About Us

Steering Committee

Anne Waldschmidt, Professor at the University of Cologne, Director of International Research Unit Disability Studies (iDiS): https://idis-eng.uni-koeln.de/

Matthias Otten, Professor at Technische Hochschule Köln (TH Köln) - University of Applied Sciences, Director of the competence center for Migration, Intercultural Education and Organisational Development: http://fh-koeln.de/FOSMIK 

Isabelle Ville, Professor at the School for advanced studies in social sciences (EHESS), Sociologist, Research director at the French national institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM)

Curie Lee, University of Cologne, 8th ALTER Conference Contact 


University of Cologne

Universität zu Köln (UzK), The University of Cologne

The University of Cologne was founded in 1388 and, since then, has become a hub of research and scholarship in Europe. It is considered one of the largest German universities, alongside Free University of Berlin and the University of Munich, and is one of the leading research universities in Germany as it won funding for four excellence clusters through the Excellence Initiative launched by the German federal and state governments to support outstanding projects and institutions at German universities.

The University of Cologne (UoC) is a full university with six faculties covering a broad spectrum of disciplines and offering many internationally outstanding research profile areas. The life and natural sciences are represented by the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Law both enjoy an excellent reputation in application-oriented research and are regarded as top German institutions in their fields. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities builds on a comprehensive and broad range of disciplines and has developed many successful research areas, e.g. in pre-modern cultures, medieval studies, literary studies and non-European cultures and languages in general and Africa research and cross-linguistic research in particular. The Faculty of Human Sciences was founded in 2007 and has already established successful research areas in, e.g., intercultural education and social psychology. In addition, its Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation is one of the largest centers in Europe.


International Research Unit in Disability Studies (iDiS)

Affiliated to the Faculty of Human Sciences is iDiS – International Research Unit in Disability Studies. This research center was founded in 2004 by Professor Anne Waldschmidt and has been the first of its kind in disability studies in German-speaking countries. The iDiS is dedicated to critical disability studies and internationally renowned for producing interdisciplinary research on disability that combines social sciences approaches with cultural studies. Over the last years, the iDiS has undertaken a number of major research projects that have resulted in numerous publications, workshops and lectures. Third-party-funded projects at the iDiS have so far dealt with the following research areas: an international comparison of disability policies, equal rights and accessibility as well as disability history, bioethics, sociology of knowledge, and body theory. The center is involved in the teaching of BA and MA students of (special) education and rehabilitation sciences and holds regular research colloquia for Ph.D. students.



Technische Hochschule Köln  (TH Köln) -
University of Applied Sciences

The University of Applied Sciences is a multi- and inter-disciplinary, culturally diverse university of technology, arts, and sciences focused on cultural and technological breakthroughs of high social relevance. Over 90 full-time, career-integrated, or part-time degree programs are offered to about 5,000 students annually and 26,000 students altogether. Students in TH Köln come from approximately 120 different countries to learn from 430 professors. 
Research is done in close collaboration with partners on the local, national, and international levels with 290 international higher education institutions. The European Commission certified TH Köln with the quality seal “HR Excellence in Research.” Quality advanced academic training, professional development, and further education opportunities are also offered to all those interested. 

The Faculty of Applied Sciences, one of the largest educational institutions for social work in Germany, is located in Cologne’s Südstadt district. The Faculty consists of 32 professors, 10 adjunct lecturers, 45 research assistants and staff members, and 1,500 students. They have seven institutes related to Social Work: The Institute of Social Law, the Institute of Gender Studies, the Institute of Management and Organization in Social Work, the Institute for Childhood, Adolescence, Family and Adults, the Institute of Media Research and Media Pedagogy, the Institute for Social Work Research and the Institute for Intercultural Education and Development. The faculty offers Bachelor’s programs in Social Work and Early Childhood Education and Family Studies, and Master’s programs in Counseling and Advocacy in Social Work as well as Pedagogy and Management in Social Work.

Research in various interdisciplinary fields of Social Work, Education and Social Sciences is organized into five thematic core clusters (Diversity, Media, Profession, Politics and Life ages), conducted in several independent research groups and inter-institutional projects. The Faculty of Applied Sciences contributes to the University’s Competence Center for Migration, Intercultural Education and Organisational Development, a research and transfer unit led by Professor Matthias Otten.


The European Society for Disability Research (ALTER)

ALTER is both a learned society and a peer-reviewed journal (European Journal of Disability Research) dedicated to the research of disability and otherness. While it is based in Europe, both the society and journal are open to the international scientific community and all respective stakeholders (students, teachers, people with disabilities, policymakers, disability organizations, etc…). For more information on ALTER, including past conferences, you may visit their website here: http://alter-asso.org/

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