Dokter and Misses, Kassena Collection, 2015. Foto: Vatic
Jean P. Mbayo, Tipo Passe (Foto links) / Diogo K. Puenha, Tipo Passe © Edson Chagas, Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg
Tafawa Balewa Square, 2014. Foto: Emeka Ogboh
MwangiHutter, Nothing Solid, 2015, Einkanalvideo, © MwangiHutter
Cinafrika. Under construction. Foto: Daniel Kötter
"Sorry" © Monster Truck
"Dutchman" von Bernard Akoi-Jackson


Fund for artistic cooperation between Germany and African countries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

German cultural organisations in all artistic areas are called upon to engage in new forms of artistic collaboration with African partners. The programme offers incentives primarily to German institutions and artists (museums, theatres, dance companies, art associations, composers, writers, publishers, etc.) to enhance their profile with new themes, working methods and perspectives.

Many museums in Germany have meanwhile turned their attention to the activities taking place in the highly dynamic African art scenes. Closer study of the debates, artistic styles and trends in African countries has proven extraordinarily conducive to honing our view of the artistic positions in the Global South.

A total of 73 projects and research measures has been funded through the TURN Fund. In order to respond to the continued interest in these joint projects and encourage the museums to remain focused on Africa in the long term, the Federal Cultural Foundation has extended the programme with additional funding until 2021 (originally scheduled to end in April 2020).

Between 2012 and 2021, the TURN Fund shall provide funding to artistic projects which represent an innovative contribution toward enhancing Germany's view of contemporary artistic production in Africa, possess high artistic quality and have a public impact in Germany. Each project must request at least 50,000 euros in funding; the applying institution is required to contribute 20 percent of the total cost with capital resources of its own. Applicants from African countries are required to apply together with an institutional partner in Germany.

In the first round of applications, the Foundation awarded one-time funding to project-preparatory research projects. Funding applications for research projects are no longer being accepted.

In order to encourage thematic and artistic exchange between the partners, the Federal Cultural Foundation will organize a series of project-related forums for directors, curators, choreographers, writers, publishers, musicians, designers and filmmakers from the funded projects along with other experts in Germany and the participating African countries.


The following individuals have been appointed to the jury of the TURN Fund:

Sandro Lunin, Zurich: Having worked many years in theatre, e.g. at the Theater am Neumarkt and as co-director of the Schlachthaus Theater in Berne, Lunin was appointed artistic director of the Zurich Theatre Spectacle in 2008, an international festival featuring numerous co-productions and guest performances. Sandro Lunin possesses profound knowledge of the European theatre scene, as well as theatre and dance production in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Elke aus dem Moore, Stuttgart: Head of the Visual Arts Department at the ifa - Institute for international cultural relations since 2008. She is responsible for international exhibitions and funding programs. Prior to her current position, she was Artistic Director of the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and Curator at the Shedhalle in Zurich. Elke aus dem Moore established the artistic platform Prêt-à-partager which deals with art, fashion and art in public space in several African cities. Furthermore, she is the initiator and publisher of "Contemporary and", an online-magazine and virtual artspace on contemporary art seen from African perspectives.

Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Accra/London: Is a writer, director, art historian and curator with expertise in contemporary African art. Her works have been presented at such renowned venues as the New Museum in New York, the NGBK in Berlin, the Tate Modern in London, the KNUST Museum in Kumasi and the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco. Her essays and articles have been published in numerous magazines including Frieze, Kaleidoscope, Arise, National Geographic, The Statesman and African Metropolitan Architecture. She has worked as curator for exhibitions and events at the Liverpool Biennial, the British Museum, the Royal Festival Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum and other venues. She is the founder of the research and art initiative ANO in Accra.

Jay Rutledge, Munich: Ethnologist, music journalist, producer, DJ and curator. Jay Rutledge has mainly worked as a freelance journalist for the Bayerischer Rundfunk since 1996. His main area of interest is urban African music culture. In 2002, he worked as curator for the “Urban Africa” music programme at the Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. In 2004, he started a music label that promotes pop music produced in the metropolitan hubs of Africa. He has recently produced the Grammy-nominated album “I speak fula” by the Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate. Currently he moderates the radio shows “Breitengrad” and “Nachtmix” on Bayern 2 Radio.

At the jury session on 25/26 April 2013, the jury recommended awarding 1.4 million euros in funding to twelve projects in seven German states. The Executive Board of the Federal Cultural Foundation also decided to grant 88,600 euros to eleven research projects.

In the second round of funding, the jury of the TURN Fund awarded a total of 1,787,000 euros to 14 new projects. During its joint session in March 2015, the jury awarded funding to another 15 projects with a total volume of 2,084,800 euros.

The Federal Cultural Foundation has allocated another four million euros in additional funding until 2019, thereby increasing the fund’s capital base to 10.4 million euros. This will permit the TURN Fund to conduct two additional rounds of applications in 2015 and 2016 and continue financing project-related forums.

At its most recent meeting on 15 June 2016, the Board of Trustees agreed to extend the TURN Fund until 2021 (originally scheduled to end in April 2020) with an additional 3.8 million euros which will finance two further rounds of applications.


TURN Meeting #2

took place in june 2016.

TURN Meeting #1

The TURN Meeting #1 On Perspectives, Facts and Fictions, scheduled to take place in Berlin from 26 to 28 June 2014, was a private working conference for all participants of the TURN Fund. The purpose of the “TURN Meeting #1” was to encourage dialogue between the institutions on thematic and methodical matters of their projects and provided insight into the debates and topics with which their colleagues on the continent are involved.

The programme included round-table discussions on various issues and questions, such as:

- Battle Zone of Representation – How Does One Write / Speak / Debate about Africa?
- Curating and Cooperating in Asymmetrical Relationships, Artistic Collaborations – Aesthetic Benefit or Artistic Dead End?
- Who Needs Archives – Creating and Preserving History
- The New “We” – Forms and Cultures of Cooperating
- Mimicry & Mockery – Afro-European Encounters
- Taking Risks. The Role of Risks in Artistic Work

Roundtable Pre-Writing History: Past/Future

The public was cordially invited to attend the round-table event on 27 June 2014 as part of the "TURN Meeting #1”, along with the presentation of the exhibition project "Giving Contours to Shadows":

Teleological notions of time prescribed by the Enlightenment Project dictate that we have ideals, ideas and a concrete imagination about how the future should be (Elisio Macamo in his essay Accommodating Time-Confidence and Trust in African Everyday Life). Events that actually happened cannot be changed. But history can be narrated and written differently with new information, with a new perspective. A backward-oriented perspective is not satisfying for the present but instructive, since it teaches us to carefully reconsider the idea of the future. Can we pre-write future history? Could we write how we want it to be? Does there lie between Idealism and Realism a possible space of negotiation wherein a future history can be pre-written? In the context of Africa, the term “post” is a very important word that automatically connects with the past. Are there possible ways of thinking, where the prefix “post” would no longer be needed? What if we act beyond history, how is a future to be imagined?

Participants: Premesh Lalu (Professor of History, Director Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town), Elvira Dyangane Ose (curator, Tate Modern, London), Greg Tate (writer, musician, New York), Jimmy Ogonga (artist, Nairobi),  moderated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (curator, Art Director SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin)