Freya Schwachenwald
Art Historian and Activist
Headshot of Freya Schwachenwald

Freya Schwachenwald is an art historian and social and cultural activist. She is currently working on her PhD project at Technische Universität Berlin as Fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. Her dissertation deals with the narratives of 19th-century travel, ‘exploration’ and art, and the hauntings of imperialism and racism in German history and museums. Her research and activism combine a critical engagement with history and memory making in metropolitan and non-metropolitan spaces. As an activist in the fields of social and cultural empowerment, diversity and literature, she has held lectures and seminars across Asia, South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, bringing together diverse communities in order to create shared projects and stories. Since 2009, she has been part of the German NGO Bücherpiraten for literature, reading promotion and civil participation, currently acting as their vice-president. For the Bücherpiraten, she has developed and executed workshops for children, teenagers and professionals on multilingual creative writing and storytelling, colonial pasts and presents. From 2018 to 2019, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Department for the History of Art at Yale University, USA. She holds an M.A. in Transcultural Studies from Heidelberg University and a B.A. in European Media Culture from Bauhaus-University Weimar and Université Lumière Lyon 2, France. In 2015, she was awarded with the Medal of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for her social and cultural commitment.