Staff from the departments of Egyptology, Ancient Near Eastern Philology and Near Eastern Archaeology at the Institute of Ancient Studies have successfully participated in a call for proposals issued by the Stifterverband and the Dieter Schwarz Foundation. The funding initiative “Raumlabore” in the area of “Lernarchitekturen” supports projects that link innovative spatial concepts with novel teaching-learning settings. The “Ancient Sciences Innovation Lab” is one of 5 projects selected to receive funding totaling €100,000 for 18 months.

Funding initiative

The “Raumlabore” funding initiative enables universities to redesign an available space in the university as a laboratory in the sense of a learning architecture concept. Learners and teachers can experiment with future-oriented teaching and learning formats and, as researching actors, experience and investigate the interplay of spatial design and didactics. A central role is played by a learning architecture agent who, as a coordinating body, carries out and coordinates tasks such as implementation, student participation, networking of stakeholders and impact measurement.

Project goals:

The project develops from a classical seminar room with a foyer in the Hegelstraße 59 at the JGU Mainz the Ancient Sciences Innovation Lab. Here, interdisciplinary Ancient Science teaching- and learning settings are transformed in an innovative and hybrid way: The combination of modern didactics with up-to-date technical equipment creates a unique learning, teaching, research and meeting space.

Which are the main goals of the ASIL?:

  • Establishing student-centered innovative learning and teaching settings
  • Preparing students of old cultures even better for the future challenges of the VUCA-world (world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity)
  • Focusing on digital education in Ancient Studies
  • Integrating digitality into teaching (project- and research-oriented)
  • Developing hybrid teaching-learning concepts in the lab
  • Creating learning, teaching, research and meeting spaces

The initiation of the new teaching-learning and research environment is intended to offer students, lecturers and researchers a variety of opportunities, e.g. through workshops, and beyond the acquisition of technical competencies, to acquire the above-mentioned Future Skills.

The ASIL works with four lead hypotheses:

  1. Flexibility in the room structure enables an inclusive learning landscape and the development of innovative learning-teaching methods
  2. Inclusive learning architecture strengthens the development of students’ research mindset
  3. New learning scenarios and desire for social meeting place at the university are increasingly enabled by creative laboratory
  4. A pleasant learning atmosphere increases motivation to learn and influences performance positively

Starting point

For the implementation of the innovative concept, a seminar room (79.21 m2) and a foyer (113 m2) in the JGU branch office at the Hegelstraße 59 will be transformed. Due to their location on the first floor, the room and the foyer to be redesigned are accessible without barriers. In addition to the research centers and specialized libraries of the participating work areas, the building also houses other institutes, research areas and grad schools of the JGU. With an appropriate concept, the foyer serves as an intensified meeting place for students, lecturers and researchers from a wide range of disciplines.


The development of the room concept takes place in a participatory manner with the students, lecturers and researchers of the participating work areas in order to take into account the perspective of all room users. The multi-stakeholder approach is extended by involving and coordinating with the university management as well as with the respective staff units in the conception phase and the operation of the innovative teaching-learning space. This will take place, for example, through qualitative design thinking-workshops that already take into account the so-called megatrends for the year 2030 in terms of the sustainability of the concept. Through this exchange, students will be able to grow into the work of ancient studies in a practical, project-oriented manner.

Together with the students, concepts for ecological sustainability and resource-saving handling in the foyer and seminar room are also being developed.

Evaluation and feedback possibilities

In order to evaluate the sustainability of the measures, the concept will be oriented towards future trends for the year 2030 (e.g. New Work, etc.). The project will evaluate the impact indicators of the room concept at regular intervals, such as the usage and satisfaction rates, in order to orient the transformation to the needs of the target group of the student generation(s).

In order to offer all area users an accessible feedback option throughout the entire project, QR code stickers will be placed in the ASIL room and foyer, which will lead to low-threshold mini-feedback forms that can also be accessed at any time via the ASIL homepage. The results are evaluated by the project team in a timely manner and comments are ideally implemented directly.