Discussion Plattform and Ideas Incubator

Interview with Helmut Keitel

"Our building projects are not empty or museum-like shells."
Helmut Keitel, Chairman of the Association Campus Wittenberg e.V.

The CAMPUS Wittenberg association was founded in May 2006. For what purpose?


Helmut Keitel: To structure Wittenberg’s contribution to the IBA and to bring the many educational facilities in Wittenberg into a network. Up to then, they had tended to work side by side but not together. And we also want to broaden the scope of the education on offer, both in content and in architectural-spatial terms. To do that, we needed to attract additional partners.

Are you succeeding?  

Helmut Keitel: When it started, CAMPUS had about 20 members. Now there are more than 40, and it is still growing. Members include education providers like the Centre for Global Ethics, the Protestant Academy, the Institute for Research on Higher Education, the Cranach Foundation, but also companies, institutions and private individuals who support the idea of CAMPUS Wittenberg, not least financially.

How does the CAMPUS association work?

Helmut Keitel: We very deliberately avoid a full-time professional structure. That would neither be affordable nor useful, because CAMPUS is not an “official agency” in charge of its partners. We want to be a platform for discussion.

Does that mean CAMPUS offers no educational provision itself?

Helmut Keitel: The association hosts workshops, forums and general meetings. It sees them as a platform for developing new ideas in collaboration and matching them to the educational institution which can best implement them. So CAMPUS is an incubator for ideas as well. For example, because an outstanding professor of rhetoric named Friedrich Schorlemmer lives locally, the Kulturakademie (academy of culture) introduced courses in the subject. People travel from all over Germany to the Cranach Courts in order to attend. Another example: an idea was hatched on the CAMPUS platform to provide tourism training for Wittenberg service providers. The first course has just come to a successful end. 6 It has equipped staff working in catering, hotels and commerce with English language skills and a grasp of the history of this town and the Reformation. Participants also worked on their communication skills, looking ahead to the prospect of even more international visitors by the end of the Reformation Decade in 2017.

So CAMPUS is thinking beyond the final year of the IBA 2010.

Helmut Keitel: It is a huge opportunity for Wittenberg to have this major event on the horizon after the IBA, with large-scale building works envisaged at the Luther memorial sites and churches and of course visitors from home and abroad.

With the Colleg Wittenberg, a CAMPUS IN CAMPUS, an IBA project is making deliberate overtures towards internationality …

Helmut Keitel: … mainly towards American students. They already come to Wittenberg with their professors for short courses or term-length stays. Until now it has been rather ad hoc. Our Colleg project creates residential accommodation and seminar rooms for 44 students. Colleg Wittenberg is undoubtedly the most spectacular IBA project in Wittenberg.

The CAMPUS association was formed as a direct result of Wittenberg’s involvement in the IBA. Will the momentum carry on beyond the year 2010?

Helmut Keitel: I am certain it will. Even now, the educational scene clearly has a new lease of life. And the town’s architectural quality has been enriched in a tangible way. Our theme for the IBA has allowed us to demonstrate that the seven IBA buildings have real prospective uses. The birthplace of Wilhelm Weber has also been saved, for example. In the IBA year, the Centre for Science of the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt will be moving in. In the year 2010 we are presenting the IBA construction projects with explanatory materials contributed by CAMPUS members. This is also our way of showing that our buildings are not empty or museum-like shells but living elements of the educational landscape. And our long-term outlook is still buoyed up by the hope that, one day in the future, we can establish a university or university of applied sciences in Wittenberg and reinstate student life in the town. Our last attempt to attract a private university of applied sciences may have fallen through, but we are not giving up!

Info: Lutherstadt Wittenberg

(Municipal Area of 2010)
1989: 65.669
2009: 50.113
2025: 38.924 (Future Prospect)

Municipal Area: 240,32 qkm

Website Campus Wittenberg