Mercator-Journalists in Residence

Mercator-Journalists in Residence are outstanding personalities of all disciplines who work on specific societal, socio-economic and technology policy issues and whose interests show points of connection to the discourse project eFin & Democracy»

With their expert knowledge and excellent practical experience, the Mercator-Journalists in Residence act as an important source of inspiration in the subject area. They help to raise awareness for a topic that has so far been underrepresented in public perception and to set important impulses in it, to network the media and scientific public and to develop effective science communication. We sustainably involve them in our work so that they can contribute their expert knowledge and positions to our networks through lectures and discussions.


Rainer Lind
March / April 2023

From March to mid-April 2023, the video artist Rainer Lind» is pursuing an interview project on the topics at the heart of the discourse project “eFin & Democracy”. He will conduct in-depth interviews with people who allow for different and sometimes unusual perspectives on the digitalised financial sector. Rainer Lind conducts and edits these in his recognizable and reduced visual documentary style.

In his portraits, he often sheds light on both his interview partners’ professional expertise and how they entertwine with or differ from their personal experiences and attitudes. That way, the content is made particularly accessible to diverse audiences. Rainer Lind’s work has often but not exclusively been in the field of civic education and has been targeting young audiences .

Rainer Lind has won multiple awards and teaches at various institutions in Hesse. He lives and works in the Vogelsberg district and Darmstadt, where he is also a member of the Darmstädter Sezession, a supra-regional association of visual artists.


Martin Karcher,
November / December 2022

Mercator– Journalist in Residence in November and December 2022 was freelance illustrator, graphic designer and comic artist Martin Karcher.

With a dual degree in communication design from both the FH Konstanz and the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, he has worked as a freelancer at several agencies in Berlin. He has shown his work in exhibitions throughout Germany and Denmark. Martin Karcher» lives and works in Leipzig.

During his residency, Martin Karcher has been working on a graphic novel on the topic of “digital payment” for an audience of teenagers and young adults aged 16 and older. He explored the utopias and dystopias associated with the digitalization of the financial sector, especially digital payment. Eventually, Martin Karcher met with students of the Bertolt-Brecht-Schule to talk about his work. And in a short exhibition, organized in cooperation with the Kunstforum of the Technische Universität Darmstadt, he showed first results of his residency.

more about the visit to the Bertolt-Brecht-Schule, 14 December 2022 (German only)»

more about the short exhibition „The BitBlockKryptoComic – A Making-Of”, 16 December 2022»

Martin Karcher about his time at ZEVEDI

“How can you showcase abstract, complex, technical topics in a visually appealing and entertaining way? As a comic artist, I find that anything can be depicted in a comic or graphic novel. It is a very diverse medium, it combines the aesthetics and expressiveness of a single drawing with the dramaturgical possibilities of a film or a play. In a comic, the moving image becomes a still, permanent series of images which can be read or “looked up” repreatedly. I therefore find it ideal for conveying more complicated content.
During my time at ZEVEDI, I asked myself what impact the digitalisation of money could have on our everyday life, on our society, on our democracy in the future. My goal was to turn this question into a comic that could sensitise teenagers and young adults to the topic in an entertaining way. In addition to the development of the storyline, this also resulted in sketches for a 10-page comic, all shown in a “making-of” exhibition at the Kunstforum of the TU Darmstadt. I also held a introductory course on how to create and draw a graphic novel for students of the Bertolt-Brecht-Schule.””

Friedemann Brenneis, July / August 2022

The first Mercator-Journalist in Residence was freelance journalist Friedemann Brenneis in July and August 2022. Friedemann Brenneis is dedicated to the topic of “Bitcoin”. He discusses the multifaceted world of blockchain and crypto culture in established media as well as in digital outlets:  both in his blog The Coinspondent» and in the successful podcast Honigdachs», which he has been running with two co-hosts since 2015. Among other things, in 2021 his research took him to El Salvador, the state that gained global attention at the time for introducing Bitcoin as legal tender for the very first time. In addition, Brenneis launched the Magic Future Money» book project, which collected and published “(im)possible stories of the money of the future”.

During his residency, Friedemann Brenneis further explored the question of whether Bitcoin could really be the trigger for a new form of civic, political, and democratic engagement, or whether challenging the state’s monopoly on money and established power structures – which are essential ideas of Bitcoin -, could ultimately be dangerous or profitable for our society. In addition to a public lecture entitled “Why Bitcoin?”, he finally presented his findings in a cooperation with the initiative Kultur einer Digitalstadt (KeD) under the title “Bitcoin – boon or bane for our society?“.

more about the public lecture „Warum Bitcoin?”, 26 July 2022»

more about the public lecture „Bitcoin – Gefahr oder Bereicherung für unsere Gesellschaft?“, 9 August 2022»

Brenneis about his time at ZEVEDI

“How relevant is Bitcoin and what influence does it have on our society? As a journalist, I have been pursuing this question since 2013 and have been coming up with new answers ever since. As a decentralised project that is constantly and dynamically evolving, Bitcoin by design eludes systematic recording. Statements about the first purely digital money can therefore only ever be snapshots representing each very specific perspectives. Different views on Bitcoin are therefore often contradictory or even conflicting. And always shaped by individual attitudes and political and economic interests towards this new and different kind of money. But given this complex state of information, what do we actually know about Bitcoin? During my time at ZEVEDI, I looked at some of the socially most contentious aspects and explored the question of whether Bitcoin is potentially more dangerous or more beneficial for our society. In a workshop and two lectures, I presented my findings. They are preliminary results, yet again, however prompted by a consistently growing interaction between Bitcoin and society.”

Further information on the programme and application procedure can be found on the German language website».