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uni'wissen 1-2013_ENG

Amonth in Priština, Kosovo, for an ongoing art project; a week in Osnabrück to prepare for an upcoming job; two weeks of research in Sofia, Bulgaria; an exhibition in Berlin; project meet­ ings in Stuttgart and Munich; a couple of days visiting friends in Frankfurt; the film festival at the Biennale in Venice, Italy; and then five months on a grant in Singapore: This is what the life of an artist can look like, juggling proposals and contracts, programs, and freelance work. Dr. Anna Lipphardt, junior professor in cultural stud­ ies at the University of Freiburg, examines itiner­ aries like this in great detail – mobility as a permanent condition is one of her research inter­ ests. Lipphardt studies people who aren’t just trying to get from A to B but whose daily lives consist of being on the road: In two projects she is investi­ gating various kinds of artists and small family­ run circuses. Previously, she wrote a dissertation on the migration of Jews from Vilnius, Lithuania, after the Holocaust. “In my new projects I want to study what mobility and being on the road are like when they are not connected with a catas­ trophe but are part of a regular lifestyle.” At Odds with the Official Narrative In April 2011 Lipphardt launched the research group “COME – Cultures of Mobility in Europe” at the Institute of European Ethnology of the Uni­ versity of Freiburg. Mobility research is currently in vogue; globalization and transnational net­ works attract attention. However, Lipphardt con­ siders her group’s approach to be at odds with the common, official narrative: Politicians, and also political scientists, tend to associate mobil­ ity with progress. “Occasionally you’ll hear a dis­ cussion on how to remove barriers to mobility, but the financial, social, and emotional costs of this lifestyle are not systematically included in the dialogue.” Lipphardt’s research group stud­ ies traveling street artists, “alternative travelers” that often live in mobile homes and the transat­ lantic networks of the Roma. The central ques­ Cultural studies professor Anna Lipphardt is investigating the consequences of long­ term mobility for performing artists A Life on the Road by Thomas Goebel 4