The coronavirus pandemic caused significant damage to artistic production and cultural scenes here in Germany and around the world and made international cooperation almost impossible. With restrictions now lifted, the German Federal Cultural Foundation would like to reboot transcontinental artistic partnerships with a new, long-term programme by building on its experience with previous cooperation-based programmes. In particular, the projects initiated by TURN and TURN2 have shown that global working and thinking spaces are necessary to gain a truly comprehensive view of the challenges facing us today. They have also demonstrated that transcontinental collaborative projects require more time to explore and discuss current issues from contemporary artistic perspectives. Consequently, communication is a genuine component of this programme with the aim of discussing new forms of artistic-cultural cooperation irrespective of theme or artistic genre. Based on their individual profiles and areas of competence, the participating project partners will be able to define their interests in the partnership and without pre-defined thematic focuses. The positions of all the partners should be equitably represented in all phases of project implementation.
The Federal Cultural Foundation is interested in promoting transcontinental partnerships in selected funding regions, namely Africa, central, west and southeast Asia, India, Oceania and Latin America. The concrete terms of the partnerships will be discussed during a consultation process. The programme will facilitate exchange in both directions – from and to Germany, whereby one partner organisation or cultural institution must be headquartered in Germany.
2024 | Preparatory phase: International consultations
For the first time in its funding history, the Federal Cultural Foundation will stage a six-month consultation process prior to the actual application and funding phase of the programme. During this phase, selected international experts will be invited to share their expertise as programme advisors. These could be, for example, institutional leaders, festival organisers, artists, curators, directors or representatives of civic society.
2024 – 2025 | Programme module 1: Research projects
To help new, co-creatively developed projects get up and running, the programme will begin with a one- to eight-month research phase. The focus will be on funding international research endeavours and works stays which promote content-based research, allow participants to become acquainted with the local scene, and initiate and establish long-term partnerships. Institutions and independent groups in Germany and non-European countries are eligible to apply – but not individual persons. Funding for at least 60 research projects is planned.
2026 – 2030 | Programme module 2: Fellows-at-large
For the module “Fellows-at-Large”, the Federal Cultural Foundation will invite distinguished, non-European individuals known for their artistic excellence, accomplishments in organisational renewal or other professional expertise, to complete a one- to two-year work stay at a cultural institution headquartered in Germany. Invitations can be extended in the opposite direction as well: professionals from a cultural institution in Germany may apply to work at a non-European cultural institution.
The fellows-at-large should work at the same hierarchical level as other responsible colleagues in the respective cultural organisation. To help finance publicly impactful formats, the module provides them with a production budget of their own. The fellows can work in the performing arts (as directors or dramaturges), dance (as choreographers), architecture (as experts in urban sustainability or circular economy), museums (as curators or educators) or other cultural institutions which may include everyday and community-related areas of social design. The plan is to fund at least twelve “fellows-at-large” projects lasting up to two years in duration. Only cultural institutions are eligible to apply for this line of funding.
2026 – 2030 | Programme module 3: Transcontinental projects
The focus on transcontinental projects aims to initiate two- to max. four-year tandem partnerships between German cultural organisations or independent groups and non-European cultural organisations in all artistic genres. The partners will jointly decide on which areas they wish to collaborate. Potential areas of collaboration could be, e.g. artistic cooperation on educational methods or a multi-perspective examination of collections. The partnerships could focus on a variety of themes, such as innovative archival work, experiences with migration, artistically guided community spaces, circular economies in architecture and urban development etc. The main focus should always be on exploring intensive tandem relationships which promote fair, sustainable and practical working relations and dialogue, and ultimately lead to joint projects: What do innovative forms of transcontinental collaboration look like beyond clichés, brief visits, out-dated practices of lending or touring? The plan is to fund at least twelve transcontinental projects lasting two- to four-years.
Application and selection procedure for programme modules 1-3
The Federal Cultural Foundation plans to issue a nationwide call for applications for research projects in 2024. Cultural institutions of all artistic genres, as well as independent groups in Germany and the non-European funding regions are eligible to apply. The cultural institutions which are selected for research project funding will be invited to apply to participate in the fellows-at-large and transcontinental projects in 2026. Independent groups awarded research project funding may only apply to participate in transcontinental projects, but not fellows-at-large. Based on the recommendations of an independent jury of experts, the Executive Board will make the final decision on funding applications for research projects, as well as for “fellows-at-large” and “transcontinental projects”.
The individual projects funded through this programme should generate impulses in Germany for innovative formats of exchange with non-European cooperation partners. To ensure that these projects are effectively publicised and appraised by the cultural-political sector, the Federal Cultural Foundation plans to carry out various communication- and knowledge-based formats.
- Conference and working groups
The programme intends to stage a “Conference for Fair and Sustainable Collaborations” on several continents at the same time in 2025. The conference will take place in hybrid format with Germany as the central venue. Numerous personalities from the art and cultural sector, political life and civic society will join audiences in discussing current topics of global cultural exchange and acquainting themselves with selected artistic productions. The conference agenda will also focus on further developing and defining recommendations to ensure fair collaboration and sustainable management in transcontinental partnerships. Following the conference, participants will continue their deliberations in working groups and eventually meet again in a final conference.
- Knowledge transfer in academies and consultations
The Federal Cultural Foundation is developing knowledge-transfer measures in the form of an international academy programme where project participants can discuss and confer on general questions of international collaboration.