A German university is awarding $1,900 scholarships for ‘doing nothing,’ and all applicants have to do is answer what they won’t do and why
- HFBK University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany, is offering three people a $1,900 scholarship if they can come up with a good reason to do nothing.
- The university's "Scholarships for Doing Nothing" program was announced on August 25, and submissions are open until September 15.
- Applicants must answer four questions about how their plan to not take action could be beneficial.
- The scholarship was created by a professor in hopes of encouraging students to strive for "a lack of consequences" rather than success.
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One university is offering students from around the world the opportunity to win a $1,900 scholarship for doing nothing at all.
The unique scholarship program — called "Scholarships for Doing Nothing" — is offered by the HFBK University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany.
The application opened on August 25, and submissions are accepted between now and September 15. Applicants are required to create a proposal based on this central question: "What action might I refrain from performing in order to prevent my life from having negative consequences for others?"
Friedrich von Borries, a design professor at HFBK, created the scholarship to challenge social perceptions of achievement and success.
"The world we are living in is driven by the belief in success, in growth, in money. This thinking was leading us into the ecological crisis — and social injustice — we are living in," Borries told CNN.
"We wanted to turn that upside down — giving a grant not for the 'best' and for 'doing a project,' but for doing nothing," he added.
To apply, students must submit answers to four questions: "What do you want not to do? How long do you want not to do it for? Why is it important not to do this particular thing? Why are you the right person not to do it?"
Borries said that his idea was partly inspired by the lack of activity during COVID-19 lockdowns.
"During COVID, we stopped being busy not only to protect ourselves but to protect others. That is something I find very important and I hope we will be able to transfer this attitude into the post-COVID times," he told CNN.
Applicants from around the world, not just students of the Hamburg-based university, are encouraged to apply for the scholarship.
The three winners of the scholarship will have their ideas featured in an exhibition at Hamburg's Museum of Art and Design called "The School of Inconsequentiality: Exercises for a Different Life" from November 5 until May 9, 2021.
Friedrich von Borries and representatives for HFBK University of Fine Arts in Hamburg did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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