“Syntopie in the Making”

Great interest in exhibition on German-Palestinian exchange

More than 70 visitors attended the opening of the exhibition “Syntopie in the Making: Perspektiven einer deutsch-Palästinensischen Kooperation” in Siegen (Tuesday, 29.05.). “We are delighted about such great interest in our project,” said Prof. Dr. Volker Wulf, Dean of Faculty III at Siegen University. His Chair of Information Systems and New Media is hosting the exhibition, which deals with the topic of social innovation in Germany and Palestine.
Impressions and work results are shown, which were taken by students of the University of Siegen and the Birzeit University in the context of the student exchange “YALLAH! – You All Are Hackers” have been jointly developed. This exchange has existed for more than two years and is sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service.
Until June 12, many photos and videos of the students’ work will be shown in Gallery 42. For example, they opened a computer club in a refugee camp and did research there. “We want to put the visitor in our position and communicate our experiences,” explained Sarah Rüller, who coordinates the exchange project.

The students also started an urban gardening project in Ramallah. Together with children from a refugee camp, they filled empty plastic bottles with soil and plants and hung them on railings. “The children have learned how to reuse supposed rubbish and how to take responsibility for public spaces,” said Rüller. Photos and videos of the Urban Gardening project are shown in the exhibition. Bernhard von Grünberg, Deputy Chairman of the UN Refugee Aid, also praised the project.

In addition to photos and videos, the 370 square metre exhibition also features installations by Cologne artist Igor Sacharow-Ross. He was born in Eastern Siberia and was expatriated from the former USSR in the 1970s because of his art. He has been working with the participants of the Yallah exchange program for quite some time and has created exhibits that are entirely in keeping with his art.

Countless keys now hang from the ceiling in a room. They symbolize the keys Palestinian refugees have kept from their old houses on today’s Israeli territory. “These keys are indeed passed down from generation to generation, they are the symbol of hope for homecoming,” said Marios Mouratidis, who coordinates the student exchange with Sarah Rüller.
Abdelhadi Abusharekh, Counsellor of the Palestinian Mission in Berlin, was also present at the opening ceremony. The project is an important impulse for a cosmopolitan society, he said.

YALLAH! participant Aydin Coskun has also programmed a virtual tour of the exhibition. It can be found on the Internet at


K42 Gallery
Kölner Straße 42
57072 Siegen