The coordination unit builds on the existing expertise on the topic of "colonial heritage" at the Universities of Erfurt and Jena and aims to network and strengthen activities in the future with regard to research, teaching and social dialogue. At the same time, it responds to the increased interest in educational institutions, the media and civil society in the colonial past and makes visible the contribution that universities can make in this social debate. Research projects are already being carried out on this topic at the two universities, as well as courses, lecture series and further education events. A special role is played by the universities' collections, which contain a still unknown number of objects that are closely connected to the colonial project. However, the activities currently stand largely unconnected to each other. Thus, the great potential that arises from a structured scientific exchange and a synergetic bundling of the different processes for a systematic treatment of research questions that currently arise with great emphasis, as well as for a joint profile building, remains unused.
In a first step, the scientists want to get an overview of the state of research but also of the research gaps. In addition, a network for regional and supra-regional academic exchange, especially with representatives of the Global South, is to be established - not only with academics, but also with civil society initiatives and (post-)migrant groups. Cooperation with museums and archives is also essential. In addition, there should be close cooperation with existing state-funded educational institutions (including the State Centre for Political Education, the European Youth Education Centre, memorial sites and schools). The researchers also want to enter into an exchange with them and create a participatory platform for a dialogue at eye level. The aim is to promote a critical awareness of Thuringia's colonial heritage in society.