Cultural Policy Forums

Cultural Education:
Theory and Practice

The German-Chinese forum 'Cultural Education: Theory and Practice in the German-Chinese Exchange' continues a dialogue started in 2016 by the Mercator Foundation and the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation with the participation of ifa. The forum aims at an exchange about central development tasks of cultural education and the deepening of mutual understanding in a transcultural professional dialogue between teachers, artists and scholars. The dialogue has shown particular potential on the subjects of greater diversity orientation in education and the ability to shape global issues.

Cultural Education – a German Phenomenon?

According to the German understanding, cultural education primarily aims at personal development through and with the arts. At the individual level, it is about the development of aesthetic perception and creative skills and the socialization of cognitive, emotional and unconscious attitudes. The social side of cultural education traditionally comprises inclusion and participation, education in democracy, and more recently sustainability and diversity. Education is thus brought about by artists or through artistic and aesthetic processes.

In international cooperation, the transfer of this concept of cultural education to other culturally and historically-developed educational contexts has repeatedly foundered. The differences thereby revealed have provoked discussion about the social role of creativity and innovative ability, contemporary forms of tradition and the formation of values, sustainability and ecological change. Despite the divergent perspectives in Germany and China, political actors and civil societies on both sides are pursuing the goal of creating a sustainable and future-oriented living environment for coming generations.



Main Topics

  • Cultural Education in Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy (AKBP)


    Intermediary organizations of the AKBP focus on cultural education, on intercultural education and on the importance of cultural and creative competences. The AKBP considers cultural education to be an important prerequisite for constructive cooperation with international partners. It trains sensitivities for creative potential, empathy in social interaction and expressiveness in areas where verbal communication reaches its limits. It also helps to protect cultural diversity and enables cooperation based on an equal footing.


  • Formation of Values


    The debate about forming values in cultural education has become increasingly important in Germany in recent years. It focuses on living together in a globalized and rapidly changing world, social cohesion and diversity in an immigration society. Also discussed are sustainable lifestyles with regard to resource-saving and future-oriented practices.


  • Creativity and Innovation


    New forms of knowledge acquisition and transfer are intended to prepare learners for a changing world of life and work. Creativity and the ability to innovate are linked to formats of cultural education, especially with regard to business and work. But not only creativity and innovation are an economic resource – so too are skills relevant to shaping the future of social interaction at the local and global level.


  • Digitalization


    Digitization in cultural education is changing and expanding not only production and aesthetic reception, but also teaching. Where these processes lead is becoming only gradually apparent. But it is already clear that radically new artistic forms of expression and genres are emerging. This has resulted in new tasks for teaching in formal and non-formal contexts.


Forum for International Cultural Relations

The Forum for International Cultural Relations presents the findings of the research programmes and provides information on ongoing research projects.

Cooperation with

Logo of Stiftung Mercator, © Stiftung Mercator
Funded by Stiftung Mercator

The project is funded by the Mercator Foundation and takes place in cooperation with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation.



Dr. Christina Buck-Rieder

Charlottenplatz 17
D-70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.2225.123