Beginning in 2017, the Symposium brings together and networks Berliners working in the fields of consultation and further education and advanced training within the independent performing arts community. It provides a platform for experts to exchange experiences, inform themselves of current developments as well as to explore potentials and challenges regarding the advising and further educating. With the use of various formats, both classic and innovative methods and approaches are discussed, tested and further developed.

Well Advised?! Encouraging Self-Empowered Action!

A Symposium on the Topic of Consultation & Qualification in the Independent Arts Community
March 24, 2017, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Location: Lettrétage Berlin, Mehringdamm 61 · 10961 Berlin

Working independently means working differently and in a self-determined manner and thus always asking the question of what working, producing and creating could be. How can the consulting and qualification of artists and culture makers support this form of work?

In times of radical transparency, self-optimization and self-marketing, the person of the independent artists is happily used to describe the working methods within the neoliberal market. In this model, the working individual is encouraged to constantly direct themselves, market their own labor and maintain their employability. The difference between neoliberal self-exploitation and self-empowerment seems to be extremely small.

The consultation and qualification of artists and culture makers should strengthen competencies and it possible for the arts to live a life of independent art. At the same time, they should also serve as a navigational tool for awakening and strengthening emancipatory potentials, thus defying the rules of the market. They should work with the solidary and collective idea of independent work to propagate knowledge and allow flat hierarchies.

In cooperation with Lettrétage Berlin, SMartDE, Kulturwerk des BBK and Tanzbüro, we will research this complex field by posing the following questions, amongst others:

  • Which consultation centers and forms are there in Berlin? How are they used?
  • What forms of consultation have we previously offered? Which consultation centers and qualification formats exist for the independent arts community?
  • How can we recognize the realities of our consultation landscape and how can we change them?
  • Which formats of consultation & qualification are congruent with our vision of solidary and self-empowered work?
  • What do we need in order to realize the vision of independent work without the consultation itself?
  • How can we provide competencies that will support artists and culture makers to earn a living wage from their art?

With the use of short presentations, work groups and an exchange platform for consultation content and formats, we intend to dedicate ourselves to a shared exchange regarding these questions, provide an overview of the vast consultation landscape in Berlin for the independent arts community and mutually strengthen ourselves.

Schedule of Events

9:30 am      
Registration & qualification breakfast

10:00 am
Official welcome, presentation of the schedule of events

10:20 am    
Dr. Peggy Mädler: "Between Advice and Narrative. Consultation as Communication, Reflection and Exchange of Knowledge and Experiences"

What is characterizes a good consultation? For both things – good advice as well as a good narrative – the following holds true: It is not only important What is narrated, but instead also How this What is communicated or narrated. Dr. Peggy Mädler is an independent writer, dramaturg and mentor in the Performing Arts Program.

11:00 am    
Start of the work group sessions

Work Group 1: "How Does the Spectrum of Consultation Offers Reflect Berlin as an International Art Metropolis? A Survey", Initiator/moderator: Nina Korolewski

Artists from around the world come to Berlin to live and work here – artistic work is often conducted across national borders as well. Alongside the social law, tax and insurance regulation questions, artists originally from countries not in the EU often touch up cultural and sociopolitical topics during consultation sessions. What consultation offers exists for artists from abroad? What barriers do those providing consultation face? What kind of structures and formats would be useful for international consultations? Nina Korolewski works in the office for artist advisement at Kulturwerk des bbk.
Work Group 2: "Impulses for Self-Empowerment", Initiator/moderator: Jana Lüthje

Which (qualification) formats can we use to move toward sustainably independent action in the field of art and production?Jana Lüthje from Tanzbüro will present a format with the “tandem model” developed by Tanzbüro and thus initiate a discussion examining new impulses. Jana Lüthje works at Tanzbüro Berlin.

Work Group 3: "Resources and Tools for the Transfer of Knowledge", Initiator/moderator: Julian Kamphausen

The ways and means in which knowledge is communicated and how knowledge resources are used have changed fundamentally in recent years. In this practice-oriented work group, new analog and digital tools for the transfer of knowledge will be presented and examples of successful adjustments to existing structures will be examined. Together, possible application examples will be discussed and appropriate strategies for the new channels for the generation and communication of knowledge will be investigated. Julian Kamphausen is the coordinator of the Industry Get-Together of the Berlin Performing Arts Program

Work Group 4: "Sustainability", Initiator/moderator: Eva Hartmann

“Advice is theft” is what Marshall B. Rosenberg (the author of Nonviolent Communication, amongst other publications) once said to someone who had asked him for advice. This pointed statement is used here as the starting point for a discussion about a kind of consultation that activates suggestions coming from the advice-seekers themselves through targeted questioning and specific listening. The consultant functions more as an assistant for releasing ideas, potential and energy. What basic requirements does such an approach require? What paradigmatic changes in the style of our communication and use of language are needed for this? Eva Hartmann is a coach, the manager of Gob Squad and a consultant for the Performing Arts Program.

Work Group 5: "Communicating Collectively", Initiators/moderators: Anka Belz/ Sandra Klöss

Anka Belz and Sandra Klöss will speak from experiences gained during their professional practice regarding how training and knowledge communication models could be collective structures and those with flat hierarchies in the diverse professional realization of project and production management within the independent art and culture communities. Anka Belz and Sandra Klöss are co-owners of the production management collective ehrliche arbeit - freies Kulturbüro.

1:00 pm      
Break and consultation & qualification lunch

2:00 pm      
Presentation of the results from the work groups

3:30 pm      
Exchange platform

4:30 pm      
Coffee break

4:50 pm 
Magdalena Ziomek-Frackowiak: "Cooperative Approaches in the Culture Sector. Between Nostalgia for Worker Cooperatives and the Professional Practice of Culture Makers. A Look Into the Future?"

Smart, Société Mutuelle pour artistes, was founded in 1998 in Belgium with the goal of establishing a strong European network. SMart cooperatives are now active in nine European countries and have already been able to provide support to more than 90,000 culture makers in successfully realizing their projects. Magdalena Ziomek-Frackowiak is a cultural producer and the managing director of SMartDe eG. 

5:10 pm
Harald Redmer: "Free Qualification for Freelance Artists – First Results from a Survery in NRW"

Despite all of the desired and necessary diversity, independent performing arts especially lack a well-founded, collective understanding of the value and significance of their own community. The qualification of the members of the independent performing arts community means, alongside the actual communication of various content, tools and skills, especially focusing on the development of a sense of identity and self-image that extends beyond the artist’s own work. In light of this, it is no surprise that the need for intensive professional exchanges, ensured through funding instruments, if at all possible, stand at the very top of the wish list when one speaks to professional working members of the community. Harald Redmer will report on his current research in NRW on the topic of qualification in the independent performing arts and provide insight into the concept for a new qualification program that is intended to be launched in NRW this year. Harald Redmer is the managing director of NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste and a member of the board of BFDK.           

5:30 pm 
Anne Schneider: "On the Road. An Academy of Bundesverbandes Freie Darstellende Künste (the German Federal Association of the Independent Performing Arts)"

Bundesverband Freie Darstellende Künste (BFDK) is currently in the process of planning its further education and qualification model On the Road which will provide various modules for the transfer of knowledge to both local members as well as travel groups from around the country beginning in the summer of 2017 in association with larger events within the independent performing arts community. Anne Schneider will present the current state of planning and invite the participants to take part in an open round of feedback afterward. Anne Schneider is the managing director of BFDK.

6:00 pm        

6:15 pm       
Cocktail party: Symposium cocktail hour (informal networking)

If you would like to attend, please register with Änne-Marthe Kühn (symposium assistant) by sending an email to: aenne-marthe.kuehn(at)


Therese Schmidt | Coordinator Consultation & Qualification
Phone: +49 30 30368785

Sabrina Apitz | Consultation & Qualification
Phone: +49 30 30368785 

Office Hours:
Monday to Thursday 11 am - 2 pm
PAP Office Prenzlauer Berg at Ballhaus Ost
(only with Registration)