The first Winter School “Brokering Intercultural Exchange within societies” in cooperation with Heilbronn University, MitOst e.V and the Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network
From November 27 – 30, 2018 the first Winter School “Brokering Intercultural Exchange within societies” was hosted by Heilbronn University, MitOst e.V, Brokering Intercultural Exchange network and the Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network. This three days event taking place in Berlin was generously supported by the Würth Foundation and brought 30 participants from 16 countries together.
Due to the enormous success of this format, we immediately agreed to have another Winter School in November 2019.
Find a review of the participant Lesley McBride here:
At the end of November, I had the great honor to attend the inaugural Winter School on Brokering Intercultural Exchange within Societies, a program organized by the international and interdisciplinary network Brokering Intercultural Exchange and Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with MitOst e.V. and the Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network. Over the course of three full days in Berlin, nearly 40 practitioners and academics of arts and cultural management gathered to discuss related topics through an interactive workshop approach. The theme of the Winter School was hinged on intercultural/transcultural exchange, and how arts managers can and should respond to the challenges and opportunities presented in our changing world, by fostering social impact and leveraging participatory practices. The experience was nothing short of pivoting—we reflected on prominent implications and responsibilities of being an arts manager, then spiraled out, diverging into layered subtleties.
Presenters included Dr. Antonio Cuyler, Prof. Dr. Raphaela Henze, Dr. Victoria Durrer, Shaimaa Atef, and Krystel Khoury, among other guest speakers who brought personal insight from both research and practice. Amid lectures and guided group discussions, we explored how to remove paternalism from arts engagement, how to negotiate power structures both inside organizations and at broader levels of policy and society, how to measure impact without subjectivity, and how to engage in an ethical community arts practice. Admittedly, these are Herculean feats to accomplish in three days; however, dripping water hollows the stone.
Two behind-the-scenes excursions to the Barenboim-Said Akademie and the Haus Schwarzenberg offered a candid window into how organizations balance priorities and needs of different stakeholders, and how they build communities both external and internal to the organization. Woven throughout the session were informal opportunities to discuss with fellow participants about current personal challenges faced through work, study, or research. The atmosphere was inviting, but attentive, and the energy cultivated by the group allowed for honest sharing free from stigma, which proved to be a valuable exercise in self-care as well as in education.
The participants of the Winter School were a hybrid of people from 16 different nations at various stages in their career, all with diverse focuses, which nurtured an environment that encouraged exchange and support through peer based learning. The relatively small size of the group also allowed relationships to form quickly. The discussions were particularly nuanced given the variety of national backgrounds of the participants, many of whom are studying or working in countries other than their birth origin. This synthesis provided a versatile means for exploring transcultural art management.
For me, the Winter School provided a mid-semester energizer to continue pressing forward and served as a healthy reminder of why I choose this line of work. Simply put, doing good work in the world was the original motivation for most of us to choose this career path, and it was particularly encouraging to be reminded of that. I admire art managers for our glass half full approach to our work, despite the often gloomy predicaments of the world; I find that kind of determination inspiring, and being surrounded by likeminded people during the Winter School was a great booster shot to keep nudging the world further in the direction toward creative justice. Like many things that get under your skin, a short amount of time only allows you to scratch the surface, but the Winter School has me itching for more, and I look forward to watching the program progress in the years to come.
Lesley McBride has a background working with young people through the visual arts, and is originally from the United States. Currently, she is enrolled in the Innovation and Organization of Culture and the Arts (GIOCA) program at the University of Bologna.
This review was first published on the website of the network Brokering Intercultural Exchange.