The new international programme focus of the Federal Cultural Foundation aims to explore the cultural relationship between Germany and nations in Africa and promote artistic exchange and cooperation between African and German artists and institutions in the coming years.

Highly dynamic African art scenes

The programme was launched in response to a remarkable development. In recent years, a young generation of artists and curators in numerous African countries, such as Senegal, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, the Republic of Congo and South Africa, has opened numerous centres of art, photography, dance, performance and film. Many of these new institutions address the forms and demands of contemporary art or the social relevance of artistic endeavour. Archives represent an important area which requires further development, as these serve as storehouses of cultural memory and self-written history. In practice, African governments have responded by establishing libraries and collections, new publications and publishing houses, cultural education programmes and artistic actions in public venues or historically controversial locations. As a reaction to globalisation, many artists – particularly in the fields of fine arts and dance – are discussing the value of Africa’s artistic traditions and customs, and are critically reflecting on the predominance of European-Western discourse and funding programmes. In this context, representatives from various African centres are participating in international debates and operating artistic networks.

The Global South

Cultural institutions in Germany have become increasingly aware of the resurgent cultural optimism in Africa for some time now. They are actively engaging in dialogue with artists and intellectuals who have gained influence as forerunners and pioneers of a new political culture in present-day Africa. The interest in the forms of expression and themes of contemporary artists, musicians, writers and theatre artists from African countries is growing as their involvement in the dynamics of cultural processes becomes increasingly relevant on a global scale.

Artistic collaborations

This trend has resulted in a wide range of artistic collaborations between Africa and Europe. In their joint projects, cultural producers are intensively discussing the framework for transcontinental exchange which continues to be tainted by colonialism. Their projects also examine new phenomena and challenges, for example, with regard to the culture of “Afropolitanism” (the African version of cosmopolitanism), the social architecture of megacities, experiences of migration and attitudes towards homosexuality.

With its international programme focus on Africa, the Federal Cultural Foundation wishes to strengthen and support these impulses and developments. To this end, the TURN Fund was established in 2012. Since 2013 the Federal Cultural Foundation has been actively cooperating with the pan-African magazine Chimurenga. In addition, the Foundation has organised several forums which serve to forge contacts and promote dialogue between the funded cooperation partners.

  • The TURN Fund was established in 2012 with the purpose of promoting artistic exchange and cooperation between German and African artists and institutions. Click here to view the funding guidelines, application requirements or more information about the programme, funded projects and research endeavours.

  • In order to publicize the funded projects in Germany and increase awareness of the art scenes and cultural debates in African countries, the Federal Cultural Foundation is cooperating with the art and cultural magazine “Chimurenga” as part of its focus on Africa. Chimurenga, winner of the Prince Claus Award in 2011, enjoys an especially large readership in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria and is regarded as one of the most fascinating pan-African publications of a new generation of African intellectuals. The Federal Cultural Foundation supports the Chronic Chimurenga, an English-language gazette launched in 2013 and published in Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi.

  • In order to promote more intensive thematic and artistic exchange, the Federal Cultural Foundation has begun to organise “TURN Meetings” to bring together curators, choreographers, writers, publishers, musicians, designers and filmmakers from the funded projects, and other international experts.
    In 2012 the Federal Cultural Foundation collaborated with the Raw Material Company - Center for Art, Knowledge and Society in Dakar and the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg in hosting the three-day symposium Condition Report on the situation of art institutions in African countries.