The Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg) is an inter- and transdisciplinary research and teaching institution at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Bern. It provides the infrastructure for the systematic promotion of and initiation of networking among young scholars. Furthermore, it supports cooperation between faculties and universities.
The Kolleg is named after Walter Benjamin (1892-1940). The philosopher studied at the University of Bern where he in 1919 graduated with a thesis titled “Begriff der Kunstkritik in der deutschen Romantik” [The Concept of Art Criticism in German Romanticism]. The name of the research institution founded in 2015 and ceremonially inaugurated on April 26 of 2016 stands for Benjamin’s concept of a creative combination of different disciplinary approaches in the humanities.
The WBKolleg comprises three types of institutions:
- the two research centers Center for Global Studies (CGS) and the Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS)
- the Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Network with the Graduate School of the Humanities
- the Research Forum as a "Market Place of Ideas"
In addition to the mission statement of the University of Bern the WBKolleg is understood as an inter- and transdisciplinary research institution. It provides structures for systematic support of postgraduates and encourages cooperation between faculties and universities.
The overall focus lies on young academics. Therefore, the Kolleg offers high-quality programs at bachelor, master and doctorate levels including needs-based support as well as national and international networking. For all of this, Walter Benjamin’s creative approach of combining different disciplinary strands within the humanities serves as a guideline. Innovation, interdisciplinarity and initiative are encouraged. Moreover, the Kolleg enhances the communication of members and employees with each other, especially informal scientific exchange.
The Kolleg is a learning institution which turns challenges into opportunities in order to identify new requirements and to improve its actions as well as its offers. In order to do so, it uses quality management.