Three members of staff from the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music were part of a University delegation to the city of Frankfurt and its Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität on 31 October and 1 November 2011.

Matthew Rampley (History of Art), Ken Hamilton (Music) and Kate Ince (French/Modern Languages) participated in at least two bilateral meetings each with staff from departments of the Goethe-Universität corresponding to their own, in order to discuss possible research collaborations, staff and student exchanges, and other ways in which Birmingham and Frankfurt might strengthen the relationship between the two universities and cities – for instance, through Birmingham participating in events to mark the Goethe-Universität’s centenary in 2014, or by celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the partner or ‘sister’ link between the two cities in 2016.

Also part of the delegation of six were Sarah Colvin, Director of Birmingham’s Institute for German Studies, Marion Fleming-Froy from Alumni Relations, and one of the visit’s principal organisers, Andrea Edwards, Director of Business Development and Mobility from International Relations. As well as meeting fellow academics, participating in a two-hour discussion with staff from the Goethe-Universität’s International Relations team about future collaboration, exchanges and joint actions by the two universities, and being shown round the its attractive Campus Westend in lovely autumn sunshine, the visitors toured the new permanent exhibition of Frankfurt’s recently renovated Filmmuseum, and were granted a reception at the Römer, the city’s Town Hall.

Initiatives it is hoped the visit will lead to over the next five years include exhibitions of art works from the Barber Institute in Frankfurt and from Frankfurt’s Städel Museum in Birmingham (Matthew Rampley); a teaching visit to and attendance at an international conference by Kate Ince at the Goethe-Universität’s Institute for Theatre, Film and Media in 2013-14; collaborative research on historical performance-practice between Ken Hamilton and the Frankfurt’s Institut für Musikwissenschaft; and a celebration themed around Shakespeare and Goethe for the 50th anniversary of the sister city link in 2016. University delegations have visited Birmingham’s sister cities of Chicago and Guangzhou in China over the last couple of years, but this was the first major visit by a group from the University to one of Birmingham’s European partner cities, the others of which are Lyon, Milan, and Leipzig. The possibility of Frankfurt and Birmingham working together on a network of mutual partner cities across the UK, Germany, France and Italy was also raised during the trip.

[Kate Ince, School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music.]