On Tour

Traumformat #9 Political Questions! Artistic answers? (2023)

Interdisciplinary exchange weekend 21st and 22st of january 2023

For the Cheers for Fears-sponsored dream format “Political Questions! Artistic Answers?” artists and students from all art disciplines, as well as from the humanities and social sciences, such as political science, social science and education, were sought. The goal of the format: to open up a space for interdisciplinary exchange about the connection between art and politics – also with a view to the fields of work of cultural and political education. Over two days there was input, exchange and debate. The weekend was conceived as an open-ended, interdisciplinary exchange and lived from all p It was accompanied by lectures, input and assistance from experts.

As an introduction to the Dream Format, the participants had a get-to-know-you round in which they were free to talk about their own experiences in the field of political education, familiar formats, current political interests or interfaces of political education and political activism:

What experience do we have in the field of political education, as participants or as practitioners? What political questions are we currently interested in? What formats of cultural or political education do we already know? What kind of formats would we like to see? How can we combine our artistic work with political education or even political activism?

This was followed by a thematic introduction through the input of speaker Isolde Aigner into the question of why political education is socially relevant, (this) must always be critically questioned (in terms of power), and how political education can succeed while taking cultural participation into account. Afterwards, there was time for brainstorming own cultural project ideas. The thoughts were deepened by practical examples from the model project: “fYOUture – When democracy learns to live” and an overview of current funding opportunities.

Through the input of the speaker Dr. Isabel Rith-Magni, the fluid boundaries of aesthetic-artistic strategies in politics and the strategies of politically ambitious art were explored together with the participants. Different examples of art that aims at social influence and claims the possibility to do so were discussed under the question of what is the added value of artistic means for political goals:

What do we mean by politically ambitious art? For some, it already begins where artists refuse to take a stance and practice alternative ways of thinking and living; for others, it requires at least an explicit thematic confrontation with social grievances; for the third, it is crucial that artists provide impulses for others or even intervene concretely themselves to bring about temporary or lasting change.

The second day of the Dream Format began with a visit to the exhibition “Pack Your Things”, a photography project created from student work that draws attention to the situation of women who have fled Ukraine in times of the Russian war of aggression. Back in the FREIRAUM there was the opportunity to exchange ideas about such work – which only works in an interdisciplinary way. In “Pack Your Things,” for example, the photographer and social educators worked together.

For the linking of social work, political and art, Elizaveta Khan from Cologne was invited to talk about her many years of work at Integrationshaus Köln. After their presentation, the participants worked in dream format on three project examples of socio-cultural projects: “RESIST! The Art of Resistance,” “Breathe,” and “The Construction Site,” how socially relevant topics were and are negotiated. Following Elizaveta Khan’s input, there was an opportunity to brainstorm ideas, network with each other, and think of initial implementation strategies.

The participants were able to connect: Among them were special needs teachers, photographers, theater teachers, musicians from Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bonn and Paris.

Thanks to the promotion as a dream format of cheers for fears, the project “politisiert euch!” (politicize yourselves!) discusses to what extent such a “DREAM FORMAT” could migrate to the socio-cultural centers – as places of political and cultural education.

Persons involved

Isolde Aigner, Speaker

Isolde Aigner is a consultant for critical political education and youth education, works for the city of Solingen and is doing her doctorate on antifeminism in media discourse at the Ruhr University Bochum (Social Sciences).

Dr. Isabel Rith-Magni, Speaker

Dr. Isabel Rith-Magni has been a special assignment teacher in art history since 2018. Since 2013 research assistant (part-time) of Prof. Dr. Gabriele Oberreuter and teaching courses in the Studium Generale. 2013-2015 Transfer office “Participatory Art” within the framework of a cooperation between Alanus University and the Montag Foundation Art and Society.

Elizaveta Khan, Speaker

Founder and managing director of Integrationshaus e. V., activist social worker and educator, teacher of German as a second language, lecturer at various universities, speaker on the topics of disintegration, participation, critique of racism and postcolonialism.

Jan Kollenbach, Project Coordination FREIRAUM

Since 2022, he has served as project director of FREIRAUM Düsseldorf, collaborative conceptual and working space for the arts and sciences, operated by the Ben J. Riepe Company. In 2022, Jan was awarded Best Actor at the International Fashion Film Festival Croatia.

Eva Grütgen, Initiator and organizer

Eva is 24 years young, social pedagogue, social worker and student of the master “Culture, Aesthetics, Media” at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf. At Zakk, she leads the project “politicize yourselves!”.

Leslie Buttler, organizer

Leslie is 25 years young, studied “Philosophy, Art and Social Studies” in Bonn and since 2022 “Culture, Aesthetics, Media” at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf.