The Federal Cultural Foundation invited representatives from all the organizations which have received funding from the New Länder Fund to participate in a forum titled "Involvement in Culture - Perspectives in East Germany" on 29 and 30 June 2007. The goal of the forum was to intensify the exchange of information and experience, analyse the development of currently-funded projects and discuss the future perspectives of citizen involvement in culture. The meeting was held during this year's Stelzen festival BEI REUTH in Thuringia which has also received funding from the New Länder Fund.

The closed meeting began with two lectures by Kristina Volke from Berlin and Klaus Winterfeld from Dresden who outlined new impulses in citizen involvement in culture. The forum concluded the next day with a discussion about the participants' specific experience with the demands of citizen-driven cultural work in urban and rural areas.

"Cultural Spaces in the City"
The New Länder Fund supports many organizations whose cultural projects have breathed new life into the buildings and social venues where they take place. Some organizations had to look for a suitable location before they could stage their projects, while others had access to a vacant building which served as a starting point for their cultural projects. Some have established new cultural venues, while others have helped preserve historic landmarks by performing in them - and the range of venues includes everything in between. Three organizations that operate at cultural venues in Jena, Weimar and Plauen introduced their work in a presentation titled "Cultural Spaces in the City". The "ACC-Galerie" in Weimar came into being as a result of house-squatting. The "Glashaus im Paradies" in Jena was used for cultural events to preserve the pavilion, while organizers in Plauen opened the exhibition room "Forum Kunst" in a vacant store in a shopping district. In the discussion that followed, the forum's participants examined how these three examples of self-organized urban cultural spaces and their development related to the "impulse" lectures of the previous evening.

"Village Goes Cultural"
As an example of culture in rural areas - and fitting to the rural setting of Stelzen - three organizations from Brandenburg demonstrated how they have succeeded in involving their villages in their activities. Following the presentation, the participants discussed how these practical examples correlated with or even exceeded the theoretical considerations proposed in the "impulse" lectures. What are the special conditions for culture in rural areas and how can one motivate an entire village, or in other words, what is it that motivates a village to become involved in a cultural event?

Following the forum, the Federal Cultural Foundation held a press conference in the Stelzen festival tent at which it described the work and projects funded by the New Länder Fund and reported on the results of the meeting. The podium members included: Alexander Farenholtz (Executive Board / Administrative Director of the Federal Cultural Foundation), Dr. Werner von Trützschler (head of the section for culture, art and church affairs in the Thuringian Ministry of Cultural Affairs), Henry Schneider (founder of the Stelzen Festival BEI REUTH), Eva Maria Gauß and Dr. Holger Kube Ventura (representatives of the Programme Department at the Federal Cultural Foundation) and Christina Tast (representative of the Festland Association and forum speaker). Following the press conference, the Federal Cultural Foundation invited all artists and municipal, state and federal cultural policymakers to a reception at which they had the opportunity to get to know each other and exchange information. After the reception, the participants were invited to see the world premiere of the opera buffa "La Neuberin" - one of the many projects at the Stelzen Festival BEI REUTH funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation's New Länder Fund.


Uta Schnell
Kulturstiftung des Bundes

Franckeplatz 2

06110 Halle (Saale)

Tel.: 49 (0)345 2997 118

Fax.: 49 (0)345 2997 333