Bayreuther Stadtgespräche: City Talks
The basic idea of Bayreuther Stadtgespräche is to strengthen the connection between the City and the University. That is why the series of events is aimed at all Bayreuth citizens.
The venue is the Iwalewahaus (Wölfelstraße) in the heart of Bayreuth – right next to the Margravial Opera House. The speakers come from the University of Bayreuth, other universities or research institutes, or from (university) politics. (Higher education) policy issues are taken up and questions are discussed that are currently of concern to academia or citizens. This is done in an understandable way for people who are not familiar with the subject, and for non-academics.
The lectures are organised by the University of Bayreuth together with Universitätsverein Bayreuth e. V. and with the support of Universitäts-Forum Bayreuth – Kollegium Bayreuther Univ.-Professoren i. R.
6. December 2023: Digital Feasting and Virtual Overconsumption: How Language and Food Provide Entertainment on the Net
Speaker: Speaker: Dr. Sofia Rüdiger, Chair of English Linguistics
The popularity of videos in which the protagonists deal with food is growing enormously on social networks. They are often about different diets, health and fitness, but often also about gluttony and indulgence. Some of these content creators even earn their living by eating in front of the camera. But what function does language actually fulfill in videos of overconsumption, which are mainly about the act of eating? And how do the actors and actresses of these videos manage to let the audience participate in the taste experience? In this lecture, we will go on a journey of discovery of the linguistic form of so-called mukbang videos, in which large amounts of food are consumed and which captivate hundreds of thousands of viewers on YouTube, among other places. We explore how excessive consumption of food and certain linguistic patterns are used for the purpose of public self-presentation.
During the time of the Corona pandemic, most of the Bayreuth City Talks have been offered online! The current city talks take place exclusively in presence and are not recorded!
Past highlights of the event series (partly in German language)
8. November 2023: Current trends in artificial intelligence
Attention: the implementation date is 8.11.2023 due to the holiday on 1.11. (All Saints' Day), start 6 pm, Iwalewahaus.
Speaker: Dr. Niklas Kühl, (Chair of Information Systems and Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, University of Bayreuth)
Following on from the City Talk in October on the topic of transhumanism, Prof. Dr. Niklas Kühl (Chair of Business Informatics and Human-Centric Artificial Intelligence, University of Bayreuth) will present the fundamentals and trends in the field of machine learning in his talk and explain why developments in this area are currently progressing at a rapid pace. In doing so, we all face the question of the curse or blessing of the use of artificial intelligence? Can we trust it, provided we teach it ethics and morals? How can that succeed? How do we keep people, with their needs, concerns and goals, at the center when working with artificial intelligence? Will there be any jobs at all in the future without AI support? Will human workers have more free time in the future? The lecture provides answers to these questions.
4. October 2023: Transhumanism - Future or End of Humanity?
© Mulala Landry
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Bernd Kleine-Gunk, Nürnberg
Radical prolongation of life, genetic enhancement, medicinal enhancement of cognitive functions, computer-brain interfaces - all these are visions of transhumanism, which has many followers, especially in Silicon Valley.
To some, this sounds like bad science fiction, but much of it is already reality, at least in its beginnings. Transhumanism works primarily to improve the human being through the use of modern technologies. That sounds like a positive vision of the future. However, this also causes many people to fear dehumanization, the cyborgization of the human being or a revival of state eugenics.
The physician Prof. Bernd Kleine-Gunk, together with the philosopher Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, has published a comprehensive book on the subject. “Homo ex machina – the man of tomorrow” sheds light on the opportunities and risks of transhumanism. In the lecture within the series Bayreuth City Talks, the most important transhumanist ideas are presented critically. We can not only look forward to an interesting lecture, but certainly also to a lively discussion.
The current exhibition by Mulala Landry at the Iwalewahaus of the University of Bayreuth also addresses the topic of "transhumanism" in parts and is therefore an optimal complement to the lecture. Further information on the exhibition can be found at www.iwalewahaus.uni-bayreuth.de.
5. July 2023: Colonial Bayreuth - why it still affects us today
© Florian Unterburger
Speakers: Dr. Cassandra Mark-Thiesen (Africa and Global Historian, University of Bayreuth), Prof. Dr. Stefan Ouma (Economic Geographer, University of Bayreuth), Mr. Florian André Unterburger (Historian B.A. and initiator of the Förderverein Industriemuseum Bayreuth (IMB)).
Bayreuth's industrial prosperity is based to a particular extent on colonial value creation - without cotton, sugar cane or tobacco, industrialization would have been
would have taken a completely different course. But instead of following the traces of these raw materials and critically examining the circumstances of their production, racist and colonial racist and colonial language and images persist in public space. Through and devaluation of black people, the colonial legacy of the city remains until the colonial legacy of the city remains powerful to this day. In the city talk Cassandra Mark-Thiesen, Stefan Ouma and Florian André Unterburger go on a joint search for and attempt an interdisciplinary exploration and reappraisal of colonial Bayreuth.
7. June 2023: The sandstone houses in the Bayreuth region - outstanding but little-noticed cultural heritage.
© Herbert Popp
Speaker: Prof. em Dr. Herbert Popp (former Chair of Urban Geography and Rural Geography, University of Bayreuth)
The area around Bayreuth is geologically characterized by the so-called "Obermainische Bruchschollenland", i.e. by the deposition of numerous layers of the Earth Middle Ages, especially layers of sandstone. On the basis of these geological conditions, strengthened by manorial regulations of the margraves, an area of urban as well as rural settlements has developed, which are characterized by the building material "sandstone". These sandstone houses of the Bayreuth region are the subject of a recently completed scientific and regional study, which will be presented at the Stadtgespräch. On the basis of numerous examples from the region, the following aspects are considered:
- the geological preconditions for building houses with sandstone ashlars
- the historical development towards the dominance of sandstone buildings since the 18th century, which was largely driven by the margraves.
The stock of sandstone buildings is characterized as a material region and as a historical cultural heritage that must be preserved.
03. May 2023: The soil as a habitat
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Johanna Pausch, Agroecology, University of Bayreuth
Europe is to become the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Soils play a crucial role in achieving this ambitious goal. They store enormous amounts of carbon and are also one of the most important natural sources of atmospheric CO2. The many organisms that colonize the soil play a key role in breaking down and decomposing plant residues. The decomposition and transformation activities of soil organisms incorporate carbon compounds from plant residues into the soil and also release the nutrients they contain back into a form available to plants. Sustainable management of soil as a resource is therefore essential with regard to the global climate system, but also for a modern bioeconomy. Together with colleagues at the University of Bayreuth, geoecologist Johanna Pausch is researching the soil processes that contribute to carbon storage and nutrient release. The lecture "Soil as a habitat" will introduce soil inhabitants and their role in carbon and nutrient cycles. The lecture is the prelude to the lecture series "The Thin Skin of the Earth - Our Soils", which will be held this summer to accompany the exhibition of the same name at the University of Bayreuth. The exhibition will be on display in the Ecological-Botanical Garden of the University of Bayreuth from 16.04.-22.10.2023.
Website with more info:
5 April 2023: A feast for the king! Wilhelmine von Bayreuth's L'Huomo on the Margravial Opera Stage (in German)
Speaker: Dr. Andrea Zedler (Musicology, University of Bayreuth)
When King Frederick II visited Bayreuth in 1754, Margravine Wilhelmine could not pass up the opportunity to honour her brother with a festive performance in the Margravial Opera House. The Festa teatrale L'Huomo was on the programme. Since works of this type put the honoured person at the centre, one would expect praise for the Prussian king - but L'Huomo turns out differently: The remarkable play brought Enlightenment thought and thus reason as a central (ruler's) virtue prominently onto the stage in Bayreuth for the first time during a princely visit. The Margravine purposefully combines music with opulent stage effects and dance to heighten the drama, highlighting the contrast between evil (seduction/darkness) and the triumphant good (reason/light). In this talk we take a look behind the scenes of the upcoming performances on 5 and 6 May 2023 at the Margravial Opera House, which will be conducted by Dorothee Oberlinger.
15. March 2023: Microplastics in Main(em) River - How do they get in and what are they doing there?
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch (Chair of Animal Ecology, University of Bayreuth)
Plastics are both a curse and a blessing - on the one hand, they enable us to live a comfortable and modern life; on the other hand, we find the tiniest plastic particles, microplastics, in our waters, in cosmetics, in food and in our bodies. Microplastic is a collective term for tiny particles consisting of a wide variety of plastics and additives. Their properties are very diverse, making it difficult to make accurate statements about the extent of environmental pollution and the risk to human health. Together with colleagues at the University of Bayreuth, ecologist Christian Laforsch is studying the chemical and physical properties of microplastics and their effect on the environment. They want to be able to better assess environmental risks and provide a basis for the development of environmentally friendly plastics. In the lecture, Christian Laforsch will provide insight into how microplastics are formed, how they are transported in the environment, what biological effects have been observed, and what questions science hopes to answer next.
08. February 2023: "How Metals Fuel the Climate Crisis and Are Hopefuls at the Same Time"
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Christoph Helbig (Ecological Resource Technology, University of Bayreuth)
Metals are everywhere: in buildings, in vehicles, in machines, in laptops, and a variety of application-specific technologies. There are over 60 different metals, from iron to lead to rhenium, each with different properties and problems. Some are so-called critical raw materials, others environmentally hazardous substances. The demand for ever greater quantities means that 9% of global greenhouse gas emissions are now attributable to the extraction and processing of metals. So, on the path to carbon neutrality, we should actually be using fewer metals globally, with longer product useful lives, and producing the metals with lower carbon footprints. However, the demand for many metals is expected to increase even further due to the energy transition and the circular economy for specialty metals is unfortunately not yet well developed. In this regard, the presentation will provide an overview of the current and future challenges between climate change, global material cycles, critical metals, environmental impacts and future technologies.