In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.
New forms of artistic collaboration
German cultural organisations in all artistic areas are called upon to engage in new forms of artistic collaboration with African partners. The programme offers incentives primarily to German institutions and artists (museums, theatres, dance companies, art associations, composers, writers, publishers, etc.) to enhance their profile with new themes, working methods and perspectives.
Dynamic African art scenes
Many museums in Germany have meanwhile turned their attention to the activities taking place in the highly dynamic African art scenes. Closer study of the debates, artistic styles and trends in African countries has proven extraordinarily conducive to honing our view of the artistic positions in the Global South.
A total of 101 projects and research measures has been funded through the TURN Fund. In order to respond to the continued interest in these joint projects and encourage the museums to remain focused on Africa in the long term, the Federal Cultural Foundation has extended the programme with additional funding until 2021 (originally scheduled to end in September 2020).
What is funded?
Between 2012 and 2021, the TURN Fund shall provide funding to artistic projects which represent an innovative contribution toward enhancing Germany's view of contemporary artistic production in Africa, possess high artistic quality and have a public impact in Germany. Each project must request at least 50,000 euros in funding; the applying institution is required to contribute 20 percent of the total cost with capital resources of its own. Applicants from African countries are required to apply together with an institutional partner in Germany.
In the first round of applications, the Foundation awarded one-time funding to project-preparatory research projects.
In order to encourage thematic and artistic exchange between the partners, the Federal Cultural Foundation organized a series of project-related forums for directors, curators, choreographers, writers, publishers, musicians, designers and filmmakers from the funded projects along with other experts in Germany and the participating African countries.
The following individuals have been appointed to the jury of the TURN Fund:
Koyo Kouoh is the founding artistic director of RAW Material Company, a center for art, knowledge and society in Dakar, Senegal, and the curator of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London and New York. She was recently appointed Artistic Director of Fabrica de Sabao, an art & innovation initiative in Luanda, Angola. Kouoh’s engaging theoretical, exhibition making and production practice has significantly contributed to a shift of paradigm in global curatorial perspectives of recent years. She was the curator of “Still (the) Barbarians”, the 37th EVA International, Ireland’s Biennial, and is the initiator of RAW Académie, an international study programme for artistic research and curatorial inquiry in Dakar.
Dr. Yvette Mutumba is an art historian, curator, journalist and author. She is the co-founder and chief editor of the art magazine Contemporary And (C&) and Senior Guest Reseacher of the project African Art Histories and the Formation of a Modern Aesthetic (2015-2018) at the University of Bayreuth. From 2012 to 2016, Mutumba was a curator at the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt a.M. where she co-curated the exhibitions “Ware&Wissen”, “El Hadji Sy: Pating, Performance, Politics” and “A Labour of Love” (nominated for the Global Fine Arts Award 2016). Together with Julia Grosse she curated the “Focus: African Perspectives” of the Armory Show in New York in 2016.
Jan Goossens is the director of the Festival de Marseille, an international performing arts festival, strongly connected to the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa. From 2001 to 2016 he was the artistic director of Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg in Brussels, which he transformed into a multi-disciplinary and multilingual city theater with a long-term exchange programme with Kinshasa and several other Central-African cities. From 2009 to 2015, he co-curated the annual arts festival ‘Connexion Kin’ in Kinshasa. He was the curator of the 2015 edition of ‘Dream City’, the arts biennial in the Medina of Tunis. and will be the curator of its 2017 edition. He is ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ of the French Ministry of Culture.
Jonathan Fischer is a journalist, DJ and painter. Since 1990, he has been working as a free-lance journalist with the focus on African-American, African-Caribbean and African music and culture, among others for Bayerischer Rundfunk, Süddeutsche Zeitung, FAZ, Die Zeit, NZZ. Regular research trips to African countries (Mali, Senegal, DRC, Tanzania, South Africa and others). From 2001 to 2012, he produced radio features about street music in New Orleans, Durban, Havanna, Kinshasa and Bamako. He has been the editor of the Trikont series “Radical Black Music”. Since 2012, he has been active in educational projects with young refugees.
At the jury session on 25/26 April 2013, the jury recommended awarding 1.4 million euros in funding to twelve projects in seven German states. The Executive Board of the Federal Cultural Foundation also decided to grant 88,600 euros to eleven research projects.
In the second round of funding, the jury of the TURN Fund awarded a total of 1,787,000 euros to 14 new projects. During its joint session in March 2015, the jury awarded funding to another 15 projects with a total volume of 2,084,800 euros.
The Federal Cultural Foundation has allocated another four million euros in additional funding until 2019, thereby increasing the fund’s capital base to 10.4 million euros. This will permit the TURN Fund to conduct two additional rounds of applications in 2015 and 2016 and continue financing project-related forums.
At its most recent meeting on 15 June 2016, the Board of Trustees agreed to extend the TURN Fund until 2021 (originally scheduled to end in April 2020) with an additional 3.8 million euros which will finance two further rounds of applications.
TURN Meeting #2
took place in june 2016.
TURN Meeting #1
The TURN Meeting #1 On Perspectives, Facts and Fictions, scheduled to take place in Berlin from 26 to 28 June 2014, was a private working conference for all participants of the TURN Fund. The purpose of the “TURN Meeting #1” was to encourage dialogue between the institutions on thematic and methodical matters of their projects and provided insight into the debates and topics with which their colleagues on the continent are involved.
The programme included round-table discussions on various issues and questions, such as:
- Battle Zone of Representation – How Does One Write / Speak / Debate about Africa?
- Curating and Cooperating in Asymmetrical Relationships, Artistic Collaborations – Aesthetic Benefit or Artistic Dead End?
- Who Needs Archives – Creating and Preserving History
- The New “We” – Forms and Cultures of Cooperating
- Mimicry & Mockery – Afro-European Encounters
- Taking Risks. The Role of Risks in Artistic Work
Roundtable Pre-Writing History: Past/Future
The public was cordially invited to attend the round-table event on 27 June 2014 as part of the "TURN Meeting #1”, along with the presentation of the exhibition project "Giving Contours to Shadows":
Teleological notions of time prescribed by the Enlightenment Project dictate that we have ideals, ideas and a concrete imagination about how the future should be (Elisio Macamo in his essay Accommodating Time-Confidence and Trust in African Everyday Life). Events that actually happened cannot be changed. But history can be narrated and written differently with new information, with a new perspective. A backward-oriented perspective is not satisfying for the present but instructive, since it teaches us to carefully reconsider the idea of the future. Can we pre-write future history? Could we write how we want it to be? Does there lie between Idealism and Realism a possible space of negotiation wherein a future history can be pre-written? In the context of Africa, the term “post” is a very important word that automatically connects with the past. Are there possible ways of thinking, where the prefix “post” would no longer be needed? What if we act beyond history, how is a future to be imagined?
Participants: Premesh Lalu (Professor of History, Director Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town), Elvira Dyangane Ose (curator, Tate Modern, London), Greg Tate (writer, musician, New York), Jimmy Ogonga (artist, Nairobi), moderated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (curator, Art Director SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin)