Interview with Sarah El-Rashidi and others at the Conference "Cultures of We" in Berlin 2017. © ifa

Questions to improve the world?

Part I: What can we do to promote a global sense of community?

ifa | There is no easy answer to the question we asked the participants of the conference "Cultures of We" last September in Berlin. "What can we do to promote a global sense of community," we wanted to know. From getting rid of tribalism up to the power of a common sense of humor – the replies from intellectuals, cultural activists and artists were very different.

Colombian-African cooperation

Recollecting Scattered Seeds in Africa and Colombia

C& América Latina | Molemo Moiloa and Marie Hélène Pereira founded the project Scattered Seeds which examines shared black histories in Colombia, Senegal and South Africa. Besides of getting acquainted with each other the project offers residencies in order to reconnect African roots in the Afro-Colombian community. In his performance 'Hair Combing Cycle 1530' Satch Hoyt The project shows how even everyday actions like combing ones hair can be understood as white oppression of black people.

Photo: William White via Unsplash

European citizens' initiative to protect minorities

One million signatures for diversity in Europe

ifa | More than 50 million citizens of the European Union belong to a national or a language minority. Yet protecting their rights and languages has remained a national matter so far. The Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) wants to bring the subject on the level of the EU. With the citizen initiative “Minority SafePack” they are collecting voices to encourage the European Commission to initiate a legal act for the protection of minorities. FUEN's president Loránt Vincze about the initiative, the current state of the campaign and potential consequences.

An Paenhuysen, Photo: Marko Ercegović, Muzej Savremene Umetnosti Vojvodina, Novi Sad

International Women's Day

Novi Sad: Women Artists, Teeth, and Neo-Feminism

ifa | "Even in our sleeping state we're gendered", thinks the art historian, curator and author An Paenhuysen.  She accompanies the exhibition "Rosemarie Trockel" since 2016. With her feminist art work Rosemarie Trockel often raises controversies. For the opening of the exhibition An Paenhuysen visited Novi Sad, Serbia. She wrote down her thoughts about portraits of men, capitalism in Novi Sad and "neo-feminism".

Shahid Rehmat, Photo: ifa

Interview with Shahid Rehmat

Religious Tolerance for Peace Building in Pakistan

ifa | Shahid Rehmat is the founder of the non-governmental organisation "Youth Development Foundation" in Pakistan. The organisation fosters social cohesion in Pakistani society by initiating a youth-led movement to teardown socio-cultural, religious and communal barriers – cherishing the immense social diversity and countering violent extremism.

Color, paint, brush and paintbrush. Photo: RhondaK Native Florida Artist via Unsplash

ifa Input 1/2018: Mike van Graan Requests a More Inclusive Humanity

Enhancing Cultural Democracy

ifa |"Everyone has the right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community and enjoy the arts" - an important principle of the Universal Human Rights Declaration. But the reality is far from ideal. Mike van Graan sees a huge gap between rich and poor; the Global North and South in terms of who is providing and consuming cultural goods, ideas and values. In the context of the ifa-Research Programme "Culture and Foreign Policy" van Graan reflects on cultural democracy. Referring to his home country South Africa, the author demands enhanced cultural democracy: a more inclusive humanity and a culture of mutual understanding and dialogue.

Airport Tempelhof, Photo: K.H. Reichert (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Berlinale 2018

Lives lived in waiting | ''I'm not out to point the finger'', says Karim Aïnouz about his new movie ''CentralAirport THF''. He follows the life of two refugees who are living in an improvised refugee camp at the old airport Tempelhof in Berlin. During the film, the protagonists are waiting for a decision on their status in Germany. In intimate pictures the movie shows the everyday life at Tempelhof, between hope and resignation. Only five kilometers away from where the movie was shot, it was shown at the Berlinale 2018.

By Alessandro Aceri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Contemporary public art festival "Sud" encourages residents of Douala

Giving Meaning to the City

C& | Initiating a discourse about the townscape through works of art is one aim of Marilyn Douala Manga Bell. She is the current president of Doual’art, the center for contemporary art in the Cameroonian city Douala. The fourth edition of the contemporary art festival "Sud" continues to involve residents in implementing artistic projects in the city. In the interview she talks about the theme of SUD2017, the aims of Doual’art and the positive results of the past festivals. Interview by Yves Makongo

Brexit - Shaken not Stirred. Photo: Ungry Young Man via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Research Programme "Culture and Foreign Policy"

Brexit and Cultural Relations

ifa | Great Britain is leaving the European Union. It is not clear yet which kind of relationships the UK and its EU partners will develop, but it is clear that both sides have to face challenges on many levels. Stuart MacDonald took a closer look on the field of Cultural Relations. In an interview with the ifa he talks about his study "The Impact of Brexit on International Cultural Relations in the European Union" and the meaning of Brexit for UK and Germany.

Photo: Robert Carrubba / Goethe-Institut Kinshasa

Finissage in Kinshasa

Wolfgang Tillmans at Échangeur

ifa | ''For him, each photo is an act of love, respect and a form of embrace between himself and his photographic subjects'', says Patrick Mudekereza, author and cultural producer, about Wolfgang Tillmans. Tillmans' exhibition ''Fragile'' can be seen in the Museum of Contemporary Art and Multimedia in Kinshasa until 18 of February. For Mudekereza the 210 meters tall cement tower of the museum serves as a reminder of Kinshasas power in the country. An essay about an extraordinary exhibition at an extraordinary place.

Photo: ifa/Kuhnle

CCP fellow supports the rights of people with disabilities

The Long Road to Inclusion

ifa | Intuition plays an important role in the life of Yassine Rihani. The 34-year-old Tunisian lost his eyesight in 2006 and has been working as a physiotherapist ever since. As a human rights activist, he also has a feel for the pressure points in society and is committed to supporting the rights of people with disabilities. From October to December 2017 he worked as a CrossCulture Programms fellow at the physiotherapy training centre at Nuremberg Education Centre for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Photo: Vito Barros (CC0 1.0), via unsplash

Working paper

The role of culture in preventing and reducing violent extremism

More Europe | Political scientist Asiem El Difraoui explores how cultural activities and of inter-cultural as well as inter-religious dialogue can help prevent and reduce violent extremism. The working paper includes recommendations for further exploration of the issue by policy-makers, cultural institutions and stakeholders.

Helga Paris: Winsstrasse with Pigeon, 1970s, photo/©: Helga Paris

Exhibition "Helga Paris. Photography" opens at the ifa Gallery Stuttgart

The Pervasive Postwar Mood   

ifa | Alternating between single images and series, the work of Helga Paris presents a pictorial record of German history encompassing more than 30 years. Her photographs report on life in the GDR. They have an additional psychological quality that permits identification in a unique way. This quality derives from Paris’s respect for and appreciation of her subjects, which her pictures in turn are capable of expressing. By Inka Schube

Natalia Sergheev about challenges in Moldova. Photo: ifa

CrossCulture programme: talking with a scholarship holder

A country in transition

ifa | Moldova is a small country hidden between Romania and Ukraine. In the past years the population diminished from four to three million inhabitants. Why do so many people decide to leave the country? In the video CrossCulture scholarship holder and journalist Natalia Sergheev explains why young fellow citizens don't see any future and what role media play in the country.

Sudanese traumatherapist Sally Elgizouli applied her knowledge in a living group in Stuttgart. Photo: Uli Reinhardt

Experiences in a living group in Stuttgart

Art against blockages

ifa | Trauma-Expert Sally Elgizouli believes in art in her therapeutic methods. In her hometown Khartoum, Sudan, she works with refugees. Many of them only stop by here. "How is the rest of their journey? What do they experience? How do they feel when they arrive in Europe or the US?", Sally was wondering many times. When she participated in ifa's CrossCulture Programme she had the chance to get to know realities of refugees in Stuttgart.

Touring exhibition "Rosemarie Trockel" at the Kosovo National Art Gallery. Photo: © ifa/ Ulli Groetz

Touring exhibition arrived in Pristina

Coffee culture and contemporary art

ifa | Provoking, surprising and controversial: ifa's touring exhibition "Rosemarie Trockel" moved from Tirana to Pristina, where the opening took place on 19th December at the Kosovo National Art Gallery. An Paenhuysen accompanies the exhibition with speeches, workshops and guided tours.  In Prisitina she got an insight into the local art scene, met with artists, designers and attended a very special performance. She reports with enthusiasm about Pristina's coffee culture, architecture and exciting encounters.

Photo: Anja Beutler © ifa

Conference addresses upcycling and recycling worldwide

Paper Balls and Plastic Bags – Pure Gold?

ifa | How can trash be turned into pure gold? Why does design thrive on waste? And which role do upcycling and recycling play worldwide? These and other questions were discussed by curators, researches, designers and students in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. The two day conference accompanied the ifa exhibition "Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded!", which will travel around the world for ten years.

Emam Abdelgadir works in the field of peace education. Photo: © Uli Reinhardt

Solving conflicts peacefully

From Student to Trainer

ifa | How can I teach people to detect a rising conflict and solve it peacefully? A question Emam Abdelgadir faces regulary in his daily life. He works as trainer at the Alternative to Violence Project in Sudan and is very active in the field of peace education. It is crucial for him to show people that every little contribution to peace matters. As a scholarship holder in ifa’s CrossCulture Programme Refugees and Migration he shared his knowledge with his colleagues at the organisation Act for Transformation in Aalen.

Photo courtsey of the artist

Eman al-Awami documents her perspective on the situation in Yemen

Through the Eyes of Coffee

zivik | Eman al-Awami was one of the thousands of Yemenis who were harmed by the ongoing war. She lost her job, had to change her daily routine, and had to say goodbye to a number of friends who left the country. Coffee was the only thing that remained the same and didn’t escape. In her photo series "Through the Eyes of Coffee", she reflects her view of the world through the small surface of her coffee in its cup. The series was published in Al-Madaniya, a magazine funded by the ifa progamme zivik.

hands with paint, Foto: Amaury Salas via Unsplash

Call for Art Funding Programmes

International Art

ifa | Artists, actors and cultural practitioners are invited to apply for ifa's art funding programmes. The closing date for the application is 31 January 2018. With the "Exhibition Funding" programme ifa supports projects in foreign countries of contemporary German artists and artists with residence in Germany. The "Artists' Contact" programme supports intercultural exchange among German and international creative artists. Research trips, international events and Workshops are only some possible events to be supported.

Wolfgang Tillmanns. Fragile, poster series, photo: ifa; © Wolfgang Tillmans

Poster series

Wolfgang Tillmans. Fragile

ifa | Wolfgang Tillmans 'Fragile' exhibition is the first one to show the artist on the African continent. On occasion of the presentation of his works in Kinshasa the ifa offers a series of exclusive exhibition posters.

Jordaan, Amsterdam: Religion can be an important part of one's identity - being European another one. Photo: Michael Coghlan (CC-BY-SA 2.0)  via flickr

Pew study forecasts increase of "Muslim population" in Europe

Islam does not stand in antithesis to the West | The number of Muslims in Europe will rise. The result of a recently published study conducted by the Washington based "Pew Research Center" caught the attention of Europe’s press, especially in Germany. But what does that mean for Europe's cultural landscape? Is there a grain of truth in the polemics of right-wing populists? According to Loay Mudhoon we don't really have to fear a demographic shift. In her view, Muslim identities are too diverse to be measured by the same yardstick.

Photo: Slim Emcee (UG) the poet "Truth From

Culture as an instrument of social transformation

The power of hip-hop

EU-LAC Foundation | Twelve Colombian hip hop dancers performed at the "Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government" in Cartagena de Indias in October 2016. Many of the artists grew up in difficult surroundings. Music and dancing were their opportunity to escape from their situation. The possibility of expressing themselves in front of the heads of state was not only a symbol of cultural inclusion, but also the approach to create a respectful dialogue and appreciate cultural diversity. This example does not have to be the only one. In her article, Rebeca Grynspan illustrates how to promote the power of culture and how culture eventually could transform entire societies.

Mary Gina Angaun works for the organisation "International Rescue Committee" (IRC). Photo: © Sascha Montag

CrossCulture Programme Refugees and Migration

The All-rounder

ifa | She supports poor farmers, advocates the prevention of violence against women and is active in a range of other projects – at the organisation "International Rescue Committe" (IRC) Mary Gina Angaun is a real All-rounder. For this global aid organisation for refugees and war victims she organises workshops and trainings. Through ifa's CrossCulture Programme Refugees and Migration she spent two months in Germany. At IRC Berlin she learned a lot about working with refugees. Her German colleagues instead benefited from her broad experience in Uganda.

Photo: Ian Espinosa (CC0), via Unsplash

Former Lebanese Combatants Promoting a Culture of Peace

Fighters for Peace

ifa | For 15 years a civil war raged in Lebanon, until the Taif Peace Agreement sealed its end in 1989 and guaranteed a general amnesty for all those who were involved in the conflict. But the war is still a blind spot in Lebanese collective memory today. In the Lebanese organization Fighters for Peace, former combatants face the past and publicly advocate a culture of peace and reconciliation in Lebanon. The project is currently supported by the ifa funding programme zivik.

Christmas fair in Lviv; Photo: picture alliance /

Festivals Around the World

Christmas in Lviv

ifa | In Ukraine, according to the Julian calendar the first day of Christmas falls on the 7th of January. The western Ukrainian metropolis Lviv is different from other regions. Besides having a rich multicultural past, the majority of the people profess to the Greek-Catholic church.
The Ukrainian poet, translator and essayist Ostap Slyvynsky takes on an imaginary journey to Lviv during Christmas time.

Site plan of the Humboldt Forum, Berlin, photo/© SHF / Architekt: Franco Stella mit FS HUF PG

Art as a way out of the crisis of representation?

Decolonising ethnological museums

ifa | Dealing with ethnological collections in science and society has become a controversial subject, as the history of ethnological museums is inseparably linked to Eurocentrism and colonialism. Dominant narratives have consistently been reproduced. How can museums encounter this past? Can the transformation of a colonial institution into a space for post-colonial discourse be successful? What are the challenges at the interface of ethnological museums and art?

CCP Fellow Ashwaq Al-Gobi at the Workshop in Stuttgart, November 2017 © ifa / Kuhnle

German construction sites as a symbol for a peaceful Yemen of the future

'Yemen needs peace to breathe'

ifa | 'While there is development in Germany, you can only find destruction in Yemen', says Ashwaq Al-Gobi. The young CrossCulture fellow comes from the crisis-ridden Yemen. Since 2015, the southernmost country of the Arabian Peninsula has been experiencing one of the world's biggest humanitarian crises. In November 2017, we met Ashwaq during our intercultural workshop to talk about the conflict in Yemen and her experiences in Germany.
Interview by Christina Palau

Interview with Richard Higgott, emeritus professor of international political economy

Resistance against Growing Nationalism, Nativism and Protectionism

Culture and Populism

ifa | For Richard Higgott, emeritus professor of international political economy, the cultural sector plays a special role in the resistance against movements which constitute a danger to democracy. "My intuitive assumption is that certain elements of the arts and the cultural industries will always play powerful roles in resisting different kinds of ideas", says the expert in ifa's research programme "Culture and Foreign Policy". In the report "Populist-Nationalism and Foreign Policy. Cultural Diplomacy, International Interaction and Resilience" he captures the essence of the so-called "populist nationalist zeitgeist" together with his colleague Virginia Proud. And he explains how one can face nationalist actors in foreign cultural policy.
Interview by Isabell Scheidt, Sarah Widmaier and Siri Gögelmann

Turn Your View of the World on Its Head

"The Living Library"

ifa | Very special books were borrowed in the ifa Library in Stuttgart on 7 September. The "books" – all in some way linked to ifa and the CrossCulture Programme – were real people. Coming from the Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Pakistan and other countries, the "books" had their own (cultural) identity, so that the dialogue opened up new angles and perspectives for the readers. The "Living Library" was the fifth stop of the CrossCulture Tour 2017.

Photo: Wolfgang Kuhnle

Call for Applications

CrossCulture Programme 2018

ifa | Young professionals and volunteers from Germany and abroad can now apply for the ifa CrossCulture Programme 2018. Politics, human rights and peace, sustainable development or media and culture – CrossCulture offers intercultural exchange and professional experience in different cultural contexts and work areas. Deadline for applications is 12 January 2018. Who can apply? What documents do I have to submit? For more information, please see the call for applications.

Photo: Austin Ban (CC0), via Unsplash

Isatou Joof is taking care of women in need

"We Help Everyone"

ifa | People celebrate Halloween in autumn every year to scare off evil spirits. In the German reception centre of the Red Cross in Brandenburg, they are warded off every day: The 27-years-old Isatou Joof from Gambia is taking care of women in need. She is one of this year's fellows of the ifa CrossCulture Programme CCP Refugess and Migration.
By Jan Rübel

© Caritas international/Caritas Freetown 2017

Humanitarian Assistance

Emergency relief: Sierra Leone after the landslide

ifa | On August 14, 2017 a heavy landslide occurred in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Local authorities report more than 1.000 victims. Humanitarian assistance aims at alleviating the suffering of people in need as a result of natural disasters like this. With its corresponding funding programme, ifa supports projects that provide fast, needs-based assistance. A report on Sierra Leone
By Karin Kathöfer


Pure Gold Picture Gallery

About the art of recycling waste creatively

ifa | Waste, its disposal and recycling have been on the global agenda for a long time. The exhibition format Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! shows how to face the problem creatively. Regarding the aspect of sustainability, designers from all over the world present art made from waste. The touring exhibition officially started in Hamburg and will be continued for the next ten years at different venues. The picture gallery presents first results of the exhibition opening at the 'Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe MKG'.

Photo: Ricardo Gomez Angel (CC0 1.0), via Unsplash

European Education Area

Strengthening European Identity

European Commission | "Education and culture are the key to the future – both for the individual as well as for our Union as a whole", European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in the margins of the leaders' meeting in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017. The summit focused on EU efforts and ideas to improve the European Agenda in the area of education and culture – and thereby strengthening the sense of European identity. As a contribution to the summit in Gothenburg, the European Commission set out its vision of a European Education Area by 2025.

Exhibition Rosemarie Trockel, Tirana; Photo: © Ulli Groetz

Exhibition opening: Rosemarie Trockel

Tirana: Rosemarie Trockel, Pyramids and Pomegranates

ifa | A  counterposition to a largely male-dominated art scene: with her feminist art work Rosemarie Trockels often raises controversies. The ifa touring exhibition now arrived in Albania's capital Tirana. The Berlin-based art historian, curator and author An Paenhuysen accompanies the exhibition since 2016. Besides the opening ceremony, press conference and guided tours she gave a workshop at the University of Arts and did a portfolio viewing with art students from Tirana. With  enthusiasm she reports on her journey and gives a deep insight into her experiences.

Architect Bijoy Jain in an interview sitting in his exhibition at ifa Gallery Stuttgart

Local Resources and Traditional Handicrafts

Contemporary Architecture from India

ifa | In order to "explore thoughts and ideas", Bijoy Jain founded the "Studio Mumbai" in 2005. Carpenters, roofers, bricklayers, plumbers and many other artisans work in the architectural office aside from architects. The co-creation enables creative processes and designs that combine tradition and modernity. In the exhibition "Between the Sun and the Moon" the ifa Gallery Stuttgart presents the working processes and sources of inspiration of the Indian architect and his team as well as various materials, tools and color samples. The exhibition is part of the "Architekturnovember", organised by the Association of German Architects Baden-Württemberg.
Interview by Constant Formé-Bècherat und Siri Gögelmann

Comment on European Development Policy

More Development – More Migration?

SWP | To what extent does socio-economic development promote or reduce migration? The so-called migration hump and its significance for European development policy co-operation with Sub-Saharan Africa is addressed in a paper recently published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). As the authors point out, it is problematic when policy makers assume stopping development aid will stop migration. It is evident that migration decisions are also influenced by further factors.

Chandran Nair, founder of the 'Global Institute For Tomorrow', holding a keynote on a stage during the conference 'Cultures of We' in Berlin

Chandran Nair about the Illusion of Globalism

How to Accept the Others

ifa | 'I don't like the idea of "we"', Chandran Nair said at the beginning of the international symposium 'cultures of we' on the 13 September in Berlin, Germany. In his keynote the Founder and CEO of the independent pan-Asian think tank 'Global Institute For Tomorrow', discussed the link between populism and postcolonialism. He calls to see people how they are and to accept the world as it is.

Brexit, photo: Jonathan Rolande (CC BY 2.0), via Flickr

Research Programme 'Culture and Foreign Policy'

The Impact of Brexit on International Cultural Relations in the European Union

ifa | 'Cultural cooperation will inevitably suffer from reduced freedom of movement, less money from loss of access to EU programmes, tariffs on trade in cultural goods and services, and increased bureaucracy from the introduction of customs checks.' There is a great deal of common ground and existing collaboration between Germany and the UK in the main areas of international cultural relations. This collaboration is supported by a range of instruments, some of which are at risk from Brexit, some of which are not directly impacted by Brexit. Which consequences will Brexit have for cultural cooperation between Germany and the UK? Which consequences are actual, which are only potential? How can Germany’s foreign cultural policy react at the initial stage of this process? How can intercultural exchange be secured with a long-term perspective despite Brexit?
Study by Stuart MacDonald

Photo: © Matthias Völzke

Under the Mango Tree - Sites of Learning

What does education mean to you?

ifa | What about the state of education in the arts? During the documenta 14 international educators, cultural producers, artists and scholars discussed this question. The experimental and artistic exchange took place as the documenta itself in Athens and in Kassel. Following the slogan of the event 'Under the Mango Tree – Sites of Learning' it was held outdoors, surrounded by trees.
By Aïcha Diallo

Wartburg in Eisenach, Photo: Thomas Şindilariu

Report on the ifa special interest tour "500 years of the reformation in Germany"

Phenomenon Reformation

Here in Germany, the Reformation is, in particular, being commemorated as a social, political and cultural phenomenon. Does this perhaps explain why the churches are empty while the commemoration of the reformation is being celebrated as a huge cultural event? A special interest tour with international experts didn't just look into this intriguing question.

Citizen dialogue "Which Europe do we want?", Freiburg 2017. Photo: © Thomas Kunz

Citizen dialogue

Diplomats close up: A conclusion

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

A bridge between two worlds

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.

Franz Erhard Walther: Action Bodies (Handlungskörper), 1969, cotton textile sewed; Photo: Uwe Walther, © (Franz Erhard Walther) VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2017

Exhibition: World premiere in Dresden

Action Bodies

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".

Panel discussion 

"7 Billion Voices in a Multipolar World"

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.

Photo: © Matthias Völzke

Under the Mango Tree - Sites of Learning

Centering Indigenous Bodies, Thought and Practice

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.

Photo: Oliver Killig

CrossCulture Tour - picture gallery

'Theatre of the Oppressed' by Ramshid Rashidpour, Iran

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 Nour Eddine Bellahbib in Stuttgart, July 2017. Photo: © ifa/ Kuhnle

CrossCulture fellow about his experience 

A Moroccan Perspective on Migration

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



Photo: Toussaint Ruggeri (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)  via Flickr

The EU in the wake of Brexit

What holds Europe together?

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.

Volker Albus: www/www we want wind/we want water, cork balls, 2015; photo: Philip Radowitz, © Volker Albus/Philip Radowitz


Pure Gold or: Why It Is Worthwhile to Sometimes Pay More Attention to Domestic Waste

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.

Photo: Jocelyn Kinghorn (CC BY-SA 2.0)  via Flickr

Biennial Conference: „Curating Under Pressure“

On the ethics of curating

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.

Medina in Tunis. © Humpert


A mouthpiece for the medina

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.

Karim Ghantous (CC0 1.0) via Unsplash

Reading in times of conflict

Kurdistan's Book Café | 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

CCP fellow Amur Alrawahi at the workshop in Stuttgart, July 2017 © ifa / Kuhnle

Young professionals abroad

From the Omani desert into German forest

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

Darul Aman Palace in Kabul; Photo: Bruce MacRae (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), via Flickr


The strong women of Darul Aman | '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

Kimberly Farmer (CC0 1.0) via Unsplash

A Fresh Look at Crisis Prevention

'PeaceLab 2016'

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.

[Translate to English:] Besichtigung der Ausstellung "Future Perfect" mit Lilian Scholtes in Guadalajara, Mexiko, 2017 © FototecaMusa/Nayeli Huizar

Contemporary Art from Germany in Mexico

"Imaginar para Imaginar" – A Workshop with Lilian Scholtes

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".

The Leeds Library; Photo: © Michael D. Beckwith, CC0 1.0 via Flickr


It's education, stupid | 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.

Dieter Reinl, Federal Foreign Office; Sophie Haring, University of Passau; Valentin Naumescu, Babeș-Bolyai-University Cluj; Photo: ifa / Hochstätter

Foreign Policy live

Dialogue between citizens and foreign policy: expectations and reality

| 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

Rafah, Gaza; Photo: DYKT Mohigan (CC BY 2.0), via Flickr

Comedy made in Gaza

No escaping life in Gaza | 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

[Translate to English:] Crowd, Standing, People, Hand and Raise. Foto: Edwin Andrade via Unsplash

 German civil society international

A conversation on the new foreign policy

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?

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