Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour

Isabel Kohlhagen: Fiddler Crab

The Merz Akademie cooperated with the Centre of Excellence Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behavior at the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior to investigate artistic approaches to the presentation of scientific data. The focus was on the visualization of and artistic experimentation with data. The basis were movement recordings of different animal species, e.g. data of crabs, fish or bird flocks, which were provided by the researchers.

The collaboration began with a meeting between Hemal Naik and Maren Schmohl, rector at that time, in India. Naik suggested the idea of collaborating with art institutes or artists in order to create sustainable outreach programmes for science communication. Naik and Frohnmayer, scientific assistant in study area New Media, decided to work together and organized three courses between 2019 and 2020 to test the feasibility of such collaborations. Since then, the cooperation has continued in regular semester projects.

New Media students visit the Max Planck Institute in Konstanz. Photo: Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour of University of Konstanz

Campus Gegenwart

CAMPUS GEGENWART is a center for networking in practice and reflection. The Centre is part of the State University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart, and functions in cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart and Merz Akademie. CAMPUS GEGENWART focusses on integrating current topics and artistic practices into everyday university life, which is often characterized by a focus on specialization in each subject.

In the field of teaching, the CAMPUS GEGENWART team cooperate with colleagues from both universities to initiate the opening up of previously fixed boundaries between disciplines. This gives students the opportunity to study beyond the borders of their own subjects and to integrate influences from other fields of study into their own discipline. The planned Master’s Degree Program in Performance Studies combines artistic work and research, placed at the heart of experimental and transdisciplinary practice.

House for Film and Media

© Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, Wien

In May 2011, an initiative was founded that strives for a new communal, publicly funded cinema in Stuttart that is also a space for debate of current film and media practice and discourse. The founding members are the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, Filmbüro Baden-Württemberg, Film Commission Region Stuttgart, Forum der Kulturen, Haus des Dokumentarfilms, Landesverband Kommunale Kinos Baden-Württemberg, Linden-Museum, Merz Akademie – Hochschule für Gestaltung, Kunst und Medien, Stadtteilkino Stuttgart, Stuttgarter Jugendhaus, VHS Stuttgart and Wand 5. In the meantime, the association Haus für Film und Medien Stuttgart e.V. consists of 24 members.

On 5 March 2020, Stuttgart’s municipal council cleared the way for the future House for Film and Media Stuttgart with a resolution in principle, which was initiated by the First Mayor Dr. Fabian Mayer. The house will be a new building on the current site of the Breuninger multi-storey car park, centrally located next to the Leonhardskirche. The city of Stuttgart is holding a Europe-wide architectural competition from June 2021 to February 2022, the winning design by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (DMAA), Vienna with Wenzel+Wenzel GmbH, Karlsruhe was selected unanimously. The building is scheduled for completion in 2027.

International Networks

Exhibition "Processing Spaces-Times"

Since summer 2020, the Merz Akademie has been a member of the Cumulus Association, the international network of design universities. Cumulus has over 350 members from 61 countries. The aim of the network is to establish and promote a dynamic and flexible academic forum that brings together design-oriented educational institutions from around the world. Cumulus not only works with institutions and organizations in the arts, design and media. It is also important to promote cooperation with industry and business.

For many years, the Merz Akademie has also been an active member of ELIA (European League of Institutes of the Arts), the European network of art schools. With 250 member institutions, ELIA is one of the largest international networks for design colleges, art academies and universities. ELIA represents about 300,000 students in 47 countries.

SMZ Stuttgart

The Merz Akademie cooperates with the Stadtmedienzentrum and the ComputerSpielSchule Stuttgart on events and workshops. Students of the Merz Akademie also have access to media and equipment rental.

Public Library is a series of events about net culture organized by the public library of Stuttgart, presenting current positions on net art and net culture for discussion. New Media professor Olia Lialina regularly invites artists and theoreticians to the public library.


(from left) Andrea Spieth, Kinder- und Jugendhaus, Dejan Simonović, Stadtmedienzentrum, Andreas Pohl, AKI, Isabel Huber, MoMO contact person, Martin Fritz, Merz Akademie, Iris Loos, vhs

“Mobile Medienschule Stuttgart Ost (MoMO)”

There is a great demand for educational opportunities in the fields of film, media and digital cultures. Children and teenagers should learn an active and critically-reflected way of dealing with each other, which gives them opportunities to access and shape their lives. However, despite a large number of individual initiatives, there are still too few regular contact points. With the initiative “Mobile Medien Schule Stuttgart Ost” (MoMO), Aktivspielplatz Raitelsberg e.V., Stadtmedienzentrum Stuttgart (SMZ), Kinder- und Jugendhaus Ostend, Freies Radio Stuttgart and Merz Akademie, supported by vhs stuttgart, are pooling their skills, resources and infrastructures and from 17 October 2019 will be offering regular, open and free media education courses on topics such as film, web, social media, software and hardware for children and young people between the ages of 8 and 16.

“The linchpin of all offers is the immediate urban neighbourhood. In this way, the direct surroundings of schools and the neighbourhood can be used as a creative ‘playground’. The familiar surroundings offer security and at the same time provide the creative potential to be rediscovered and viewed from a different angle,” explains Martin Fritz, Rector of the Merz Akademie at that time and co-initiator of the MoMO, explaining the idea.

Hans-Jürgen Rotter, director of the SMZ, adds: “The children and young people can work together on short-term as well as long-term and interdisciplinary projects and contribute their own topics and ideas. We use the synergies and spatial proximity of all participating institutions to locate an unusually dense, accessible and attractive media education offering in the district”.


Prof. Peter Ott stellt das Projekt "100 Sekunden Kunst" beim SWR Doku Festival 2018 vor

Stories about important pieces of art from museums and the public space of the Southwest, such as the Triadic Ballet by Oskar Schlemmer, told in a new way: accessible, appealing, off-beat and all this in less than two minutes – that is the idea of “100 seconds of art”. Students of the Merz Akademie worked with the “Kunscht!” editorial staff of SWR and created videos that open up a fresh perspective. The project was supervised by Jana Gührer and Steffen König from the “Kunscht!” editorial office and by film and video professor Peter Ott.

The short films were shown on television from November 2018 to March 2020 at the end of the weekly SWR culture magazine “Kunscht!” on SWR television. In total, more than 30 clips were shown one after the other each week on television and, among other things, on the SWR2 website and Facebook page.

The Merz Akademie also regularly presents short films and panels at the SWR Doku Festival.


The Merz Akademie regularly collaborates with the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart for symposiums and events. In November 2017, Martin Fritz was elected as Chairman of the Board of the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart.