Guides to the Independent Arts Communities
Guides to the Independent Arts Communities
Within the independent arts community as well, opportunities to participate for everyone are still a long way off. For many transnational and intercultural artists, even the access to relevant knowledge presents a large obstacle along their path to the independent networks and structures. Official advisement opportunities are often only available in German, or, at the very most, in English. Access to the advisement structures is complicated by formalities and the advisers are often not sufficiently sensitized to this matter within their practice.
In Berlin in 2019, the interdisciplinary pilot project Guides to the Independent Arts Communities led to an increased awareness of the needs of international and intercultural artists within the support structures of the city as well as the need to make them more broadly accessible. Over the course of the project, a variety of multilingual, experienced artists who are well networked within Berlin’s independent art communities were found who are able to answer the questions of those seeking guidance regarding working as a freelancer in Germany, relevant networks and topics such as the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK, the German public social insurance fund for artists) in their native language and support them on their journey through the independent arts communities as guides.
Many of the measures that were initiated over the course of the project have been able to be continued afterward, for example, by expanding the existing advisement programs and the hiring of new advisers. Through this, individual advisement sessions with guides working in the field of the independent performing arts can now be arranged through the Information Center of the Berlin Performing Arts Program.
In addition, the Information Center now regularly offers bilingual networking formats for transnational artists and culture makers with the format Getting Started as a Transnational Artist. (You can find more information about this or other opportunities provided by the Information Center by sending an email to: beratung [at] pap-berlin.de)
Furthermore, a multilingual publication was created over the course of the pilot project in 2019 that contains information about advisement structures in Berlin, networks, points of contact and tips for artists and culture makers from the Arab, Asian, Francophone, Polish, Turkish and Russian language areas. The contents were researched and compiled individually by the guides and are intended to help everyone who is new to Berlin’s independent arts community and is looking for support and an initial orientation. The brochure is available both in a digital form as well as a physical book and can be requested by sending an email to: beratung [at] pap-berlin.de.
The national follow-up project, Guides to the Independent Arts Communities – Multilingual Conferences and Gallery Walk in 2021, was focused equally both on international artists as well as advisers, advisement structures, points of contact as well as members of initiatives and voluntary supporters of artists all throughout Germany. The activities of the project aimed at achieving the development of a sustainable support process for international artists and culture makers, their networking within the independent arts communities as well as raising intercultural sensitivity and awareness within existing advisement structures in large cities throughout Germany such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and the metropolises of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The various programming formats were developed and realized in cooperation with international guides - artists and culture makers who had already successfully gotten started working in the independent arts communities as freelancers in Germany – and the nationwide partner structures of the project.
This resulted in the conception of multilingual digital and analog information and networking days created by and for artists in Arabic, English, French, Korean, Polish and Spanish which were then realized in the metropolises named above with topics involving working as a freelancer and conducting artistic activities (KSK, GEMA, performance venues, networks, funding and advisement options when dealing with racism and discrimination, et cetera).
The Online Gallery Walk Advising Internationally, an interdisciplinary further education and exchange format dealing with the topic of the advisement of international artists and culture makers, was conceived for advisors and advisement structures within the independent arts community. A nationwide network of advisement structures has arisen from the Online Gallery Walk which regularly allows exchange regarding the challenges of advisement in general as well as a special focus on the support of international artists.
A multilingual brochure for international artists was created as part of the follow-up project in 2021 which provides information regarding advisement structures, networks, points of contact in Berlin, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Munich and Stuttgart and which provides tips for artists and culture makers from the Arab, Polish, Korean, Francophone, Polish, Spanish and English language areas. The brochure is available both in a digital form as well as a physical book can be requested by sending an email to: beratung [at] pap-berlin.de.
Magda Agudelo is an actor and literary scholar. She works between Colombia and Germany in multiple interdisciplinary artist collectives. She sees herself as a performing artist and takes part in theater productions, dance theater productions and performances. She places the focus of her artistic activities in the development of productions and the realization of art projects in public space. She works with La Fuchsia Kollektiva and is active in a variety of projects in the independent arts community of Stuttgart.
Charlotte Bomy has worked in the fields of writing, translation and theater in France and Germany for more than 15 years. As a professional culture maker, she provides advisement sessions and support for Berlin artists on the topics of project development, funding applications, stipends and artistic residencies.
Rabih Beaini has been an enthusiastic record collector since the early 1990s and was born in Lebanon, where he began his career as a DJ. He moved to Italy in 1996 and intensely engaged himself in the fields of music production, sound technology and midi programming while studying architecture in Venice. He founded Morphine Records and the event location Elefante Rosse in Venice. He moved to Berlin in 2012 and has been very active in the community here ever since. He is engaged in the experimental and electronic cultural movement as a musician, curator, producer and performer.
Laia Ribera Cañénguez is a Berlin-based Salvadoran artist who moves between documentary object theater, performance and visual theater in her artistic work. In the “being in-between” different genres of theater, languages, sources of knowledge and geographic areas, she seeks a utopian space in order to bring together her own and structural contrasts, paradoxes and contradictions. In her work, she especially deals with feminist, postcolonial and queer perspectives.
Ronan Favereau is an actor, director, writer and theater educator. He works as an actor for companies focusing on director-driven work as well as a theater educator at Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. He has been taking part in the creation of an international theater network between Germany and France since the summer of 2020 as part of a variety of artist residencies. He has led the participatory theater project Stereotype Threat in Berlin, Brandenburg and Île-de-France since 2021.
Patrick Fuhrmann was born in Bludenz, Austria and spent his childhood in Germany and Spain. He studied media management and psychology and works as an artist and label manager in Berlin. His focus is placed on the development of artists and young international talent.
Keith Zenga King lives in Munich as a Black Ugandan gender-non-conforming writer, performance artist, theater maker and political activist. Since Keith Zenga King fled into European exile, they have conducted research into the creation of new textures and embodiments at the interfaces where intersectional identities are found. Through poetry, live performance and mixed media, Keith Zenga King seeks to unearth and expand the stories of African, migrant, exile, queer and trans* communities.
Dorota Kot is an adviser and coach for projects and entrepreneurs. Dorota Kot has collected experiences in a wide variety of different thematic areas, is aware of the potential hurdles encountered when realizing a project and is happy to facilitate marketing and networking in the independent arts community. In the past, she has organized interdisciplinary informational meetings for Polish-speaking artists in Berlin.
Inky Lee is an author, musician and performance artist and lives in Berlin. Inky Lee works as a mentor for Tanzschreiber and is a member of the writing collective Stream at Tanzfabrik Berlin. Inky Lee was the artistic director and a writer for the writing platform Right Now which was founded in collaboration with Tanzbüro Berlin and focused on the embodied experiences of marginalized individuals in Berlin’s performance community. Inky Lee has worked with a variety of artists in Berlin and New York as a musician, performer and choreographer.
Steve Mekoudja is a poet, singer and director who lived in Berlin for the last eight years. As an independent artist, he often saw himself forced to work alone and research stipends, recording studio or filming locations. As a result, he is especially happy to support Francophone artists in getting started in Germany and the hurdles related to this.
Salah Zater is an artist, journalist and human rights activist from Hamburg. His work on the topics of human rights, racism and social justice move between the fields of dance, performance and interventions in public space. Salah Zater uses his voice and his body to protest, present the realities of society and to advocate for positive change and equal rights. He has performed in theaters and art institutions in Germany and abroad, has played a number of roles in films and won the BBC Media Television Award in 2015.
The pilot project „Guides to Berlin's Independent Arts Community 2019“ was the first cooperation between the Performing Arts Program of LAFT Berlin and the advisement structures Music Pool, Lettrétage (Schreiben & leben) and the artist advisement program in Kulturwerk of bbk berlin and was funded by the program „Cosmopolitan Berlin 2019 – Advisement, Support and Networking for International Artists, Media Professionals and Culture Makers“ of Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
The project “Guides to the Independent Arts Communities – Multilingual Symposia and Gallery Walk 2021” is a cooperation between the Performing Arts Program of LAFT Berlin with the advisement structures schreiben & leben of Lettrétage, Music Pool Berlin and the initiative neue musik berlin. Funded by Fonds Darstellende Künste as part of Neustart Kultur using funds from the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.