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One occasion – eight voices

The presidents of our founding institutions talk about the early phases of founding the BAK and setting up its infrastructure – and about the motivations behind their decisions to take part. Together with the members of the BAK’s board, they take stock of the BAK’s accomplishments thus far and offer their views on the future of cooperation in research on the ancient world in the Berlin/Brandenburg region.

Video on the BAK’s 8th anniversary

A look back and perspectives

The official opening of the Berliner Antike-Kolleg (BAK) was celebrated in the Pergamonmuseum on 10 May 2011. By founding the BAK, two universities and four non-university research institutions were giving concrete form to the idea, born in the Excellence Cluster Topoi, of establishing a permanent basis for their partnership in ancient studies.

Since then, the BAK’s development has progressed extremely well. It has been successful both in drawing together the expertise and resources of the partners and in systematically developing them further in all four areas of its activity: (1) research, (2) the training and the support of junior scholars, (3) advances in computational & digital humanities, and (4) research communication. Congratulating the BAK on its eighth anniversary, Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Higher Education and Research, emphasized its significance for Berlin: "Top-tier international research, a strong culture of cooperation, and talented young people from all over the world: these are the hallmarks of ancient studies in Berlin and of the Berliner Antike-Kolleg. They are an outstanding advertisement for our city, one of which we can justifiably be proud."

In the past eight years, 30 fellows from all over the world have conducted research at the BAK, bringing stimulating ideas and perspectives to ancient studies in Berlin. Over 100 scholars are currently pursuing their doctoral degrees at the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies, which has become one of the world’s largest and most prestigious graduate schools for ancient studies in the world.

The funding received from the Einstein Stiftung Berlin was of great importance for the process of systematically setting up the BAK. Those funds made it possible for the BAK to build up, successively, the infrastructure needed in each of its areas of activity over the past years and to bring the profile of each of them into sharper focus. In turn, the structures ideally facilitated the establishment of the Einstein Center Chronoi. As a result, the center, which took up its work as a new flagship project on 01 January 2019, is optimally equipped to promote scholarly exchange on the topic of "time and the awareness of time in the ancient world", within Berlin and well beyond its borders.

Alongside its extensive activities to supporting junior scholars and promote excellent research in Berlin, the BAK has launched innovative event formats, such as the Antiquity Slam.

The BAK will continue to serve in its function as a locus, laboratory and hub for the further development of ancient studies in Berlin. In this, its primary purpose is and will remain that of identifying innovative research topics and testing their potential for longer term projects.