Martin Roth Symposium

What can culture do?


Date: 22-23 June 2018 
Venue: Kraftwerk Berlin, Köpenicker Str. 70, 10179 Berlin

Friday 22 June



Beginning of conference

15.00 - 15.30

Main Stage: Welcoming

  • Ulrich Raulff, President, ifa
  • Bill Sherman, Director, Warburg Institute London
  • Dimitri Hegemann, Director, Kraftwerk Berlin

Short Inputs

15:30 – 16:30

5-7 minutes each

  • Paolo Baratta, President, La Biennale di Venezia
  • Sunil Khilnani, Professor of Politics and director of the King's College London India Institute 

16.30 – 17:00


Session 1: National treasures without nationalism

There is a human quest for belonging and identity. Cultural objects and practices serve as point of reference for social cohesion. However: How to respect national heritage without falling into the trap of nationalist attitudes? How could they be accessed across national boarders? Are there new ways of sharing national heritage? What kind of curatorial practices and projects help unlocking exclusive mentalities? What do we know about the economy of objects and how could it be dealt with – or may be even changed? What other kinds of reference frames could be thought of outside the national paradigm? 

17:00 – 18:00

  • Kurt Huebner, Professor of European Studies and the Jean Monnet Chair at the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Zelfira Tregulova, Director, State Tretyakov Gallery
  • Giorgia Abeltino, Director Public Policy, Google Cultural Institute 

18:00 – 19.00

Break out Session 1

  • Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Director, MAK, Vienna
  • Wilhelm Krull, Secretary General, Volkswagen Foundation
  • Pepe Serra Villalba, Director, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya 
  • tbc 

19.00 - 21.00


Saturday 23 June 

11.00 –12.00

Admission, get together and brunch

Session 2: Turning the museum inside out - Broader access and new audiences

More and more museums consider themselves to be also spaces for knowledge production, research and discourse. One of Martin Roths legacies is innovating audience development. How could they reach out to broader and more diverse audiences; in the words of Martin Roth: democratize design? The concept of "museum inside out" was his way of asking how to make museums and their ways of knowledge production and discourse more transparent and accessible – last not least for the next generation. How can museums internationally be better connected? What are best practices and what are the challenges of making objects available online? 

12.00 – 13.00 

  • Suay Aksoy, President, ICOM
  • Mariët Westermann, Executive Vice President for Programs and Research, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Wim Pijbes, Managing Director, Foundation Dream and Do

13.15 – 14.00

Break out Session 2

  • Stefan Simon, Director, Global Cultural Heritage Initiatives, Yale University tbc
  • Johannes Vogel, General Director, Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin
  • Kavita Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi School of Arts & Aesthetics, University, New Delhi School of Arts & Aesthetics

Session 3: Design-protest-dissent: cultural activism rethought

Art corresponds to the world and at the same time creates it. Not only artists as individual human agents though, but also objects have an ability to break out of the boundaries we place upon them and take on a life of their own. How to cherish this "disobedience of objects"? Are their specific contextual practices needed? Design thinking relates to the intrinsic relation between artist, cultural practices and objects. What skills does creative disobedience take, how could it be fostered? What can even be done with most limited resources? 

14.15 – 15.15 

  • Sunil Khilnani, Avantha Professor & Director, India Institute, King's College London; author of 'The Idea of India and Incarnations'
  • Nico Daswani, Head of Arts and Culture, World Economic Forum
  • Mateo Kries, Director, Vitra Design Museum

15.30 – 16.15 

Break out Session 3

  • Caroline Emcke, author 
  • Catherine Flood, Curator, V&A
  • Jonathan Ledgard, Director, Rossums

Session 4: Cooperating - culture for the sake of global public goods

Culture and design can build bridges between societies. They can provide opportunities for dialogue and encounter in circumstances that are challenged in other areas. 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? Are their demarcation lines for cooperation?

16.30 – 17.30 

  • MA Yansong, Architect, MAD architects 
  • Melissa Chiu, Director, Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer, Victoria and Albert Museum

17.45 – 18.30

Break out Session 4

  • Benita von Maltzahn, Director Global Corporate Citizenship, Volkswagen Group
  • Prof. Dr. Mareile Flitsch, Director, The Ethnographic Museum at the University of Zurich

Wrap up

18.45 – 19.15

Main stage

  • Andreas Goergen, Head of Directorate-General for Culture and Communication at the Federal Foreign Office
  • Stefan Koldehoff, art historian, cultural correspondent for the Deutschlandfunk and author 

19.30 - 21.00

Festive Dinner


Music (main stage)