The Silent University is a solidarity based autonomous knowledge exchange platform by displaced people, asylum seekers, refugees and forced migrants towards transversal pedagogy. It is led by a group of lecturers, consultants and research fellows outside of the restrictions of migration laws, language limitations and other bureaucratic obstacles. Since 2012, the Silent University has involved those that have had a professional life and academic training in their home countries, but are unable to use their skills or professional training due to a variety of reasons related to their status. Working together, the participants have developed lectures, discussions, events, resource archives and publications.
They started initially in London in 2012 in collaboration with Delfina Foundation and Tate and later hosted by The Showroom. In 2013, they established in Sweden in collaboration with Tensta Konsthall and ABF Stockholm. In 2014, it was also established in Germany initiated by Stadtkuratorin Hamburg in partnership with W3: Werkstatt fur internationale Kultur ind Politik.They were also established in Amman, Jordan initiated by Spring Sessions from May 2015 onwards and in Athens since December 2015. A new branch launched in Copenhagen last June 2019.
The Silent University aims to address and reactivate the knowledge of the participants and make the exchange process mutually beneficial by inventing alternative currencies, in place of money or free voluntary service. Their aim is to challenge the idea of silence as a passive state, and explore its powerful potential through performance, writing, and group reflection. These explorations attempt to make apparent the systemic failure and the loss of skills and knowledge experienced through the silencing process of people seeking asylum.