin. Before joining Research Area 2 "Travelling Matters" of the EXC 2020 Temporal Communities in 2021, she was the Academic Associate for Media Art / Photography at Karlsruhe University for Arts and Design (HfG Karlsruhe). She further works as a lecturer and thesis advisor at the COOP Design Research – M.Sc. Program of Bauhaus Dessau and Anhalt University of Applied Sciences.

While working on her dissertation project Claiming Space(s). Locating Suzanne Harris’ Dance Practice and Ephemeral Installations within New York City in the 1970s at Humboldt-University of Berlin, Friederike Schäfer held several fellowships, such as at the Bard Graduate Center, NYC, the Canadian Center for Architecture, Montréal, and the Terra Summer Residency, Giverny, France. In 2021, she received a Terra Publication Grant to publish her doctoral thesis with De Gruyter.

Before that, Friederike Schäfer worked as curatorial and project assistant for international exhibitions, such as dOCUMENTA (13), KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin and the archive project re.act.feminism 2 - a performing archive, AdK Berlin. She also conceives collaborative research and exhibition projects (including for nGbK Berlin, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg) and is the co-founder of CoCooN Berlin, an initiative for the development and promotion of a sustainable and decentralised conservation policy for contemporary art and culture.

Current research includes an EXC 2020 post-doctoral research project, Earth(ly) Matters. How Exhibition Spaces Capture Natural Environments (Working Title) (2021-).

Papers and workshop contributions on the current research project "Earth(ly) Matters":

"The Making of the Anthropocene. Earth(ly) Matters in Exhibition Spaces", CIHA, 36th World Congress of Art History, Lyon, forthcoming, 24 June, 2024

Guest lecturer on "Ecology and Art History" in the seminar Research Methodologies in Visual Art by Prof. Parul Dave Mukherji, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 6 May, 2024 (online)

"Un-/Making the Anthropocene. Exhibitions as Discursive Spaces," Environmental Humanities working group, UC Berkeley, 23 April, 2024

"A brief traversal through scales that pertain to the Anthropocene—via 5 objects & 5 scenes", Workshop ‘Zeitenwende(n)’ – Tipping Points Of Our Times?, The Thematic Einstein Forum "Scales of Temporality", MATH+ FU Berlin, 31 March, 2023

Trans-Humanities Summer School 2022: The Ecological Imperative. Past and Contemporary Perspectives and Practices, Bern University, 12–16 September, 2022

Stanford-Leuphana Summer Academy Berlin: Scale, 20–24 Juni, 2022 (online participation due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Guest lecturer in the seminar Kunst und Klima, WS 2021/22, of Prof. Dr. Helga Lutz, Universität Bielefeld, 15 Dezember, 2021 (online)

Working Groups

Member of the "Netzwerk Naturwissen," Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (since 2022)
Project "Petrified Times: Energizing Past Futures"

Exhibition Ecologies
The newly founded Exhibition Ecologies Working Group researches ecologies in and through exhibitions. Its goal is the consolidation of exhibition studies that are focused on ecologies and environments in an international network. In 2024, the group is planning workshops and internal meetings.
Exhibition Ecologies is an initiative by Dr. Friederike Schäfer and Mateo Chacón Pino (Research Associate, documenta Institut | Art and Society, Universität Kassel).



An Anarchitectural Body of Work. Suzanne Harris and the Downtown New York Artists’ Community in the 1970s, De Gruyter, Berlin, 2023.

This publication has been made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Program of CAA.

Networks of Care. Politiken des (Er)haltens und (Ent)sorgens, nGbK Berlin, Berlin 2022. (Co-edited with Anna Schäffler, Nanne Buurman) (German/English)

10%. Concerning the Image Archive of a Nuclear Research Center, Spector Books, Leipzig 2021. (Co-edited with Susanne Kriemann, Klaus Nippert, Judith Milz) (Also available in German)

Metropolitan Views II. Berlin, Berlin. Kunstszenen 1989–2009, Deutscher Kunstverlag, München/Berlin 2010. (Co-edited with Conny Becker, Christina Landbrecht)

Metropolitan Views. Kunstszenen in Berlin und London, Deutscher Kunstverlag, München/Berlin 2008. (Co-edited with Conny Becker, Charlotte Klonk, Franziska Solte

Articles & Essays (Selection)

"Politiken des (Er)haltens und (Ent)sorgens. Editorische Notizen" (Co-author with Nanne Buurman, Anna Schäffler), in Networks of Care, Berlin 2022, S. 6-14.

"In-/Visibilities in Science Images. Regarding Representation Strategies of Nuclear Research in a Photo Archive," in: 10%. Concerning the Image Archive of a Nuclear Research Center,Spector Books, Leipzig 2021, S. 469-476.

"Raumaneignung als Raumproduktion/Claiming Space as Spatial Production," in: J. Becker, A. Schäffler, S. Sheikh (eds.), Glossar Urbane Praxis. Auf dem Weg zu einem Manifest, nGbK, Berlin 2021. S. 21-24/60-63.

"Brick by Brick, or If Stones Could Speak. Artistic Research Practices of a Working Group," in: Sebastian Baden (et al.), Mindbombs, Ausstellungskatalog, Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld/Berlin, 2021, S. 24-26. (Co-author with Susanne Kriemann)

"The Display as Afterlife. On the Reconstruction and Representation of Ephemeral Installations Through Contact Sheets," in: Shao Dazhen, Fan Di’an, Lao Zhu (eds.), Terms. Proceedings of the 34th World Congress of Art History 2016, Shāngwù Yìnshūguǎn/The Commercial Press Beijing 2019, S. 1811-1820.

"Space Beyond Architecture – Anarchitecture or Overcoming Walls," in: Sabine Hansmann (ed.), Raummaschine. Exploring Manifold Spaces, jovis, Berlin 2019, S. 53-57.

"On the Consolidation of the Ephemeral: Ulrike Mohr's Cube Contiguous to the Tauber," in: Ulrike Mohr (ed.), Anthrakotek Vol. 2, The Greenbox, Berlin 2019, S. 11-13.

"Film als performatives Dokument: Über eine mögliche Rekonstruktion der ephemeren Installationen von Suzanne Harris," in: Akademie der Künste (ed.) Skulptur als Film? (Conference proceedings), Kettler, Dortmund 2016, S. 108-120.

"Lampe/Lamp" (Co-author with Christina Landbrecht), in: Susanne Kriemann (ed.), (P)ech (B)lende. Library for Radioactive Afterlife, Spector Books, Leipzig 2016, S. 49-63.

"Über das Schwarm-Prinzip. Ein Forschungs- und Ausstellungsprojekt" (Co-author with Anna Schäffler), in: Isabelle Busch, Franziska Solte (eds.), Is This Where It Ends? Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof 2011-15, Textem, Hamburg 2016, unpaginated

"Raumproduktion zwischen Aktivismus und Instrumentalisierung. Zwischennutzung in den Berliner Kunstszenen," in: Metropolitan Views. Berlin, Berlin. Kunstszenen 1989-2009, Deutscher Kunstverlag, München/Berlin 2010, S. 71-82.

"Fachbereich Physik. Henning Larsen," in: Martina Schilling (ed.): Campus FU Berlin – Die Bauten der Freien Universität, Verlagshaus Braun, Berlin 2010, S. 90-93.

"Paradoxon Galerie. Ausstellungsräume als Synthese von Exklusivität und Alternativität," in: Metropolitan Views. Kunstszenen in Berlin und London, Deutscher Kunstverlag, München/Berlin 2008, S.99-109.

Online & Media

Open Educational Resource on the term "Anthropocene" (in German), Hamburg Open Online University, "Material Networks," December 2023. https://blogs.hoou.de/materialnetworks/category/begriffe/

UMBAU. HfG Online Journal, #1, Dezember 2021. https://umbau.hfg-karlsruhe.de (Editorial Team Issue 1, with Ariana Dongus, Katharina Weinstock)

"Political Bodies. Editorial" (Co-author Ariana Dongus), in: UMBAU. HfG Online Journal, #1, Dezember 2021. https://umbau.hfg-karlsruhe.de/posts/political-bodies


"The Venice Biennale 2015. Exhibition Review," in: Journal of Curatorial Studies, Fall 2015, Vol. 4/Nr. 3, S. 477-481.

"Venezia To Be Or Not. Exhibition Review," in: Public, Fall 2013, Vol. 48, S. 159-162.

"Review of Beyond the White Cube? Ausstellungsarchitektur, Raumgestaltung und Inszenierung heute" in: Journal of Curatorial Studies, June 2012, Vol.1/Issue2, S. 257-262.

Editing & Copyediting (Selection)

"Wann/Was. Die Vielleicht Vermittlung und andere Programme der dOCUMENTA (13)," documenta und Fridericianum Veranstaltungs-GmbH, Kassel 2012.

"Alte Hasen. René Block im Gespräch mit Gabriele Knapstein. Gesprächsreihe KW Institute for Contemporary Art," Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln 2011. (with Valeska Schneider)

"Renata Lucas. Ernst Schering Foundation Art Award," argobooks, Berlin 2010. (with Martina Schrammek and Franziska Solte)

"Dor Guez. Al-Lydd," DISTANZ Verlag, Berlin 2010. (with Franziska Solte)