International Conference “Social Inequality and Cultural Policy”
One day symposium on cultural policies at the University of Applied Arts Vienna
Social inequality in Europe is growing again. Populist forces use the refugee movement as cause for questioning cultural diversity and to propagandize cultural homogeneity. Therefore, the cultural scene is once again required to react to the current changes in society.

The goal of the event was to discuss social inequality from different professional perspectives and in particular to learn about the consequences of social change for cultural policy. During the conference on 22 April 2016 at Heiligenkreuzer Hof in Vienna we discussed the need to draw upon theories about different cultural behaviour in different social groups with experts in economics, sociology, education and politics. Furthermore, we have learnt from selected cultural practices that engage diverse audiences.

Guests from London, Paris, Athens, Barcelona and Warsaw did short presentations about the current state of social inequality in their cities or countries as well as the specific cultural and political consequences. After the panels there had been time for extensive audience discussions. Our aim was to sensitive the cultural industry for growing social inequalities in current society and in this context to also discuss its social responsibility.


"Social Inequality and Cultural Policy"

Date: 22. April 2016, 09:00 Uhr

Location: University of Applied Arts Vienna, Exhibition Center Heiligenkreuzer Hof, Schönlaterngasse 5, 1010 Vienna  

Concept and Moderation: Michael Wimmer / EDUCULT

The conference will be held in English.

Please register in advance for this event:


09:00 – 10:00 Welcome/ Opening

Introduction: Michael Wimmer/ University of Applied Arts, EDUCULT/ Vienna, Austria

Gerald Bast/ University of Applied Arts/ Vienna, Austria

Christophe Girard/ Mayor of the 4th Arrondissement/ Paris, France


10:00 – 11:30 Panel:

Social Inequality from different (disciplinary) viewpoints

Moderation: Anke Schad/ University of Music and Performing Arts/ Vienna, Austria

Wilfried Altzinger/ Chair of the Research Institute “Economics of Inequality”/ Vienna, Austria

Michael Hartmann/ Institute for Sociology (University Darmstadt)/ Germany

Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger/ Head of Unit “Migration and Education”(Johannes Kepler University)/ Linz, Austria

Volker Kirchberg/ Professor for the Sociology of the Arts Leuphana University/ Lüneburg, Germany


12:00 – 13:30 Panel:

Social Inequality and European Cultural Policy Reactions

Moderation: Michael Wimmer/ University of Applied Arts, EDUCULT/ Vienna, Austria

Jordi Baltà/ Cultural Policy Researcher and Project Coordinator/Barcelona, Spain

Vasilis Advikos/ Lecturer University of Social and Political Sciences Athens/ Greece

Hadrian Garrard/ Director Create London/ UK

Ares Shoprta/ Cultural Activist/ Kovovo

Mikolaj Lewicki/ Professor of the University of Warsaw/ Poland


15:00 – 15:30  Artistic Intervention I

Ulduz Ahmadzadeh: Dance Empowerment


15:30 – 17:00  Panel:

How to deal with Inequality in Practice

Moderation: Martin Fritz / Curator and Critics/ Vienna, Austria

Thomas Diesenreiter/ Cultural Worker and Cultural Activist/Linz, Vienna, Austria

Tina Leisch/ Director, Journalist and Political Activist/ Vienna, Austria

Can Gülcü/ Cultural worker, activist, former director of WIENWOCHE/ Vienna, Austria

Kathrin Hohmaier/ Researcher at the Department of Education and Psychology Carl Ossietzky University/ Oldenburg, Germany


17:00 – 17:30  Artistic Intervention II

Klelija Zhivkovikj: Small Victories


18:00 – 19:30 Closing Panel:

The Role of Cultural Policy in Times of Growing Social Inequality

Moderation: Michael Freund/ derStandard/ Vienna, Austria

Gerald Bast/ University Applied Arts/ Vienna, Austria

Kate Oakley/ Director of Research and Innovation (University of Leeds)/ UK

Isin Önol/ Curator and Writer/ Vienna, Austria

Michael Wimmer/ University of Applied Arts, EDUCULT/ Vienna, Austria



Wilfried Altzinger

Wilfried Altzinger is Deputy Chair of the Institute of Macroeconomics (Vienna University of Economics and Business) and Secretary General of the Austrian Economic Association. He is lecturer and researcher in the fields of European integration and, in particular, in the field of distribution of income and wealth. 2014, he was on the Organisational Committee of the annual meeting of the Austrian Economic Association with the main conference topic "Economics of Inequality". Recently, Altzinger was guest researcher at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School (United Kingdom) and at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is Chair of the research institute of Economics of Inequality at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The institute works amongst others on the distribution of income and wealth and on the impact of inequality on gender inequality, educational opportunities and social integration.


Vasilis Avdikos

Vasilis Avdikos is lecturer in the Department of Economic and Regional Development at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens. His main fields of interest are local and regional development and creative industries. He has published several books and several papers in academic journals (European Urban and Regional Studies, Territory Politics Governance, City Culture and Society etc). He is currently working on the effects of the recent economic crisis on the cultural and creative industries, the precarious working conditions in the creative industries, the role of clustering, and the connection between social inequalities (such as poverty and social exclusion) with the development of creative industries in the regions of the EU.


Thomas Diesenreiter

Thomas Diesenreiter is cultural manager and political activist. Among other things, he implemented projects for the European Capital of Culture Linz09, the Ars Electronica Futurelab and the Ars Electronica Festival. As an expert for autonomous cultural work and urban development he became chair of the Cultural Advisory Council in Linz in 2010. As an activist in the independent art and culture scene in Linz, he was the initiator of the broadcast Kartell-TV on, and responsible for the management of the funding programs LINZimPULS as well as political lobbying. He has been founder of the Initiative Kulturquartier Tabakwerke and successfully stood up for a rededication of the tobacco factory in Linz for cultural use. Since 2012, he has been responsible for conception and development and leads the communication department. Since 2006, he has also been working on the strategic direction and development of the free broadcasting archive Cultural Broadcasting Archive CBA for the Association of Independent Radio in Austria. Since 2013, he has been a member of the Management Committee of the Radio FRO - Free Radio Upper Austria GmbH.


Hadrian Garrard

Hadrian Garrard is the Founding Director of the arts charity Create London and is CEO and Artistic Director since its foundation in 2012. The foundation supports artists from London in commissioning and producing ambitious programs and projects. Previously, Hadrian was the lead for culture for the Growth Borough Unit in east London, with oversight for cultural strategy for six London boroughs and he was a Creative Programmer for the Olympic Games in London 2012. He has been a juror for the Olympic Delivery Authority arts commissions, the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Awards, Art on the Underground and chairs the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Award selection committee. He is also on the boards of London’s Open School East and Glasgow’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground.


Christophe Girard

Christophe Girard, born in 1956, spent most of his career as a top executive in international companies such as Yves Saint Laurent and LVMH. From 1999 to 2001, he was Chairman of the Board of the former American Centre in Paris. Politics is simply another step taken in a life dedicated to promoting the arts, culture and equal rights. In 2001, he was appointed Deputy Mayor in charge of Culture by former Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë. During his term, culture enjoyed a clear revival in the French capital: innovative projects such as “Nuit Blanche” – that is now worldwide known and imitated – were implemented. In 2012, Girard became Mayor of the 4th district and has been re-elected in March 2014. As such, he keeps on fighting for the causes he has been advocating all his life such as the European Union, equal rights for same-sex couples, culture and is dedicated to fighting against all kind of discriminations. He is an activist for education.


Can Gülcü

Can Gülcü was the artistic director and CEO of wienwoche (Vienna week) from 2012 to 2015. He is lecturer at the Institute for Educational Professionalization at the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz. Before, Gülcü taught at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and was part of the management team of the Shedhalle Zurich. His work focuses on social and political relations of power. He is a member of the board of SOS Mitmensch and published the "Beograd Gazela - Travel Guide to a Slum" (with Lorenz Aggermann and Eduard Freudmann).


Michael Hartmann

Michael Hartmann qualified as a professor in Sociology at the University of Osnabrück in 1983. Since 1999, after working on various projects and as guest lecturer, Hartmann has been professor in Sociology at the Faculty of Social Sciences and History at the Technical University of Darmstadt. His main fields of research are elites and the globalization as well as its influences on the various national economic styles. He describes himself as a socialist and critic of the contemporary German society. Concerning higher education policy, he opposes tuition fees and the promotion of so-called "elite universities". In his current research, Hartmann primarily works on international elites and the increasing gap between rich and poor. 2008, he was awarded the Prize of the German Sociological Association for outstanding achievements in the field of public impact of sociology.


Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger

Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger studied Social and Cultural Anthropology and attended the postgraduate studies in political science at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna. She worked in national and international research projects, as lecturer and as consultant in migration research. From 2000 to 2002 she worked as a research officer at the ICMPD (International Centre for Migration Policy Development). Since 2003, she leads the Austrian section of the international research project "The Integration of the European Second Generation" (TIES). From 2010 to 2014 she managed the research program "Multilingualism-Interculturality-Mobility" of BIFIE (Federal Institute for Educational Research, Innovation and Development of the Austrian School). She is a member of the European Network of Excellence on International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion (IMISCOE), and the Scientific Advisory Board of the BIFIE. Since October 2014, she head of the department of "Migration and Education" at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz.


Kathrin Hohmaier

Kathrin Hohmaier is a sociologist and academic assistant in the working group “Research Methods” in the Department of Educational Sciences at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg. In the cooperative project “Kompetenzkurs Kultur – Bildung – Kooperation” she researches on interprofessional and educational training for artists and cultural workers. Before she worked in the cluster of excellence “Image Knowledge Gestaltung. An interdisciplinary laboratory” at the Humboldt-University Berlin as a scientific coordinator. She studied Cultural Science and Sociology in Leipzig. Her main areas of research are Qualitative Research Methods, Art and Cultural Sociology as well as Production, Distribution and Reception of Arts.


Volker Kirchberg

Volker Kirchberg studied sociology at the University of Hamburg. In 1995, he started the „Basica” social research institute in Hamburg, where he mostly conducted applied cultural research for, among others, The House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Furthermore, he was lecturer beyond others at the Institute for Sociology at the Freie Universität Berlin where he qualified as a professor for sociology, with research on “social functions of museums.” Since 2004/05 Volker Kirchberg is Professor for Cultural Organization and Cultural Communication at the Cultural Studies Faculty of Leuphana University in Lüneburg. His main research fields are (empirical) cultural sociology, organizational sociology, issues of cultural communication and outreach, and urban sociology. Since 2015 he is the director of the Institute of Sociology and Cultural Organization. In addition, he has been board member of several international associations and is author of numerous publications in the field of cultural und urban sociology, discussing arts and culture, city and sustainability.


Tina Leisch

Tina Leisch is director, journalist and political activist. She was part of the left-wing activists who founded the Volxtheater Favoriten in Vienna in 1994 and participated to the „Kulturkarawane gegen rechts“ in Carinthia. She was curator at the Museum Peršmanhof, which deals with the history of the Carinthian Slovenes during the Nazi regime. Between 2001 - 2004 she was chairwoman of the Društvo / society Peršman and the memorial Peršmanhof. In 2002, Leisch directed "Mein Kampf" by George Tabori with Hubsi Kramer in the Meldemannstraße, a residential home for men in Vienna. As a journalist, Leisch writes regularly for the Austrian magazines Augustin, Volksstimme, Kulturrisse, Malmoe, and for Jungle World in Berlin. In July 2015 she initiated a picket under the title „Die schweigende Mehrheit sagt JA!“ (The silent majority says: Yes!) in front of the Vienna State Opera with other activists and artists, demanding a more humanitarian refugee policy. A resulting project is “Die Schutzbefohlenen”, a theatre play with refugees from the Traiskirchen Asylum Center, which was honored with a special award of the Nestroy Theater Prize 2015.


Mikołaj Lewicki

Mikołaj Lewicki works at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw and focuses on the economic sociology. Lately he has been researching construction and transformation of the market economy in Central and Eastern Europe. For the last three years he studied various aspects of mortgage credit and valuation on the capital market. At the moment he is doing extensive research on cultural practices of the Polish society and on the relations between socio-economic development and the culture. In the past he coordinated two country research projects on the formal and informal local cultural initiatives.


Kate Oakley

Kate Oakley is Professor of Cultural Policy at the University of Leeds. Her research interests cover cultural policy, cultural labor markets and regional development. Following a career as a journalist, she worked in information society for a number of years. As Research Fellow at the Manchester Business School and head of the information & communications policy group at the Policy Studies Institute, she did research on management consulting as a knowledge-based economy, while being a Research Fellow at Manchester Business School and Head of the Information & Communications Policy Group at the Policy Studies Institute. This covered research on intellectual property, the commercialization of public sector information, and the growth of information work and workers. Since 1997 she has run her own consultancy business and worked as a researcher for a variety of public agencies, think tanks and research organizations.


Jordi Baltà

Jordi Balà holds a B.A. in Political Science (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), an M.A. in European Cultural Policy and Administration (University of Warwick) and a Postgraduate Diploma in International Cultural Cooperation (Universitat de Barcelona). From 2001 to 2014 he worked as a researcher and project coordinator at the Fundació Interarts per la Cooperació Cultural Internacional in Barcelona. Since then, Balà Portolés is active as a freelance international project consultant and researcher on behalf of public and private organisations in the field of cultural policy and international affairs. His areas of interest include local and regional cultural policies, cultural diversity, the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, cultural participation, the role of culture in international development and European cultural cooperation.  In addition to research work, he is regularly involved in the management of international cultural projects (e.g. EU- and EG-studies) and the coordination of conferences and seminars.


Ares Shporta

Ares Shporta is a cultural activist based in Kosovo. He has studied at the graduate program for Cultural Management at Istanbul Bilgi University. His work areas include independent cultural institutions, local cultural policies and community building. He is the founding director and co-head of program of Lumbardhi Foundation - an organization that followed up the Initiative for the Protection of Lumbardhi Cinema. Shporta is also the coordinator of the Network of Cultural Organizations in Prizren.


Artistic Interventions

Artistic Intervention I – DANCE EMPOWERMENT

Ulduz Ahmadzadeh, born in 1981 in Tehran / Iran, allready started dancing as a child in a country, where dancing was actually prohibited. In 2007, she graduated directing at the Art University Soureh in Tehran. Since 2008, the artist lives in Vienna and works as a dance instructor, dancer and choreographer. 2014 she studied Contemporary Dance Pedagogy at the Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien (MUK). 2016 she graduated Social Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Since 2012 she leads the contemporary dance company „tanz.labor.labyrinth“.

The project "Dance Empowerment" uses the opportunity to contribute with dance strategies to solve and change conflict-occupied social spaces. It tries to develop meaningful methods that promote a participatory approach among women who are currently living in a refugee camp in Vienna. The aim is to support them in their difficult situation through letting them get in touch with their cultural resources, their inner strengths and social values in a surrounding, in which they feel valued and respected. One of the main goals of this project is the demand for and the promotion of self-determination of the participants, increasing their self-esteem and encouraging social interaction among the residents of the shelter.


Artistic Intervention II – Small Victories

Klelija Zhivkovikj was born and raised in Skopje, Macedonia, during the country’s transition from Yugoslavia to independence. Witnessing this process influenced her artistic and research aspirations, which manifested in her master thesis about her hometown and the different narratives that shape it amidst the rule of a populistic and corrupt government. She holds a Master‘s degree in „Social Design“ of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She lives and works in Vienna.

“Small Victories” is a project developed by Klelija Zhivkovikj as her master thesis. The project aims to collect stories that contain personal experiences related to the lives of people and places in Skopje in a time of great political, social and economic dismay, and shapes an authentic narrative of the city that counteracts the populist politics. The future aspiration of this project is to raise these experiences to the level of institutionalized knowledge and to introduce storytelling as a valid method of obtaining urban data that can be used in drafting cultural and social policies to aid the city’s overall development, as well as to study the local transitional cultures and practices that create the commons.