European symposium on current questions regarding cultural policy
Date: Thursday, May 20, 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: University of Applied Arts, Vordere Zollamtstrasse 7
Curation: Michael Wimmer in cooperation with Anke Schad-Spindler, Martin Fritz and Aron Weigl
The event takes place in cooperation with the project AGONART Institute for Political Science of the University of Vienna.
The event will address the questions of which lines of conflict exist within and around the cultural sector after a year of pandemic, who is affected by them, how they can be made productive in terms of cultural policy, and which perspectives should be brought more into focus in decisions in the future. The discussion will be based on the problems of “public space and participation, justice, inclusions and exclusions, and surviving/living”.
After a year of pandemic, Austria’s cultural sector is facing its greatest existential crisis since the beginning of the Second Republic. A product of the government’s decisions to temporarily shut down the cultural sector, is that many taken-for-granted ideas have begun to falter. While some still hope for a return to normalcy in the near future, others see the crisis as an opportunity to reshape cultural policy and the cultural field.
The event will address the questions of which lines of conflict exist within and around the cultural sector after a year of pandemic, who is affected by them, how they can be made productive in terms of cultural policy, and which perspectives should be brought more into focus in decisions in the future. The aim of the symposium is to open a space for discussion of the variety of cultural-political intervention possibilities together with the participants and thus to attempt a substantive re-foundation of the field.
On the basis of four problems, participants are invited to look ahead in terms of cultural policy. The four topics can be deepened, expanded and supplemented by the participants.
- Public Space and Participation: In this thematic category, the production orientation of cultural policy will be questioned, supplemented by discussion of the audience and thus the recovery of cultural public spheres. To what extent can the cultural sector create public spaces in which diverse people can meet, exchange ideas, argue, have their say, and participate in decision-making?
- Justice: Despite the precarious working conditions of many people working in the cultural sector, the problem of inequality in its structures and offerings and thus the lack of justice has so far only been marginally addressed. New political movements are putting the issue of justice in an unjust world back on the agenda. How can the cultural sector deal with these immanent and social inequalities and renegotiate them?
- Inclusions and exclusions: State cultural policy distributes its attention very unevenly among the multitude of actors. While selected institutions can count on good and sufficient public funding, it is much more difficult for independent initiatives to establish themselves. Others operate completely under the radar of any cultural policy measures. The same can be said for the public, whose current absence makes the dual character of cultural policy decisions in favor of inclusion but also exclusion once again abundantly clear.
- Surviving/Living: Through the theme “Surviving/Living”, the question of what expectations civil society initiatives from the social, health and environmental sectors have of the cultural sector will be explored. What contribution can the cultural sector make to dealing with the health or ecological crisis? How can cultural policy integrate ecological, health and social issues?
This year’s edition of the symposium does not want to limit itself to the presentation of individual positions. Instead, the event has set itself the goal of bringing the participants into conversation with each other, not shying away from conflicts where necessary. There will be a forum for negotiation in order to gain new direction, to continue the conversation beyond this occasion, and thus to create the conditions for a new orientation of cultural policy with a strong civil society signature.
Representatives of the various cultural genres as well as cultural administration and cultural policy are invited to participate, as are representatives of other areas interested in cultural policy.