ifa | Loud demands for more transparency and opportunities for co-determination occur on a regular basis. Political engagement of civil society extends far beyond the election of its representatives. Due to modern forms of communication and transport , foreign policy takes place in detachment from incumbents of political office. Does this make the work of diplomats obsolete? No, as foreign policy is a very complex field that requires a certain form of expertise. However, the exchange with the civilian population can be very fruitful. This was shown by the citizens' dialogue "Außenpolitk live - Diplomaten im Dialog (Foreign Policy Live - Diplomats in Dialogue)".
Conversation with Olaf Holzapfel
ifa | The ifa-exhibition "The Event of a Thread" that focuses on questions concerning textiles and their cultural significance runs since the beginning of September. One of the participating artists is Olaf Holzapfel who worked together with female Indio weavers from the Wichí community of Northern Argentina. For their textile art they used Chaguar, a plant for fiber to be woven into bags or ponchos. The video shows two interviews with the artist where he talks about the cooperation with the locals, the dialogue and the meaning of art as a bridge between two worlds.
Exhibition: World premiere in Dresden
ifa | Franz Erhard Walther is considered a pioneer of participatory art. As professor at the Art Academy in Hamburg he has gained influence on a wide a range of important artists. At the 57 th art exibition "La Biennale di Venezia 2017", he had been awarded with the Golden Lion as best artist. From 1st september till 20th january, his works are displayed within the exhibition "The Event of a Thread" at the "Kunsthaus Dresden". In an interview Walther speaks about the beginnings of his work in the 1950s, drawing and his own definition of "sculpture".
ifa | Many questions were raised during the conference "Cultures of We" – an event taking place in Berlin on 13 September, addressing future concepts of community. The evening’s panel discussion with four international participants had some answers and more food for thought, touching on a variety of topics: the challenges of living in an international community, the role of Europe, the impact of new technologies. All agreed on one point: the future of coexistence requires new forms of dialogue.
Under the Mango Tree - Sites of Learning
ifa | The event Under the Mango Tree -Sites of Learning, as part of documenta 14, acted as an open forum for the study of the understanding of cultural education and educational initiatives from around the world. The artist Duane Linklater, who took part with the project Woodland School, has met with Aïcha Diallo for an interview. The Canadian artist discussed education, cultural expressions and the centrality of indigenity.
CrossCulture Tour - picture gallery
ifa | In 'Theatre of the Oppressed', Iranian Ramshid Rashidpour aims to raise political awareness and combine it with a liberating educational function. The destination of the theatrical journey taken by the Iranian-German cast is not fixed, as the plot development and dialogue are largely determined by the audience. Only one thing is certain: 'Theatre of the Oppressed' merges democratic processes and shared ideas and solutions to create a promising entertainment format. The pictures were taken at the recent performance in Dresden.
CrossCulture fellow about his experience
ifa | As the first country in North Africa, Morocco started a regularization process, which gave migrants from sub-Sahara Africa the chance to apply for a residence permit. CrossCulture fellow Nour Eddine Bellahbib works with those migrants and is an advocate for the improvement of their situation. At an intercultural Workshop in Stuttgart he talked about his work in Morocco as well as the expectations of his CrossCulture internship in Berlin.
Interview by Leontine Päßler
The EU in the wake of Brexit
ifa | Why do we really want Europe? Can we demonstrate to European citizens the opportunities offered by social politics and a strong social democracy in Europe? This is the aim of the new Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung project "Politics for Europe". In a random selection of persons eligible to vote in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the Czech and Slovakian Republics, persons were surveyed about their perceptions of the European Community and their expectations of the EU. The results show that European integration can be done in a democratic, economic and socially balanced way and with a reliable foreign policy.
ifa | Recycling is an increasingly popular topic among the population. However, recycling is becoming more and more important not only in private households, but also in the art scene. Volker Albus is the curator of the exhibition "pure gold" that is dedicated to the topic of recycling and will open in Hamburg on September 15th. In his introductory text, Albus reports on his work with garbage, the variety of recycling, and the recycling-motivated design in recent years.
Biennial Conference: „Curating Under Pressure“
ifa | "What can art achieve in times of crisis?" – The question was central in Christchurch, New Zealand, after the cities had to deal with two serious earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Even though the local biennial was at stake, the organizers decided to continue. The idea of a biennial conference in Christchurch on the ethics of curating came up. Under the headline "Curating Under Pressure" organizers and directors, but also curators, artists, academics as well as representatives and activists from the local art scene participated. Susanne Boecker and Paul Wood summarize the results of the conference.
ifa alumni | A confusing tangle of narrow alleyways: this is what the old town of Tunis looks like. Two years ago Stuttgart architect Raoul Cyril Humpert moved there. With the financial support of ifa he launched a newspaper. About the project, history and life in the medina of Tunis.
Reading in times of conflict
qantara.de | More than 3,500 books in Kurdish, Arabic and English can be found in the 'Book Cafe'. Rafan al-Ta'i opened this one of a kind café in Erbil despite procurement difficulties, financial barriers and the 'tumultuous security situation'. Regardless of many obstacles, she created a place that lets people forget what happens outside the cafe. By Sahar Moqaddem
Young professionals abroad
ifa | Amur Alrawahi's participation in ifa's CrossCulture Programme brought him right in the heart of Germany. During his two months long internship, Amur is experiencing various facets of German nature based tourism at 'Hainich National Park'. Especially his daily commute is new to him - he swapped his car for a bike. At a CrossCulture Intercultural Workshop in Stuttgart he talked about his experiences so far.
Interview by Leontine Päßler
qantara.de | 'This is our cultural heritage: We have to preserve it', says Wazhma Kurram a twenty-six year-old structural architect. Together with 50 other architects and engineers Wazhma works on site of Kabul’s Darul Aman Palace. Once built to house Afghanistan's parliament the building is currently in a war-torn state. As part of an entirely Afghan project Kurram and her colleagues aim to set a peaceful example in the midst of war. By Sandra Petersmann
A Fresh Look at Crisis Prevention
GPPi | After one year of various debates the summary of the project 'PeaceLab 2016' has been published. A diverse group of stakeholders from the German government, civil society, academia, and the parliament discussed different aspects of Germany's role in crisis prevention and peacebuilding. The project was initialized by the 'German Foreign Ministry' and various German ministers, such as former Foreign Minister Steinmeier, were part of the debates. The final report gives ideas for German government guidelines on this topic.
Contemporary Art from Germany in Mexico
ifa | Four days of pure creativity: With different materials and colours young people from Mexico created their personal artworks during Lilian Scholte's Workshop "Imaginar para Imaginar" in Guadalajara. The exhibition "Future Perfect" served as the source of inspiration. The exhibition includes films, photographs, sculptures, objects, painting, and collages by sixteen artists who look at visions of the future and speculations on the course of history. The next workshop with the art mediator Scholtes takes place from 28 to 31 August in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. For further information see the "Future Perfect Blog".
blogs.lse.ac.uk | Commentators argue that globalisation with its implications is the main reason for the cleavage appearing in western Europe. Several recent European elections, as well as the UK’s referendum on Brexit, have shown a clear split in voting choices between citizens with different levels of education. The traditional distinction between right and left seems to be obsolete. Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille argue that a new political cleavage in Europe has emerged between citizens with high levels of education and those with lower levels of educational attainment.
Foreign Policy live
ifa | Pegida and TTIP are symptoms of society’s loss of confidence in the government. Civil-society actors are becoming increasingly more significant when it comes to shaping Germany’s foreign policy. What is the importance of participation here? Can dialogue formats break down distrust and create transparency? On 21 June 2017, Dieter Reinl and Valentin Naumescu discussed these topics in the German city of Passau. The discussion was moderated by Sophie Haring. By Odila Triebel und Daniela Hochstätter
Comedy made in Gaza
Qantara.de | From Reham al-Kahlout’s point of view "comedy is the best way to get people to change". The 19-year-old Palestinian is the only woman in the young comedy troupe called "Bas ya zalma". Other than her male colleagues she has to cope with repeated harassment and criticism, but quitting is not an option for the fierce comedian. By Peter Münch
Call for Proposals
ifa | Are you planning a research project into a country of transformation or development? Are you preparing for an exhibition outside Germany? Then apply until August 15, 2017 for our promotion programs Exhibition Funding and Artists' Contacts!
German civil society international
ifa | In times of increasing political disillusionment and scepticism towards the state, reference is often made to civil society as an important contributor to shaping democracy. Many actors target neighbouring countries, regions or international politics with their activities. In their study "Zivilgesellschaftliche Akteure in der Außenpolitik [Civil Society Actors in Foreign Policy]" Prof. Dr. Daniel Göler and Robert Lohmann discuss the foreign policy of civil society. What is the meaning of 'civil society' in this context? How does this new form of foreign policy influence state actors?
ifa | Philip Jailos from Malawi had a very positive experience at the Ethnolgisches Museum in Berlin during his internship: "Everyone was so kind and very supportive. The African collection Department was great: it was a department of joyful and lively young people. I was involved with everything within and outside working hours. I got easily absorbed into the system because of how everyone welcomed me at the museum. I really felt at home." A report about his work and impressions.
Europe in an Epoch of Populism
ifa | One audience, two guest speakers, countless questions. How might the European fabric be strenghtened? Which roles do populism and nationalism play? And what is Europe, altogether? Political blogger John Worth sits adjacent diplomat Görgen at the podium. The concluding seminar of the programme "Foreign Politics Live – Diplomats in Dialogue", held at the Leipziger Zeitgeschichtliches Forum (Contemporary Historical Forum) is underway. Yannick Jürgens from the radio station mephisto 97.6 moderates the theme "Strengthening Europe – Handling Populism and Euroscepticism".
Book review: Sinan Antoon's "The Baghdad Eucharist"
Qantara.de | 'To leave or not to leave Iraq?' is the central question of Antoon's novel "The Baghdad Eucharist". The story takes place after transnational militants entered the Church of Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad and opened fire. The attitude of the two protagonists’ Youssef and Maha is fundamentally different. Whereas the elderly Youssef has a nostalgic and optimistic view of Iraqi life, the young Maha is preparing herself for a future elsewhere. Antoon's novel was shortlisted for the 'International Prize for Arabic Fiction'. By Marcia Lynx Qualey.
Auswaertiges Amt | Informing the world about Germany and conveying a positive image of the country number among the Federal Foreign Office’s most important tasks. One of the most important instruments in this regard is the Germany platform. The world can gain an impression of our country in nine languages on the website www.deutschland.de, as well as on its social media channels. Since 17 July, the website has had a new look under the title “How Germany ticks”.
ifa | Why is culture important for European cities? How does an ideal cultural city look like? The European Commission published their findings in the first edition of “Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor.” With the comparing tool developed by the scientific office of the European Union, called the Joint Research Centre (JRC), cities are supported in finding their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, they want cities to compare themselves and learn from each other. The tool is the result of data collected from 168 cities in 30 European countries. The performance was measured by using 29 indicators mirroring the cultural, social and economic dynamic of the cities.
ifa | Elke aus dem Moore, Head of the Visual Arts Department at the ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations, and Sepake Angiama, Head of Education at documenta 14, talk about shifting educational approaches in art, new curricula, and the conference Under the Mango Tree – Ulterior Sites of Learning on this subject
ifa | The project Science League by Hamza Arsbi, which has been supported by ifa, has been awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Social Enterprise award. Science Leauge has been founded in reaction to the bad condition of the education system in Jordan. The project empowers young people from the Middle East to compete in various scientific challenges.
The future of the Middle East
Qantara.de | If we are ever to break the modern Middle East′s cycle of crises, we must not lose sight of the future. Across the Arab world four trends are already brewing a new set of problems for the coming decade.
By Tarek Osman
C&/ifa | The first issue of Contemporary And (C&) was published 2014 during the Dakar Biennale. The issue offers online, as well as offline, different narratives of contemporary African art. C& is a dynamic place where topics and information of contemporary art practice and African perspectives are reflected and connected.
Music video for a traditional sudanese nursery rhyme
ifa Alumni | "Music videos provide a great opportunity to make our enormous wealth of traditional folk music more accessible to young people", says CrossCulture alumnus and filmmaker Mohamed Emugtaba Aamir from Sudan. It is an opportunity and at the same time a challenge, as the number of well-produced music videos that have been made in Africa's third largest country is almost non-existent.
Copenhagen's mosque led by women
Qantara.de | Friday prayers are regularly held in Europe's first female-led mosque. In a further innovative step, a new Islamic academy for the training of female imams for Denmark is about to open its doors. Ulrike Hummel reports from Copenhagen
Qantara.de | By criticising the fear of Islam that is rife in Austria, the country's new president, Alexander Van der Bellen, is sending out an important signal of opposition to both the racism that has become socially acceptable once again in Europe and the stigmatisation of Muslims. By Farid Hafez
ifa | In May 2017, journalists from German minorities’ newspapers and radio stations in Central and South Eastern Europe, as well as Russia and Kazakhstan, came together for a (net)working meeting. Most met in person for the first time, but the majority has known one another before, thanks to their collaboration with Mind_Netz. Since November 2016, journalists from the German minorities’ media have been cooperating on the joint social media platform, in partnership with Mind_Netz’s editors at the ifa in Stuttgart. On its facebook, VK, and Twitter presences, Mind_Netz curates the most intriguing contributions from German minorities’ media, targeting a young and international audience.
How culture and the arts can promote intercultural Dialogue in the context of Migratory and refugee crisis
ifa | The publication shares various case studies by the working group of EU member states' experts on intercultural dialogue. Focusing on empowerment, integration ,and evaluation, the report wants to show how culture and the arts can promote intercultural dialogue.
Emancipation in Afghanistan
Qantara.com | By teaching girls programming and computer literacy, two sisters in Afghanistan have triggered something of a digital revolution.
ifa | For the exhibiton "Untie to Tie" by the ifa gallery in Berlin, Markus Messling from the Centre Marc Bloch Berlin, wrote an essay about the writer, literary theorist, and philosopher Édouard Glissant.
ifa | Dance as an instrument to learn more about living in the Palestinian Territories: Osama Awwad, dancer, choreographer, and dramaturge from Bethlehem is using the Arabic folk dance Dabkeh as a flash mob in Bremen. Various places in the city, like the town square and the main station, become a stage. Therefore, the dance can start conversations about daily Palestinian life.
Theodor Wanner Award 2017
ifa | The ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) is bestowing the 2017 Theodor Wanner Award for peace, freedom and human rights upon Queen Silvia of Sweden. With her multifaceted, longstanding and transnational engagement, she actively and concretely contributes to the broad implementation of human rights, dialogue between different social groups, and thusly, to peace and social cohesion.
ifa exhibitions in Mexico
From Oaxaca to Monterrey
ifa | During the Year of Germany in Mexico 2016-2017 the ifa presents alltogether seven exhibitions in different Mexican cities. Currently 'Sibylle Bergemann. Photographies' and 'Future Perfect' are to be seen in Oaxaca and in Guadalajara respectively. On 8 June the 'Otto Dix. Social Criticism' exhibition will open in Guadalajara. One week later 'Music from an Unknown Source' with 40 gouaches by Sigmar Polke will start in Oaxaca.
Cooperation in Europe
ifa | 25 years ago former Federal Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and his Romanian ministerial colleague Adrian Năstase signed the German-Romanian Treaty on Friendly Cooperation. During the anniversary year various events on the cooperation of the two countries are taking place. In Timișoara the German Cultural Days are celebrated. On May 25, the ifa-exhibition 'Rosemarie Trockel' opens at the Museum of Art of the West Romanian town. The Centrul Cultural German Timişoara presents the exhibition 'International Relations. Young Architectes from Germany' up to 9 June.
A World in the City
ifa | We are all familiar with something we call Natural History, but what would be the history of Natural History? Where I specifically would see Natural History as forms of relationships that human beings and human civilisations share with nature and Nature. This relationship is akin to a world view that people and civilisations develop and live with.
By Kaiwan Mehta
ifa | 15 pupils had the chance to learn more about their own town of Sanktanna in Western Rumania, when they participated in a journalistic workshop in May. The main focus of the workshop was interviewing people with traditional professions like a mason, a blacksmith, or a upholsterer. Concluding the workshop, they gathered all their information and wrote short articles that are published on May 17th in the German Newspaper for Romania on a double page.
Pictures by Florian Kerzel (Manager Cultural-ifa)
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies
RSCAS | The paper within the EUI Working Papers series analyses the effect of the import of cultural goods, be it cultural heritage, performance, visual arts, or other on emigration decisions. 'The import of cultural goods, by affecting individual preferences, reduces the cost of any migration move and favours outflows towards exporting countries.' In a gravity model 33 OECD destination countries and 184 sending countries have been examined.
By Mauro Lanati and Alessandra Venturini
European Parliament | 'The global clampdown on civil society has deepened and accelerated in recent years. Over a hundred governments have introduced restrictive laws limiting the operations of civil society organisations (CSOs),' states the study pulished by the European Parliament this year. It presents EU mechanisms against this phenomena and offers some strategic guidelines.
ifa | What are the correlations between national, transnational and European perspectives? Is there a difference between a European perspective and multiperspectivity? What can and what should be the goal of historical education concerning the First World War? The contributions in this anthology reflect on these questions, reveal blind spots and present new approaches and projects to European Commemoration of the First World War.
Special Press Review
ifa | Populism is on the rise in Europe. Anti-European parties and protectionist movements are enforcing nationalistic ideas. The new ifa’s Special Review ''Target Europe'' addresses the revival of nationalist thinking in Europe, its impact on the arts, culture, the media and science as well as the latters' responsibility to fight back against oversimplifying populist narratives.
ifa | As a result of an international research and exhibition project the publication Politics of Sharing – On Collective Wisdom presents perspectives that aim to activate our collective knowledge, our experience and our practices of sharing in the context of contemporary art and visual culture.
Simulation game on European cultural policy
ifa | The European Union is rife with crisis and discord. Instead of solidarity and cohesion, self-interest and protectionism dominate the discourse between its member states. Internally as well as externally, the project EU is as unattractive as never before. Hence, the European Commission ventures to act big: a new pan-European idea is needed.
CrossCulture Workshop 2016
ifa | In August 2016, we met three CCP fellows at the workshop in Stuttgart. We wanted to know: 'Why does intercultural knowledge matter?'
ifa | The living room is vast, easily big enough to accommodate a football pitch – and at the moment a couple of dozen refugees. In Berlin-Spandau, 750 refugees live in the Stadtmission refugee centre, a former cigarette factory comprising a number of production areas. In this surrounding Florian Börner and Ahmed Al-Shaikhli are working side by side, discussing problems and finding solutions.
By Jan Rübel
ifa Edition Culture and Foreign Policy
ifa | Is there a chance of balanced power constellations between the global north and the global south? How can uneven cooperations be justified? This research will investigate whether asymmetric cooperation may nonetheless be legitimised if it leads to effective problem-solving or generates emancipatory effects. This tension will be examined on the basis of a critical and reflexive analysis of the DAAD project "Tunisia in transition", involving collaboration between German and Tunisian universities.
ifa | "In Lebanon, repression has become a permanent state of mind," says the journalist and Orientalist Monika Borgmann. With the archive "UMAM Documentation & Research", founded in 2004, she attempts to fill the gaps in the country's collective memory. In her latest documentary "Tadmor", former Lebanese detainees break their silence. The theatrical release at different cinemas in Switzerland starts on 9 March 2017.
Interview by Juliane Pfordte
ifa | At the end of school holidays, Taysir Batniji as a young boy sharpened pencils for hours. Today, a field of pencil shavings is part of one of his most famous performances. The Palestinian artist was born 1966 in Gaza. With his installation 'Hannoun', Batniji is confronting two central dimensions of his life: the conflictive situation in Gaza, and living in exile. The installation is featured in the exhibition 'In the Carpet ǀ Über den Teppich'. Another work shown in the exhibition is from Amina Agueznay. The Casablanca-born artist loves collaborating with Moroccan weavers and artisans from the countryside. With her textiles installations she deals with traditional motifs and craft techniques. In the interview they talk about the mutual influences between arts, crafts and culture.
Interview by Mustafa Yapakci and Siri Gögelmann
Special Press Review
How U.S. Policies Influence the Arts, Culture and Science
ifa | Within just a few days of taking office, President Donald Trump has begun to change the political scenery of the U.S., decree by decree. His policies affect the arts, culture and science: Universities are to suffer financial cutbacks; the immigration ban for individuals from seven majority-Muslim countries threatens to damage the international exchange in the arts, culture and science. Still, Trump's executive orders do not go unchallenged: Museums and universities refuse to accept this growing isolation without a fight.