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drupa Prize 2012 goes to Ruth Heynen: Europe thrives on its Variety

drupa Prize 2012 goes to Ruth Heynen: Europe thrives on its Variety


On the occasion of the drupa award 2012 (from left to right): Bernhard Schreier, President ofr drupa 2012; award winner Ruth Heynen, Prof. Dr. Dr. H. Michael Piper, Vice Principal of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf; Werner M. Dornscheidt, Board Chairman of Managing Directors Messe Düsseldorf GmbH.

The 2012 drupa prize went to doctoral student Ruth Heynen. drupa awarded its prize to a local Düsseldorf resident for her thesis “Fleeting Topographies of the Cultural. On the Construction of Europe through Theatrical Work”. The prize was presented by Bernhard Schreier (Board Chairman at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG and President of drupa 2012), Werner M. Dornscheidt (Board Chairman at Messe Düsseldorf) and Prof Dr Dr H. Michael Piper (Principal of the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf) as part of a festive event held on 14 May at drupa 2012.

In her thesis Ruth Heynen examines the creation of a European identity. She comes to the conclusion that it is impossible to find “a homogeneous identity”. Instead, she considers an “unbridled variety of cultures” to be characteristic here, which can be accounted for by the great variety of languages existing in such a small area. The doctoral student underlines this with an analysis of multilingual theatre stagings that take on a key significance in the context of the European unification process.

The topicality of the theme was a key criterion for the jury’s decision to award the prize to Ruth Heynen. In his laudatory speech Bernhard Schreier highlighted the parallel with the latest European debates that, in their limitation to financial policy aspects, did not do justice to the term “Europe”. It has, he said, always been hard to attribute a cultural identity to this entity. Nevertheless, the countries of Europe are united by a common ideal like scarcely any other continent and this ideal should be given space to take shape.
Ruth Heynen describes how this can succeed in her doctoral thesis. In so doing she strikes the core of those issues that drupa focuses on as the world’s leading fair in the print and media industry – issues that Schreier highlights as: “communication, international flair and understanding.”

Ruth Heynen began her theatrical career in the 1980s. She works in Germany and Italy as an actress, dramaturge and journalist. Alongside this she studied Modern German Philology, German Linguistics and French Studies at Düsseldorf’s Heinrich Heine University (HHU) from 1994 to 2001. She also occasionally worked there as a research assistant. At present she is working in this role at the Institute for Media and Cultural Studies at the HHU.
Messe Düsseldorf awards the drupa prize every year to the best doctoral thesis from the Faculty of Arts at the der HHU.

Already since 1978 it has honoured outstanding scholarly works in the arts produced at the Düsseldorf university and promotes the publication and dissemination of the thesis with prize money of Euro 6,000. Deciding on the recipient of the drupa prize every year is a specialist jury consisting of the Principal and Vice Principal of Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, the President of drupa and the Board Chairman at Messe Düsseldorf.