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What Can Culture Do?

This two-day symposium will bring together leaders from the cultural, academic, artistic and political sectors to share ideas and future scenarios close to Martin Roth’s work and convictions. The participants will showcase good practice and address challenges, opening space for controversial views and generating new energy for international cultural politics. Join us to honour and commemorate the legacy of one of the most innovative museum directors and cultural policy makers: Martin Roth.

The panels will address a number of areas where Martin Roth made successful, provocative contributions: How can museums be made more transparent and connected? How can culture and design be used to build bridges between societies? How can national heritage be respected without falling into the trap of nationalist attitudes? And last but not least, how can the disobedience of objects be cherisched, their ability to break out of the boundaries we place upon them and take on a life of their own?

The discussions about these questions will address the opportunities that culture provides through its qualities of opening, engaging, relating and fostering cooperation.


Das gibt es zu sehen

40 renommierte Speaker aus den Bereichen Kunst, Kultur und Wissenschaft

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Friday, 22.June 2018
14:00 - 15:00 Time - Kraftwerk
15:00 - 15:30 Time - Main Stage: Welcome

Beginning of Conference

Giorgia Abeltino
Paolo Baratta
Main Stage: Welcome 1. Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State for International Cultural Policy, Federal Foreign Office 2. Ulrich Raulff, designated President, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) 3. Bill Sherman, Director, Warburg Institute London 4. Dimitri Hegemann, Director, Kraftwerk Berlin 5. Nick Mason, drummer and archivist, Pink Floyd
16:00 - 17:00 Time - Mainstage
Cultural objects serve as points of reference for social cohesion and national identity. How can we celebrate national heritage without falling into the trap of nationalist attitudes? How can our national treasures be accessed across national boarders? Are there new ways of sharing national heritage? What kinds of curatorial practices and projects help to prevent exclusive mentalities? What do we know about the economy of objects and how can this economy of objects be dealt with – or maybe even changed? What other frames of reference could be thought of outside national paradigms? 1. Kurt Hübner, Professor of European Studies and the Jean Monet Chair, Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia The Return of Borders – Nationalism, Populism and the Project of European Integration 2. Zelfira Tregulova, Director Tretjakov Gallery, Moscow Bridges and Borders - What Can Culture Do Today 3. Wayne Modest, Head of the Research Center for Material Culture, the research institute of the Tropenmuseum, Museum Volkenkunde and Africa Museum Contemporary Conjunctures: Objects, (trans)-Nationalism and the Question of the Colonial Past in the Present 4. Sigrid Weigel, (Former Director of) Research Centre of Literature and Culture, Berlin Culture and Thinking in Transition - the European Intellectual Heritage of Aby Warburg
18:00 Time
1. Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Director, MAK, Vienna Back to the Future: Learning by Deconstructing National Treasures 2. Pepe Serra Villalba, Director, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya Reinterpreting the National Treasure Collection 3. Giorgia Abeltino, Director Public Policy Google Arts & Culture Culture to Build Bridges 4. Andreas Beyer, Professor for Art History at the University of Basel Art and Nationhood. Can Artistic Styles Be National?
19:00 - 21:00 Time
Saturday, 23.June 2018
11:00 - 12:00 Time
12:00 - 13:00 Time
Museums are collections of objects but they are also spaces for knowledge production, research and discourse. Martin Roth often spoke of his desire to ‘turn the museum inside out’: this was his way of asking how we can make museums, their collections and the knowledge carried within them more transparent and accessible—not least for new generations. How can they open up for more diverse audiences? How can museums be better connected internationally? What are best practices and what are the challenges of making objects available online?
13:15 - 14:00 Time
14:15 - 15:15 Time
One of the most successful exhibitions during Martin Roth’s tenure at the V&A was called Disobedient Objects. It showed how political protest and social action involve design; but it also showed how objects have an ability to break out of the boundaries we place upon them and take on a life of their own. How can we cherish this disobedience of objects? Are specific contextual practices needed? Design thinking relates to the intrinsic relation between artist, cultural practices and objects. What skills does creative disobedience require, how could it be fostered? What can even be done with most limited resources?
15:30 - 16:15 Time
16:30 - 17:30 Time
Culture and design can build bridges between societies, even those for whom political discourse has broken down. They can provide opportunities for dialogue and cooperation in even the most challenging circumstances. What are best practices for displaying cultural practices as practices for the common public good? What challenges need to be acknowledged? How could they be overcome?
17:45 - 18:30 Time
18:45 - 19:15 Time - Main Stage
19:30 - 21:00 Time
Round of interviews: take off
21:00 - Time
Yannik Ballmann Trio End of the Symposium
Wednesday, 29.January 2020
16:08 Time

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About ifa

ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) is Germany’s oldest intermediary organisation for international cultural relations. It promotes a peaceful and enriching coexistence between people and cultures worldwide. ifa supports artistic and cultural exchange in exhibition, dialogue and conference programmes, and it acts as a centre of excellence for international cultural relations. It is part of a global network and relies on sustainable, long-term partnerships.

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