CA: On the Road to Change Presented by Goethe-Institut and Thomas Mann Haus Los Angeles

The team of the Villa Aurora / Thomas Mann Haus presents a new video series that brings people in Los Angeles, Berlin, Athens and Delhi into conversation about what democracies can learn from the pandemic.

You can now watch the first three episodes in Los Angeles, Berlin and Athens! As part of the Restoring Public Trust theme days, another episode set in Los Angeles will be released on April 6: Thomas Mann Fellow Mohamed Amjahid joins Robin Stevens, Professor of Communication at the University of Southern California, and artist Joel Garcia in conversation about what structural reforms are needed to increase minority trust in politics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly altered cultural, economic, and sociopolitical life. In order to follow up the question on what experiences could be taken out of this catastrophe, Goethe-Institut launched the project Lockdown-Lessons. Intellectuals from all over the world were asked to take a position on this question. Lockdown-Lessons puts a focus on five distinct themes that are dealt with in separate modules. Originating from different geographical places, the participants create artistic responses and essays on the topics of Democracy and Solidarity, Science and Research, Creative Industry, Technological Change, and Proximity and Distance.
The module Democracy and Solidarity analyses the pandemic from the perspective of its importance on governmental systems.

On the Road to Change is a cooperation of the Goethe-Institut and Thomas Mann House Los Angeles.


Urban planner Ananya Roy and philosopher Rainer Forst take us on a drive through Los Angeles. From the Thomas Mann House they head to the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Their first stop is the most expensive private house in the world in Bel Air. Via Beverly Hills they continue their trip to Skid Row, the neighborhood with the largest population of homeless people in the United States. There, activist Pete White of the Los Angeles Community Action Network talks about the threat of eviction as a result of the pandemic and ways out of his city’s housing crisis.

Watch here 


Berlin based publicist and writer Catherine Newmark and Freiburg based philosopher Andreas Urs Sommer discuss the impact the pandemic has on ideas of social coherence, solidarity and concepts of democracy. Will the pandemic have an empowering effect on wide parts of the population? Or will people turn away from politics in general, disappointed and disgruntled by the endless debates and often paradoxical decisions?

Watch here


Curator Gigi Argyropoulou and historian Kostis Papaioannou take us on a journey through Athens. Starting from the central Omonia Square, we take Syngrou Avenue to the cultural centers built by private foundations – Onassis and Niarchos. These two large houses have had a significant impact on the cityscape and cultural landscape of Athens in recent years. During the trip, both talk about the lack of urban planning, the various crises of the last year(s) and the positive impulses coming from the art and cultural scene.

Watch here

On the Road to Change is a cooperation of the Goethe-Institut and Thomas Mann House Los Angeles and part
of the program Lockdown-Lessons.