The programme Digital Culture aims to motivate and support cultural organisations to independently take advantage of the possibilities of digitalisation. At the same time, it encourages them to creatively and critically examine digital culture and develop it further in a community-oriented manner. How can museums, theatres, concert halls and literature houses respond to technological innovations? What forms of presentation, production and communication with visitors can benefit these organisations most? So far, only a few cultural organisations in Germany have developed and instituted digital concepts and services or expanded their activities in this direction. This is mainly due to the fact that artistic administrators lack the competence and expertise to assess and implement these highly-dynamic digital technologies and services. Digital Culture applies an open-access and open-source approach. The programme Digital Culture consists of three components:
I. Digital Fund - Digital Transformation in Cultural Institutions
The application-based “Digital Fund – Digital Transformation in Cultural Institutions” is targeted at cultural organisations in all artistic areas which have already begun developing a digital strategy and have tested and/or implemented digital services, e.g. online collections, social media projects or apps. The “Digital Fund” enables partnerships of at least two cultural institutions to further develop processes of transformation, experiment with new digital aesthetics and forms of expression and enhance their digital profiles. This fund is not intended for cultural organisations which have only just begun developing their digital activities. Furthermore, funding cannot be granted to projects whose exclusive purpose is to digitalise collection holdings.
Funding is awarded to develop and implement digital projects in the areas of digital curating, digital artistic production, digital presentation and communication. The applying institutions should collaborate in partnerships comprised of at least two cultural organisations together with digital experts in order to acquire competence, share knowledge and content, and present their activities in open networks. Such partnerships are eligible to receive up to 880,000 euros from the Federal Cultural Foundation for projects lasting four years. For partnerships with more than two cultural institutions, the maximum funding amount which can be applied for increases by 160,000 euros for each additional organisation. The Digital Fund has a total of 15.8 million euros at its disposal.
To provide potential applicants with information and advice, the Federal Cultural Foundation is organising information tours through Germany. The Foundation will regularly hold Digital Labs to provide ongoing support, encourage exchange between the funded institutions and partnerships, and examine the progress achieved in model projects abroad. It also plans to organise a nationwide Idea Congress comprised of workshops, academic colloquiums, international excursions and advanced training seminars for staff of the cultural organisations.
Digital Fund: Funding requirements
The funding guidelines for the Digital Fund can be downloaded here. The application deadline was 1 July 2019. No further applications rounds are planned.
The following members belong to the “Digital Fund” jury:
Prof. Dr. Ellen Euler, was appointed professor for Open Access/Open Data at the FH Potsdam in July 2017. She studied law with specialisation in information rights. She earned her doctorate with a dissertation titled “Cultural Memory in the Age of Digital and Networked Media and Its Legal Consequences”. Ellen Euler served as the administrative director and deputy managing director during the creation of the German Digital Library.
Prof. Dr. Markus Hilgert, secretary general of the Cultural Foundation of German States, served as director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Museum of the Ancient Near East) at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin until 2017 where he created and developed the project “museum4punkt0 – Digital Strategies for the Museum of the Future”. Markus Hilgert is an honorary professor at the universities of Heidelberg, Marburg and Berlin.
Sabine Himmelsbach has served as director of the Haus der elektronischen Künste (HeK) in Basel since March 2012. From 1999 to 2005 Himmelsbach was the director of the exhibitions department at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe where she curated numerous exhibitions and accompanying programmes on media art-related topics. From 2005 to 2011 Sabine Himmelsbach was the director of the Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art in Oldenburg.
Tobias Rempe is the co-founder and managing director (since 2008) of the chamber orchestra Ensemble Resonanz in Hamburg where he is also responsible for the performance venue “resonanzraum”. Tobias Rempe is currently developing a “digital resonanzraum” in which the Ensemble Resonanz can perform using a diverse array of digital formats and explore the artistic possibilities of a digital space for concert works specifically composed for this venue.
Kay Voges, general theatre director of the Schauspiel Dortmund since 2010, has worked as a director of dramatic arts and opera since 1998. He has staged numerous productions at the Schauspiel Dortmund including “Die Borderline Prozession”, which was invited to the Berlin Theatertreffen in 2017. Kay Voges has received numerous distinctions for his directorial work. In 2013 his production “Einige Nachrichten an das All” was awarded first prize for “Best Production” at the NRW Theatertreffen.
II. Cultural hackathon “Coding da Vinci”
To help institutions learn more about the possibilities of digital technologies, the Federal Cultural Foundation will stage up to eight cultural hackathons entitled “Coding da Vinci” at various locations in Germany. The cultural hackathon “Coding da Vinci” is an event format which brings cultural organisations in all artistic areas together with experts in programming, development, design and computer games. The aim of the module is to make services more accessible and expand the scope of publicly available cultural data. The Federal Cultural Foundation is cooperating with the founding organisations of the cultural hackathon: Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Forschungs- und Kompetenzzentrum Digitalisierung Berlin (digiS). This module has 1.2 million euros at its disposal to finance measures from 2019 to 2022.
Institutions interested in organising a cultural hackathon should contact the Coding da Vinci team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coding da Vinci – The cultural hackathon funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation is a collaboration by the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, the Forschungs- und Kompetenzzentrum Digitalisierung Berlin (digiS), the Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland and Wikimedia Deutschland.
III. Academy of Dramatic Arts and Digitality
The third component of the programme Digital Culture will award 54 scholarships from 2019 to 2021 to enable theatre artists to study at the Academy of Dramatic Arts and Digitality. The academy is currently in the process of being established by the Theater Dortmund, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Dortmund. In cooperation with the German Theatre Association, the Deutsche Theatertechnische Gesellschaft and the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, the academy will be the first and only digital artistic research institution for Germany’s theatres, dedicated to educating and offer continued training to artistic and technical personnel. The artistic research scholarships at the academy will be financed with a total 1 million euros.
The Federal Cultural Foundation has allocated 18 million euros in total to finance the programme Digital Culture from 2018 to 2024.