Imagination obliges: President Karin Mairitsch has a lot planned for the ZHdK. Photograph: Sam KhayariWe are what we imagine: What can and must art be today? Diploma production "In Search of Our Common Ground" in the Master Theatre, Dramaturgy. Photograph: Regula Bearth © ZHdKUsing dreams: Oliver Mannel explores how to develop speaking techniques through dream narration. Photograph: Regula Bearth © ZHdKThese are the fabrics the future is made of. Photograph: Regula Bearth © ZHdKShaping the future inclusively: Fonts by FINTA* people (women, inter, nonbinary, trans and agender). Illustration: Mayar El BakryFutures thinking takes shape at ZHdK. Illustration: Kati Rickenbach


At first it’s just a feeling, an idea: “What if …”. Then often everyday life, habits or lack of time stop the wandering thoughts. The focus theme “Imagine” would like to give room for imagination: to let go, to fantasize and to think about the future.

For Zurich University of the Arts, she has many ideas: Karin Mairitsch has been the new President since October. In this interview, she reveals why the power of imagination is obligatory, what she wishes for the students and why she would like to listen first and foremost.

“We are what we imagine”: In her essay, Marijke Hoogenboom, head of the Department of Performing Arts and Film and of the Research Dossier, asks how more diversity, experimentation and the unfamiliar can enter research, teaching and art. Her suggestion: sharing and unlearning.

As we all know, one can dream a lot. But are dreams also useful for the arts? “Yes!” says Oliver Mannel. The lecturer at the Institute for the Performing Arts and Film is researching how we can use our dreams for artistic processes and our linguistic narrative power.

Whatever the future looks like – it needs to be more sustainable. On a visit to the ZHdK workshops, director Sigrid Wick tells us about a circular economy at ZHdK and what the textiles of the future might look like.

Visual Communication students learn how to design the future inclusively in a theory seminar of the Bachelor of Design. Sophie Vögele and Mayar El Bakry from the Department of Design explain why identity issues should be an integral part of design education.

What does the future of a university of the arts look like in 2035? The Digital Council of the ZHdK is already testing the visions of tomorrow. Are you coming along on this journey? After all, there are no limits to imagination.


Tessa Apitz ( is a freelance writer, concept developer and communication strategist based in Berlin.
Teile diesen Beitrag: