Balkanbiro is an interdisciplinary network of academics, journalists, and cultural practitioners that positions itself as a hub for the exchange of ideas and knowledge between the countries of the Balkans and the rest of Europe. We organize events and discussions, write analyses and reports, and conduct thematic study trips. Through our publications and activities, we aim to build a bridge between academic research, journalism, and the public.
Born in 1970, Dirk Auer studied political science, sociology, and philosophy in Oldenburg and Bremen. Since 1996, he has been a research assistant at the Institute for Sociology and Social Research at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg. He obtained his doctorate in 2003, and in addition to teaching assignments, he has engaged in freelance journalistic work. Dirk lived in Sofia and Belgrade for ten years as a freelance correspondent for Southeast Europe.
Rayna Breuer, born in 1983, spent her childhood in Bulgaria and youth in Croatia. She studied political science in Germany and law in Austria. Since 2010, she has worked as a freelance journalist for Deutsche Welle, Deutschlandfunk, SWR, MDR, and WDR, focusing on the Balkans.
Born in 1970, Andreas Kunz studied Slavic studies in Salzburg. Besides his work as a translator, he has been a freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker since 1999. Initially focusing on Russia, he has undertaken numerous trips and research in Bulgaria since 2005. Among other things, he runs the balkanbiro radio workshops in Stolipinovo, the largest Roma district in the Balkans, and resides in a village near Plovdiv.
Born in 1982, Kathrin Jurkat studied International Development in Vienna and completed her doctorate at the Institute for Southeast European History at the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2021. She lived for several years in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kragujevac, and Belgrade, Serbia. Since 2013, she has been freelancing in historical education at the association present:history and, since 2022, has worked as a historian at the Museumspark Rüdersdorf near Berlin.
Born in 1978, Hannah Marquardt studied European Ethnology, Gender Studies, and Communication Sciences with a focus on migration research. She worked for several years in the cultural sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Currently residing in Berlin, she works as a cultural worker and producer of various art and cultural projects. Among other things, she is the co-founder of Ambasada gUG, a platform for contemporary art and discourse between the former Yugoslavia and Berlin.
Born in 1980, Thomas Schad studied Eastern European Studies, Political Science, South Slavic Studies, and Turkish in Berlin and Istanbul. With several years of professional experience in the NGO sector in Bosnia-Herzegovina and as a consultant in the International Office of Freie Universität Berlin, he obtained his doctorate in 2020 at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Thomas works as a freelance journalist with a focus on neo-populism, public (cultural) diplomacy, revisionism, and climate change. He is the author of the blog Inkubator Metamorφ.
Born in 1978, Katrin Schnieders studied social pedagogy in Münster and has been working as a street worker since 2015. As a freelance filmmaker and activist, she has realized a large number of video projects, including topics such as flight, migration, and antiziganism. In collaboration with the Roma association VAKTi in Belgrade-Zemun/Serbia and L`ARTichaut, Marseille, she organizes transnational youth encounters. Katrin is the first chairwoman of balkanbiro e.V. and is responsible for projects.
Born in 1976, Chrissi Wilkens studied sociology, social psychology, and communication sciences in Munich. She had stays abroad in Italy and the USA and conducted several research trips to Southeast Europe. Since 2008, she has been a correspondent for the European debate portal Eurotopics in Greece and Cyprus, as well as a freelancer for German media, including ARD, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, FM4/ORF, and Sonntagszeitung. Chrissi was awarded the journalism prize „von unten“ in 2016.