Maike Gunsilius

Perform Citizenship!? School of girls

How will we live together? What does it mean to be (female) citizen in the sense of being active member of today’s postmigrant (Foroutan u. a. 2014) society? How is ‚being a citizen’ articulated: in which publics and under which circumstances? Whenever we talk about citizenship not just as a national status, but connected to civil rights and duties we talk about it as a question of social rights and participation (Marshall 1950) of our urban society – transforming and dynamised e.g. by migration. The performance of citizens as the constitutive moment of the acting subject finds itself within the dilemma between political claim for visibility and participation of marginalized positions and the fulfilling (or denial) of the participatory imperative that society and its institutions address to its citizens (see Schaffer 2008; Rose 2005). Negotiating questions of citizens’ performance the Performing arts, especially in the context of cultural education, find themselves in an ambivalent position.


In her art-based research project SCHOOL OF GIRLS Maike Gunsilius is researching togehter with girls and women from Hamburg articulations of female citizens and their conditions: How do we become the citizens we are. And how can we use performative strategies to negotiate this.



Together with 12 year-old girls, Maike Gunsilius founded the SCHOOL OF GIRLS. In the first part of the art-based-research. Together with twelve pupils of the neighbourhood Hamburg Veddel she was researching on everyday-practices as civic acting by creating tutorials on these practices. Who does become visible and how? And who is making what visible?



In the second part of this research five girls meet five women: In teams of two they spend a day in their city – Hamburg. Their luggage: a performative instruction, 3 hours time, 200 €. With this they will research on what it means to act together in public. At the end of the day they present some results in the Theatre of Research.


Both of these art-based projects focus on the conditions of the research-constellation, characterized by generational, cultural and social differences and on the different performative research-strategies (biographical motivated tutorials and performative instructions).