School of Resistance

Debate series


The School of Resistance is a discourse format with experts on change from around the world: artists, activists, politicians and philosophers.


On 20 April 2020, the price of oil fell below zero for the first time in history. It was not the only world record caused by Covid-19. In only a few months a malicious virus succeeded in doing what worldwide protest marches and general strikes could not: slowing down our planet. Correction: slowing down all human activities on this planet. Suddenly we as a society remember the importance of “economy” as a way to support life and not to make profit at any price.


But how can we shape the future of our planet without falling back into old, destructive patterns? In order to solve the problems we face today and to find valuable alternatives for the future, the School of Resistance creates a platform of experts on change around the world: artists, activists, politicians and philosophers. The IIPM continues together with NT Gent its work on the contradictions of the global economy: using the means of activism and art, the aim is to create a blueprint for a politics of resistance. The debate series consists of a bi-weekly livestream and will be concluded with an event in February 2021 at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.




A project of IIPM and NTGent, in cooperation with Akademie der Künste, Berlin, medico international, Merve Verlag, European Alternatives, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, COINCIDENCIA – Kulturaustausch Schweiz-Südamerika and funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes.


Concept: Milo Rau, Eva-Maria Bertschy Director: Milo Rau Dramaturgy: Eline Banken, Kasia Wojcik Moderation: Lara Staal, Carmen Hornbostel, Eline Banken, Kasia Wojcik Stage design: Anton Lukas  PR/Communication: Nele Buyst, Yven Augustin Graphic design: Thomas Schoofs Technical management: Jens Baudisch Livestream: HowlRound Theatre Commons Production: Elisa Calosi, Eline Banken


>>> First Episode
Opening speech of Wiener Festwochen by Kay Sara
Followed by a debate with Tania Bruguera & Milo Rau, moderated by Lara Staal.


Opening speech of Wiener Festwochen by Kay Sara here and the  debate with Tania Bruguera & Milo Rau, moderated by Lara Staal here.


The online series School of Resistance starts off with a speech by the indigenous artist and activist Kay Sara. Her speech should have opened the Wiener Festwochen live on the stage of the Burgtheater Vienna. But Covid-19 decided differently and Kay Sara sends a video from the Amazon. Her message is clear: today’s turbo-capitalist system poses an irreversible threat to the Amazon, the planet’s green lung, and therefore has to be stopped. An accusation, an outcry, a wake-up call.


Following the speech, the Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera, the Swiss director Milo Rau, moderated by Dutch curator Lara Staal engage in a dialogue about forms of activism in the arts today. Another meeting that should have happened live during the Wiener Festwochen, but inevitably takes place from the artists’ homes instead.


Kay Sara, an indigenous artist and activist, grew up in the Brazilian state of Amazonas and is committed to the adequate representation of indigenous people and the preservation of their environment against the threat of mining companies and the agribusiness. She will play the role of Antigone in Milo Rau’s production of Sophocles’ Antigone in the Amazon.


Tania Bruguera is a Cuban performance artist and activist and uses her artistic work to examine political power structures and their effect on society’s most vulnerable people. Her work has been represented in leading collections of MoMA and Tate Modern among other places.


Milo Rau is director, author and the artistic director of NTGent (Belgium). Since 2002, he has created and published more than 50 stage plays, films, books and political interventions and has been rewarded with several honours and prices such as the European Theatre Prize in 2018.


The opening speech “This Madness Has to Stop” is realised in the context of and with the support of the Wiener Festwochen.


>>> Second Episode

Thursday, May 28

Live Online at 17:00 CET


Climate, economy and protest in the Global South

A dialogue with Vandana Shiva (India) and Vanessa Nakate (Uganda)

Hosts: Lara Staal & Milo Rau


With the world’s biggest polluters shutting down most of their industries and cutting back their use of fossil fuels, our carbon footprint has rapidly dropped by a significant amount. But whether or not the environment will eventually benefit from today’s crisis is anything but a certainty. Crucial climate conferences and negotiations that were to take place in the next coming months are being cancelled and the mantra of ‘economy first’ might replace climate concerns in the minds of the public and those in power. And what about these countries that benefit least from our fossil-fuel economies, but are already being affected by the disastrous effects of climate change today?


In the second episode of School of Resistance the Indian scholar and environmentalist Vandana Shiva will address together with Fridays For Future Uganda founder Vanessa Nakate the effects of climate change in the Global South and plead for an inclusive form of climate activism.


Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholar, anti-globalization author and environmental activist advocating for organic and ecological farming and the protection of biodiversity, seed sovereignty and social justice. In 1982, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy, investigating sustainable methods of agriculture.


Being the first Fridays For Future activist in Uganda and the founder of the Rise up Climate Movement, Vanessa Nakate seeks to amplify the voices of climate activists from across Africa. She also spearheaded a campaign to save Congo’s rain forest and is currently working on a project to install solar panels and stoves in schools.


The second episode “Make the World Habitable Again” is realised with the support of Bayrischer Rundfunk and Prohelvetia.


>>> Third Episode

Thursday, September 3

Live Online at 18:30 CET


Theatre in Emergency

A dialogue with Nora Chipaumire (USA) and Chantal Mouffe (UK)
Host: Kaatje De Geest


Confronted with the question ‘Why theatre?’, 100 activists, artists and intellectuals worldwide reflect on the current state of theatre and performance. Covering the genres of the utopian manifesto, the invented dialogue and the memoir, the book Why Theatre?, a project initiated by the city theatre of Ghent NTGent and the Berlin publisher Verbrecher Verlag, spans the rich diversity of the performing arts. Why is this art form so unique? So indispensable? Why theatre?


The fourth episode of School of Resistance starts off with the opening speech of the Dutch Theatre Festival by theatre director Milo Rau. Drawing from the 100 contributions that comprise the book Why Theatre?, Rau composes a global polyphony of voices and makes a strong case for theatre in emergency. Following the speech, the performance artist Nora Chipaumire and the political theorist Chantal Mouffe engage in a dialogue about their personal reflections on the state of the performing arts in 2020.


Nora Chipaumire is a choreographer and performer born in Zimbabwe and currently based in New York. With her work she challenges and embraces stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body. She is a Guggenheim fellow (2018) and three-time Bessie Award winner.


Chantal Mouffe is a Belgian political philosopher, especially known for her agonistic theory of democracy, currently teaching at the University of Westminster in London. She has held research positions at Harvard, Cornell, The New School, Princeton, the University of California at Irvine, the French National Centre for Scientific Research and the College International de Philosophie in Paris.


>>> Fourth Episode

Friday, September 25

Live Online at 18:00 CET



Building Transnational Futures

A dialogue with Ulrike Guérot (Germany) and Srećko Horvat (Croatia)
Host: Kasia Wojcik


The idea of Europe is in a state of emergency. Confronted with right-wing extremism, a severe economic crisis and humanitarian disasters at its borders, Europe as a concept of unity and peace is disintegrating. For years, the call for a deeper democratization has been voiced by progressive forces. A European Green New Deal, sea-rescue missions coordinated by transnational civil organizations, pan-European citizens assemblies: the catalogue of hope for new ways of structuring our post-nation society is manifold. But facing the catastrophe of climate change and an out-of-control economic order, time is running out: What may a truly transnational demos look like? What can be the role of the state? And what about its people, is s a global citizen’s identity worth pursuing, let alone achievable?


The fifth episode of School of Resistance will host the co-founder of DiEM25 and philosopher Srećko Horvat and the political scientist and founder of the European Democracy Lab Ulrike Guérot to speak about possibilities beyond the nation-state.


 Ulrike Guérot is a political scientist and publicist. She is a professor in her own department of European Politics and Democracy Research (DED) at the Donau University Krems, founder of the European Democracy Lab (EuDemLab) in Berlin and is concerned with the future of the European integration process.


Srećko Horvat is a philosopher, author and political activist. The German weekly Der Freitag called him as “one of the most exciting voices of his generation” and he has been described as a “fiery voice of dissent in the Post-Yugoslav landscape”. He is co-founder of the progressive movement DiEM25 and council member of the Progressive International.


>>> Fifth Episode

Monday, September 28

Live Online at 18:00 CET

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’20.



About segregation and cancel-culture

A conversation with Robert Pfaller (Austria) and Natascha Strobl (Austria)

Host: Milo Rau


Since 1989 the concept of identity has increasingly dominated and divided the ideological field in Central Europe. Natascha Strobl and Robert Pfaller talk about the paranoia of right-wing politics: How does the rhetoric of segregation, exclusion, victimization and self victimization work? They question the ineffectiveness of postmodern leftist identity politics in this antagonistic field and attempt to draw a panorama of the current cultural war in Europe based on the current debate on cancel-culture.


The discussion will be held in German.

With the kind support of the Swiss Embassy in Austria.



Robert Pfaller is a philosopher and cultural theorist and founding member of the Viennese psychoanalytic research group stuzzicadenti, which tries to combine clinical experience and cultural theory. Pfaller attracted international attention in 2000 with his studies on interpassivity and received recognition for the successful combination of psychoanalysis with other scientific disciplines.

Natascha Strobl is a political scientist and author. Her research focuses on right-wing extremism in Austria, in particular the Austrian Identitarian Movement and right-wing extremist student associations.