The research programme ‘Culture and foreign policy’ by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa)
To some people, ‘culture and foreign policy’ might sound like high-level diplomacy or dull treaties, but the term can also cover some exciting projects. The ifa research programme on ‘Culture and foreign policy’, for example, promotes academic work that brings people from academia, art and the media together.
One of the institutes in Germany involved in promoting culture across borders is the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (ifa), which is based in Stuttgart and also has a gallery in Berlin. The institute promotes arts and cultural exchange throughout the world with a view to forging links through culture. It initiates exhibition, dialogue and conference programmes and creates networks between civil society, cultural practictioners, art, the media and the scientific community. It also provides information in the context of foreign cultural policy.
ifa is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the State of Baden-Württemberg and is Germany’s oldest intermediary organisation for foreign cultural policy. Other institutions include the Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
ifa research programme: promoting cultural diplomacy
The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen promotes various art and culture projects, such as the civil conflict resolution programme zivik and CrossCulture internships for young professionals from Germany and predominantly Islamic countries. The organisation also supports research work on foreign cultural and educational policy issues. One of the support programmes in this area is the research programme on ‘Culture and foreign policy’. It is geared not only towards researchers, but also people working in the fields of art and culture, politics, the media and development cooperation.
Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen: the creative practice of cultural and foreign policy
Scholarship holders in the ifa research programme on ‘Culture and foreign policy’ receive support over a three- to six-month period to work full-time on one of the research projects. The projects are announced in the ‘Jobs and Career’ section on the German ifa website, including detailed descriptions and application criteria. One of the tasks assigned to the research interns is to work on current academic findings on their topic that are important for the work of other people working in the field of foreign cultural and educational work. Interns also propose foreign and cultural policy measures and organise discussion events. The eight current projects in 2012/2013 give an overview of the range of topics covered by research.
Across the gamut from training to cooperation
Lecturer and author Dr Udo Metzinger from Munich is working on a research project that addresses the market for training measures in the field of foreign cultural and educational policy, for example. And freelance curator Eva-Christina Meier is studying the prospects contemporary art can offer for sustainable foreign cultural policy, taking the South American cities Buenos Aires, Lima and Santiago de Chile as examples. At the end of the research programme, the results are published in printed form or online.
Great importance is placed on networking and cooperation as part of the research programme. ifa’s partners include universities, media institutes and business organisations. Scholarship holders are supervised together and are assisted in planning and holding conferences and publishing their research, for example. To find out more about project announcements, ongoing programmes and previous publications, please go to the section on the research programme ‘Culture and foreign policy’ on the ifa website.