Since 2005, the Long Night of Research (Lange Nacht der Forschung – LNF) has provided an Austria-wide opportunity to introduce a broad audience of all ages to research fields and institutions while also providing insight into current research projects. This free-admission event, which takes place every two years, includes interactive and artistic formats that facilitate direct exchange between the world of research and society at large, spreading general awareness and knowledge. And in the mdw’s case, the artistic aspects are front and centre.
The mdw has participated in the LNF since 2016, making a larger contribution each time around: 2016 saw Peter Tschmuck take to the LNF’s lecture stage on Heldenplatz with a talk on The Revolutions of the Music Industry that included musical examples and an interactive quiz. Tschmuck painted a clear picture of the relationship between technological, economic, and aesthetic processes and innovations using the US music industry between 1921 and 2014 as an example.
In 2018, the mdw appeared on the Freyung in Vienna’s 1st district to show a selection of several projects as part of that year’s “research trail”: the mdw Archive was represented with excerpts from its jubilee exhibition Changing mdw 1, Film Academy Vienna showed selections from its oral history project FilmemacherInnen fragen FilmemacherInnen [Filmmakers Ask Filmmakers] 2, and the trio Sa.Ha.Ra. 3 (consisting of Andreas Schreiber, Habib Samandi, and Harald Huber) joined forces with singer Basma Jabr to take the audience on a transcultural musical journey across the Mediterranean Sea.
The Long Night of Research, 2020: Digital Transformation
Had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred, 8 May 2020 would have seen the mdw take part in the LNF for the third time.
The plan for this year had been to open the University’s doors to the LFN audience for the first time, giving visitors the opportunity to get to know the mdw’s exil.arte Center in keeping with the simultaneous 8 May Liberation Day celebrations (see the Interview with Gerold Gruber in mdw Magazine, #1/2020, see mdw.ac.at/magazin). Furthermore, commitments from several projects had been secured for the mdw’s presence at the “Aula der Wissenschaften”, a location with fair stands and a stage set up by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research. It’s a funny coincidence that the planned theme of LNF2020 was Digital Transformation—for indeed, that’s just what ended up happening: first cancelled and then postponed until autumn, this originally in-person event was ultimately transformed into an exclusively digital format. The various contributions to LNF2020 will be available online between 9 October and the end of this year (langenachtderforschung.at).
The present year has confronted all of us with new and unexpected challenges and required great improvisational talent, flexibility, and willingness to learn. And it’s clearly shown just what all is possible in digital formats when we’re forced to remain at a distance from one another. Thanks to its online format, the Long Night of Research will now be accessible to even more people than before. And one can only hope that on 23 April 2021, it will be once again possible to visit the LNF in person and come into contact with colleagues.
You’ll find further information on the mdw’s contributions as well as on the programme of LNF2021 at the website of the Office of Research Support: mdw.ac.at/forschungsfoerderung