Image and Space

Abteibergmuseum Mönchengladbach Skulptur im öffentlichen Raum, Thomas Rentmeister, 2002, Schenkung des Museumsvereins, Foto Jörg Hejkal, VG Kunst, Bonn 2010

International Museum Fellowship

Funding programme for museums and public collections

The Federal Cultural Foundation’s International Museum Fellowship programme offers museums and public collections in Germany the opportunity to hire young, top-level foreign researchers and curators to work at their organizations.

The goal of the fellowship programme is to encourage German museums to internationalize their topics, working methods and areas of emphasis and support them in applying new approaches to their established organizational structures. The programme also aims to improve intercultural competence within the museums themselves, as well as strengthen international networks between scientists, curators and museologists. A total of 18 fellowships go toward funding project-based work and research at state or municipal museums, collections or exhibition halls for a period of 18 months.

For the fellows – outstanding young researchers, curators or museologists who already have initial working experience – this programme offers them the chance to gain further professional experience at a German museum, become acquainted with the latest scientific and methodological developments in his/her field in Germany, and establish contacts to colleagues and institutional partners for possible international joint ventures in the future. The fellowship holder will oversee a project under the supervision of a mentor, who works in a responsible position at the museum. Applying her or his relevant expertise, the fellowship holder will carry out independently the project related to the main areas of the museum’s exhibition, research and collection activities.

As part of the International Museum Fellowship Programme, the Federal Cultural Foundation organized a six-part event series titled “Fellow Me! The International Museum Academy Programme” from May 2013 to October 2014 to provide professional support to the fellows, promote international contacts and encourage discussion regarding museum-relevant issues. In addition to workshops and excursions for all the fellows and their mentors, expert colloquiums and discussion events took place. The website documents the fellowship programme’s Mobile Academy.

Furthermore, the Federal Cultural Foundation aims to increase the continued impact of the programme by funding up to ten follow-up projects. When the fellowship funding period concludes, the participating museum can apply for funding for a follow-up exhibition, carried out independently by the fellowship holder. The idea is to intensify the project-related collaboration between the fellow and the museum beyond the fellowship period, as well as increase the visibility of new forms of museum work in public.

With regard to fellowships and funding follow-up projects, the board of trustees of the Federal Cultural Foundation based its decisions on the recommendations of a five-member independent jury of experts: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Borsdorf, former director of the Essen Ruhrmuseum Foundation; Julia Pattis, cultural scientist and trainee at the German Kinemathek – Film and Television Museum, advisory board member in the Museum Assistance working group at the German Museums Association with focus on international exchange; Prof. Dr. Klaus Schneider, director of the Rautenstrauch – Joest – Museum – Kulturen der Welt; Dr. Perdita von Kraft, former director of the Kunstmuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus; Prof. Thomas Weski, professor of Curatorial Cultures at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig.

The Federal Cultural Foundation has allocated 2.58 million euros to fund the International Museum Fellowship from 2011 to 2016. Each fellowship awarded by the Federal Cultural Foundation is worth 71,300 euros. Follow-up exhibitions may receive funding of up to 50,000 euros each.

The fellowship programme is offered by the Federal Cultural Foundation with support from the Goethe-Institut.

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