The drupa prize 2012 was awarded to Ruth Heyen for her dissertation “Fleeting Topographies of Culture - The Construction of Europe through Theatrical Work”. With this annual prize, drupa – the world’s leading trade fair for the printing and media industry – honors the best dissertation of the Philosophy Faculty at the Heinrich Heine University (HHU) in Düsseldorf, Germany. The 2012 award was recently presented by Bernhard Schreier (Chairman of the Board of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG and President of drupa 2012), Werner M. Dornscheidt (President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf) and Prof. Dr. Dr. H. Michael Piper (President of the Heinrich Heine University).
In her thesis, Ruth Heynen examines the creation of a European identity and concludes that it is impossible to find “a homogeneous identity”. Instead, she considers an “unbridled variety of cultures” to be characteristic, given the large variety of languages existing in such a small area. She underlines this with an analysis of multilingual theater stagings which have key significance in the context of the European unification process. The timeliness of this topic was a key criterion for the jury’s decision to award the prize to Ruth Heynen. In his laudatory speech, Bernhard Schreier highlighted the reference to the latest European debates which due to their limitation to financial policy aspects did not do justice to the term “Europe”. According to Bernhard Schreier, the countries of Europe are united by a common ideal like hardly any other continent and this ideal has to be given space to take shape. In her dissertation, Ruth Heynen describes just how this can succeed and strikes the core of those issues that drupa focuses on as the world’s No. 1 trade fair for the print and media industry – issues that Bernd Schreier identified as: “communication, international flair and understanding.”
Ruth Heynen began her theatrical career in the 1980s and works in Germany and Italy as an actress, dramaturge and journalist. She studied Modern German Philology, German Linguistics and French Studies at the HHU from 1994 to 2001. At present she is a research assistant at the Institute for Media and Cultural Studies at the HHU.
Since 1978, Messe Düsseldorf as the organizer of the drupa trade show, has honored outstanding academic work from the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and has awarded a prize of Euro 6,000 for the publication and distribution of the dissertation. The winner of the drupa Prize is elected each year by an expert panel, consisting of the President and Vice President of the Heinrich Heine University, the President of drupa and the President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.