Funded by German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst DAAD)
Funding period: 2020 – 2021
Project leadership: Prof. Dr. Roland Hardenberg; Prof. Dr. Mirco Göpfert
Regional expert: Dr. Shahnaz Nadjmabadi
Coordinator: Dr. Fateme Rahmati; E-Mail: Rahmati [at] em.uni-frankfurt.de
The twenty-four-month project “The Quest for a ‘Good Life’: Livelihood Strategies in Iran and Germany” is a continuation of the project “The Social and Cultural Dimensions of Resources: Iranian and German Perspectives” from 2018. The current project aims at long-term and sustainable cooperation in research, teaching and supervision between the following Iranian and German universities and research institutions:
The project will enable these institutions to bring together their respective expertise in the training of students and early career researchers (ECRs) and to integrate new teaching formats into the graduate curriculum.
The project consists of a joint preparatory seminar and two field studies, which will strengthen research-based learning (RBL) and cultural exchange. In addition, a master class for academic writing and publishing will be held to highlight the specifics of the challenges of international academic publishing in the German and Iranian contexts. A “research incubator” will support the development of successful funding proposals and thus achieve the medium and long-term sustainability of the infrastructures created in this project.
All these activities are carried out under the main theme “The Quest for a ‘Good Life”, which concentrates on three specific thematic areas:
- Ecological foundations of life in the anthropocene: reconfiguration of human-nature relationships in the face of environmental destruction,
- Alternative lifestyles: Norms and strategies in changing socio-cultural relationships and
- Aesthetic practices and the search for better livelihoods
The good life project was highly influenced by the pandemic. Most of the projects involved a lot of field works that were impossible during the pandemic and tandem partners had to modify some parts of their study. Some of the meetings that were specific to the Iranians for example (the German introductory session) that could be held in-person were changed to virtual ones. Lack of eye contact was a serious problem for some of the members particularly for those with insufficient lingual skills. Mashhad & Frankfurt workshops were postponed several times because travelling to the other country was banned and people had to shoulder a high-risk responsibility of travelling. The pandemic, on the other hand, improved member's technical skills and helped them to broaden their experiences of working in the virtual atmosphere.