From October 2023, Claire will take up the position of Einstein Professor of “Choreography, Dance and Disability Arts” at the Inter-University Centre for Dance (HZT) in Berlin. As part of her professorship, Claire will teach and research at the HZT for an initial five years, starting with the winter semester 2023/24. She is the first artist to receive an Einstein Strategic Professorship.
The official press release reads:
In Berlin the internationally renowned artist will contribute and further develop her focus on the “Choreography of Care”, among other research areas. Cunningham uses and misuses her crutches as an extension of her dancing body, and the “Choreography of Care” is an artistic response to questions arising from her critical reflection on normativity. As Cunningham explains, this is about “practices of attention and observation, informed by the lived experience of disability and by crip, queer and feminist thinking”.
Claire Cunningham’s work at the HZT also involves the centre’s two supporting universities, the UdK Berlin and the HfS Ernst Busch, with the aim of developing inter- and transdisciplinary projects whose inclusive approach can be shared by other artistic degree programmes. As part of her Einstein Strategic Professorship, Claire will also collaborate with colleagues from other Berlin universities and cultural institutions.
“The opportunity to share the work, techniques and practices of disabled dance artists and choreographers with students, to place these lines in a prestigious European dance and arts institution and to support the education of disabled dancers and choreographers is a tremendously exciting task for me. I am looking forward to deepening my own research in a new constellation of colleagues and students in Berlin. In previous encounters with the HZT students, I have found their curiosity and desire to engage and learn beyond the studio to be truly encouraging, and their proactive approach to learning from a variety of experiences sets them apart from students I have met elsewhere,” Claire Cunningham
Prof. Nik Haffner, Artistic Director of the HZT, adds: “The appointment of choreographer Claire Cunningham as the Einstein Strategic Professor is a milestone for Berlin, both for the dance scene and for the research and university landscape; also because Claire Cunningham always sees her art as an exploration of social issues and as activism. The Einstein Strategic Professorship was able to emerge from the foundation built by the Berlin network “Making a Difference”, which has been promoting the independent work of disabled, d/Deaf and chronically ill artists in dance since 2018; the HZT has been one of the eight founding organisations of this network.”
The directors of the HZT’s two supporting universities also see the appointment as an outstanding contribution towards situating Berlin as a centre of artistic research and international cooperation for art and science.
Prof. Dr. Norbert Palz, President of the UdK Berlin: “Claire Cunningham’s appointment to the Einstein Strategic Professorship expands the artistic and scientific profile of the HZT to a relevant degree. Her interdisciplinary profile offers interesting institutional networking opportunities between the arts and sciences with a great radiance beyond Berlin.”
Anna Luise Kiss, Rector of the HfS Ernst Busch: “A lot has happened in terms of inclusion in the arts education at Berlin’s four artistic universities. The Einstein Strategic Professorship in ‘Choreography, Dance and Disability Arts’ is an ideal continuation of this development. The opportunity to experience Claire Cunningham’s work and to be able to learn from and collaborate with her is a great motivation and enrichment that will have an impact far beyond the HZT and its supporting universities; enrichingBerlin as a location for artistic education and research.”
With the Strategic Professorships, the Einstein Foundation Berlin supports the appointmentof top researchers from abroad who are of outstanding strategic importance for Berlin as a centre of science and research. For the first time, the Foundation is awarding the Einstein Strategic Professorship to an arts university. “Claire Cunningham’s willingness to come to Berlin is a distinction for our city, and we are pleased that we as the Einstein Foundation have been able to make a contribution,” says Chairman of the Board Prof. Martin Rennert.