Youth Culture Chemnitz

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The German Federal Cultural Foundation is accompanying the “Chemnitz European Capital of Culture” festivities with the programme “Youth Culture Chemnitz”. This new programme aims to support artistic projects developed in collaboration with young people and working artists living in and around Chemnitz from 2025 to 2029. In preparation of its commencement, young people from Chemnitz are invited to cultivate contacts and share experiences with the youth culture scenes in the Belgian city of Ghent (2024 European Youth Capital), Lviv in western Ukraine (2025 European Youth Capital) and Nova Gorica in Slovenia (2025 European Capital of Culture along with Chemnitz). Near the end of the programme, a nationwide “Conference on Participatory Aesthetics” will explore the potential of such projects for strengthening social cohesion. Just under seven million euros have been allocated to finance the programme.

In 2025 the German city of Chemnitz and the Slovenian city of Nova Gorica will share the title of “European Capital of Culture”. With its accompanying programme “Youth Culture Chemnitz”, the Federal Cultural Foundation specifically spotlights artistic projects by and for young people. The aim is to augment Chemnitz’s cultural programme by focusing on an additional target group and promoting its development beyond the Capital of Culture year.

Chemnitz is currently grappling with the demographic challenges of an ageing population. Young people have been moving away in droves, and the city has been struggling with increasing political polarisation. Chemnitz’s nomination as a European Capital of Culture offers the city an enormous opportunity to develop comprehensive strategies to shape the cultural future of the city and region. With this programme specifically tailored to young people, the German Federal Cultural Foundation wishes to artistically and conceptually supplement the festival programme and prolong its impact after its conclusion. “Youth Culture Chemnitz” will therefore kick off in 2024 with preparatory conferences (summer schools) as a means to establish contacts to the youth cultural scenes in Belgium and Ukraine. The programme will continue until 2029 with artistic and participatory projects that integrate adolescents from the city of Chemnitz and its surrounding region. 

International Summer Schools, 2024-2026

The central idea behind the “European Capital of Culture” is to get citizens of all ages, backgrounds and languages excited about the cultural wealth, diversity and unity of Europe. To accomplish this, international engagement and dialogue is absolutely essential. Consequently, "Youth Culture Chemnitz" will begin with excursions and exchange with the European Youth Capitals of Ghent, Belgium (2024) and Lviv, Ukraine (2024). The delegation to Ghent will offer these young participants from Chemnitz a chance to learn more about Ghent’s historical, cultural and political background. It will also provide participants with numerous opportunities to experience art and become better acquainted with their fellow European partners – contacts which will potentially play a large role in future visits and partnerships in the coming years. In 2025 additional meetings between young people in the Slovenian city of Nova Gorica – and if possible – the Ukrainian city of Lviv are planned. These conferences will be organised as inclusively as possible – also with respect to language barriers which the programme hopes to surmount.

„urban action“ in Chemnitz, 2024-2029

To strengthen young people’s artistic perspectives of cultural and urban development processes, the “Youth Culture Chemnitz” programme will be creating a meeting place of its own called the “Dezentrale” featuring the complete spectrum of youth culture in Chemnitz. This “third place” of urban activity will serve as a venue for events where participants can organise and manage their projects. This is also where three “Future Curators” will work with and for “Youth Culture Chemnitz”. In collaboration with international partners, their task will be to implement up to 15 new artistic productions in which young people (up to 30 years of age) from Chemnitz and the surrounding region can express their views and concerns.

In addition to cooperating with cultural venues around the city, the project aims to systematically integrate schools and civic organisations. With regard to education and co-creation, the Future Curators will be working closely with artists’ collectives nationwide with expertise in participatory formats, as well as social design students from various universities.

Decisions concerning the selection and design of the individual art projects will be made by the young participants from Chemnitz together with the Future Curators in consultation with the sponsoring association Spinnerei e.V. Since 2014, Spinnerei e.V. has made a name for itself as an initiator of sociocultural and artistic processes and benefits from its proximity to the thriving art and youth scenes of Chemnitz and its immigrant communities.

Projects around the Chemnitz region, 2024-2029

Reflecting the polycentric orientation of the city’s “Capital of Culture” festivities, “Youth Culture Chemnitz” will supplement its programme with a series of art projects staged in the surrounding Chemnitz region. This is also where the mobile participation projectFABMOBIL operates, a group specialised in bringing culture to rural areas in Saxony. “Youth Culture Chemnitz” will build on this tried-and-tested structure and develop its own series of mobile projects called Future Workshops. Over a period of several months, organisers will set up Future Workshops at six locations in the Chemnitz region and offer young people a place to make their own artistic forays – on stage, in band rooms, at DJ sets or in a street-art gallery.

Conference on Participatory Aesthetics

Against the backdrop of projects developed as part of the “Youth Culture Chemnitz” programme, a national conference on the aesthetics and impact of participatory artistic projects is planned in 2027. In collaboration with youth and artists from Chemnitz and international experts from art academies, and scientific, political and administrative organisations and agencies, the conference takes the UN global report “Culture: Urban Future” as the starting point for examining how cultural activities strengthen social cohesion and how dialogue can be encouraged between different social groups. In light of the challenges of transformation facing numerous cities in Germany today, the conference participants will discuss and share their experiences gained in Chemnitz and the activities of the “Youth Culture Chemnitz” to a nationwide audience.


Teresa Darian

Cultural EducationKulturstiftung des BundesFranckeplatz 206110 Halle (Saale)
Tel: 49 (0)345 2997 162E-Mail to Teresa Darian