Animation and Contemporary Media Culture. Challenges and Potentials of Animation Studies in the Digital Era 

Animation is omnipresent in digital film and media culture but has so far been researched only sporadically and without an institutional infrastructure in the German-speaking region. The scientific network ‘Animation and Contemporary Media Culture. Challenges and Potentials of Animation Studies in the Digital Era’ establishes a structured professional exchange between young academics and internationally renowned experts in this emerging field of research. The focus is on the challenges and potential of animation studies in the analysis and evaluation of current media developments.

Project start:
Project completion:

We encounter animation everywhere: as visible illusion and invisible effect in film and TV; as moving information on electronic display boards; as interactive interface of smartphones and ticket machines; as user-generated, reused, or shared element on social media and video portals. Especially in German-speaking countries, however, institutionalized research on animation has been sporadic so far. As a result, existing work by German-speaking animation researchers is hardly visible nationally and internationally, and their potential contribution to current topics in media and cultural studies is often ignored.

The scientific network ‘Animation and Contemporary Media Culture. Challenges and Potentials of Animation Studies in the Digital Era' aims at the systematic profiling and internationalization of animation studies research from German-speaking countries and at the same time promotes strategic measures for the development and intensification of animation studies in Germany.

The focus is on current challenges of media culture, especially in the fields of digitalization, media convergence and globalization. Animation studies concepts are discussed in the network regarding their potential to contribute to the analysis and evaluation of current media developments. The network's approach includes regular virtual and on-site workshops as well as publications.

Current events

  • Virtual Animation Coffee: monthly meeting for informal exchange on scientific work on animation
  • Workshop: Animation Theory and Practice

08.–10.09.2023 | Ars Electronica Center, Linz
Guests: Birgitta Hosea (University for the Creative Arts, Farnham), Helen Starr (The Mechatronic Library)
Organisation: Juergen Hagler, Maike Reinerth

  • Workshop: Archiving and Canonizing Animation

01.–03.03.2023 | Deutsches Institut für Animationsfilm (DIAF), Dresden
Guests: Mette Peters (University of the Arts Utrecht/Utrecht University), Dr. Till Grahl (DIAF) & Lars Rebehn (Puppentheatersammlung Dresden)
Organisation: Julia Dufek, Maike Sarah Reinerth

  • Workshop: Studying Animation Festivals: Networks – Spaces – Synergies

18.–19.05.2022 | Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen (hybrid)
Guests: Chris Pallant (Canterbury Christchurch University) & Irida Zhonga (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen/Independent Animator)
Organisation: Rada Bieberstein, Erwin Feyersinger

  • Symposium: Animation and Politics in a Globalized World

28.–29.10.2021 | Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF (virtuell)
guests: Eric Herhuth (Tulane University New Orleans) & Esther Leslie (Birkbeck, University of London)
Organisation: Erwin Feyersinger, Andrea Polywka, Maike Sarah Reinerth

  • Workshop: New Technologies, Forms and Genres of Animation:  The Visuality of Virtuality – Documenting Digital Animation

23.–25.06.2021 | Ruhr-Universität Bochum (virtuell)
Guests: Nea Ehrlich (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Joel McKim (Birkbeck University of London), Anna Tuschling (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Organisation: Julia Eckel

  • Workshop: Animation Studies and Publishing

29.–30.03.2021 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (virtuell)
Guests: Cristina Formenti (University of Udine), Caroline Ruddell (Brunel University London), Anette Schüren (Schüren-Verlag Marburg)
Organisation: Rada Bieberstein, Erwin Feyersinger

  • Workshop: History and Present of Animation (Studies)

26.–28.11.2020 | Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF (virtuell)
Guests: Nichola Dobson (University of Edinburgh), Paul Ward (Arts University Bournemouth)
Organisation: Maike Sarah Reinerth

Projekt lead


Naima Alam, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Dr. Rada Bieberstein,Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Dr. Franziska Bruckner, FH St. Pölten

Julia Dufek,Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF

Dr. Julia Eckel, Universität Paderborn

Dr. Erwin Feyersinger, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

PD Dr. Ralf Forster, Filmmuseum Potsdam, Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF

FH-Prof Dr. Jürgen Hagler, FH Oberösterreich (Hagenberg Campus)

Asst. Prof Dr Max Hattler, City University of Hong Kong

Jannik Müller, Universität Osnabrück

Andrea Polywka, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Dr. Jana Rogoff, DFG-Forschungsprojekt “Eastern European Animation Between Art and Politics, 1945–1990”, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Vera Schamal, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste

Research assistants

Sabrina Reis

Christoph A. Klimke (bis 09/2022)

David Segler (bis 09/2021)

Project website

Project website at the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), HERE.