BERLIN | Every year the German government‘s cultural ministry allocates 35 percent of its budget to the Federal Cultural Foundation which promotes cultural exchange and cross-border promotion. In 2012, this foundation took an interesting turn. Literally.
It established TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries. The aim: “to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.”
Why? In recent years, a young generation of artists and curators from numerous countries in Africa have founded new centers of contemporary art, photography, dance, performance and film. These centers seek artistic exchange with others in Africa, as well as Latin America, Asia, the United States and African diaspora communities around the world. This is an amazing development: new news out of Africa. These young Africans are starting libraries and collections, producing films, organizing festivals, exhibitions and education programs.
Germans took notice. The Federal Cultural Foundation creates a fund that promotes artistic exchange and cooperation between artists and institutions from Germany and African countries. What follows is a call to German cultural organizations in all artistic areas to engage in new forms of artistic collaboration with African partners. The TURN program 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. But really, you don’t have to be German, but your company needs to be based in Germany.
I am ineligible again! I am moving to Germany now!
Between 2012 and 2018, the TURN Fund seeks to fund projects that enhance “Germany’s view of contemporary artistic production in Africa.” 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.
Deadlines for applications: 30 November 2013 and 30 September 2014.
What kind of projects were awarded grants? Last year, in the first round of applications, the foundation awarded “one-time funding to project-preparatory research projects.
At the jury session on April 25 and 26, 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 11 research projects.
Unfortunately, funding applications for research projects are no longer being accepted.
In order to encourage thematic and artistic exchange between the partners, the Federal Cultural Foundation will organize a series of meetings 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.
Funding is awarded by the Executive Board of the Federal Cultural Foundation on the basis of recommendations provided by an independent jury of experts. The following individuals have been appointed to the jury of the TURN Fund:
Sandro Lunin, Zurich: Having worked many years in theatre, e.g. at the Theater am Neumarkt and as co-director of the Schlachthaus Theater in Berne, Lunin was appointed artistic director of the Zurich Theatre Spectacle in 2008, an international festival featuring numerous co-productions and guest performances. Sandro Lunin possesses profound knowledge of the European theatre scene, as well as theatre and dance production in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Accra/London: Writer, director and art historian with expertise in contemporary African art. Her works have been shown at the New Museum in New York, the NGBK in Berlin and the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco. Her articles have been published in numerous magazines including frieze, Kaleidoscope, Arise, National Geographic, The Statesman and African Metropolitan Architecture. She has worked as curator for exhibitions and events at the Liverpool Biennial, the British Museum, the Royal Festival Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum and other venues.
Jay Rutledge, Munich: Ethnologist, music journalist, producer, DJ and curator. Jay Rutledge has mainly worked as a freelance journalist for the Bayerischer Rundfunk since 1996. His main area of interest is urban African music culture. In 2002, he worked as curator for the “Urban Africa” music programme at the Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. In 2004, he started a music label that promotes pop music produced in the metropolitan hubs of Africa. He has recently produced the Grammy-nominated album “I speak fula” by the Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate. Currently he moderates the radio shows “Breitengrad” and “Nachtmix” on Bayern 2 Radio.
Makes me wish I moved to Germany.
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