Recent Gatherings

Democratizing the Arts and the Arts Sector
May 23rd-25th, 2019
Heilbronn University, Campus Künzelsau


UPDATED June 2020: The summer volume of the prestigious and peer-reviewed journal ‘Arts and International Affairs’ is finally out. The special issue on ‘Democratizing arts’ that features texts by participants of our Annual Gathering at Heilbronn University last year is here

This year’s Annual Gathering on ‘Democratizing the arts and the arts sector’ explored four main topics

  • Managing democracy through a discourse of diversity?
  • Facilitating, Packaging or Fostering Democracy through Education and Training: Inclusive Leadership or Contradiction?
  • Democratizing the arts practice
  • Matters of inequality and inclusion/exclusion seen through the
    lens of digitalisation

Conference Feedback

Alex Tam 
“I am particularly impressed with the fact that a diversity of speakers and topics were featured in the conference. It is not solely an intellectual engagement but also an affective one as the speakers are genuine and willing to openly share their innovations and successes, along with their struggles and obstacles. It is uncommon in my experience, and is deeply enriching!”

Suelen Silva
“It was a great pleasure to participate for the first time in the Annual Gathering and to personally meet the BIE network. I have participated in some other conferences about the topic diversity, arts and culture, but I must say, few of them were for me so interesting as the BIE meeting was. Having the chance of starting with a quote from Paulo Freire and in the last day having a quote from Audre Lorde already says a lot about the enlightening experiences and discussions we shared, as well as the rich connections we made having people from all continents. Congratulations also for the organization of the event – everything was perfect! I am looking forward to the Winter School.”

Umar Lawal Yusuf
“I sincerely appreciated and enjoyed the Annual Gathering because it was a great opportunity to meet people from different cultures, countries, disciplines and with abundance experiences. I really learned a lot, and I am proud to partner with the network. Finally, I thank the initiator and organizers for the job well done.”

Johan Kolsteeg
“I experienced the Annual Gathering 2019 as a welcome oasis of discussion, reflection and future oriented planning, on a vital topic in our field. The gathering itself performed intercultural exchange with great effectivity. I expect the Brokering Intercultural Exchange network to be pivotal in developing a relevant research agenda for the future.”

Qinhan Chen
“It was absolutely a great gathering because I was able to meet and chat with such a lovely and diverse group of academics and/or practitioners. Learnt so much from these people who are working from various perspectives and in different local context, comparing notes on our practice and research. I am very happy that we get to come together for our shared concern on arts and intercultural development! Thanks to Raphaela and great student volunteers for the organising work. Enjoyed being a part of this gathering and looking forwards to the next one!”

Anne Frost
“This was such a welcoming and open group, and I really enjoyed pooling our knowledge to create new understanding.  I especially liked the inclusion of advanced learners who were able to share their research with more senior arts managers.  What will this work lead to, as a result or outcome?  For me, goals are potential new relationships and partnerships, leading to student exchanges and guest lectures in other institutions, and having members of the Network visit me at Humber College, in Canada.  Intercultural exchange challenges the algorithm bubbles that imprison us all.”  

Meike Lettau
„The Annual Gathering of the Brokering Intercultural Exchange Network in Künzelsau was a very inspiring meeting, especially due to the familiar atmosphere and the mix between academic exchange and perspectives from cultural practitioners. The participants critically reviewed frameworks, policies and practices around the democratization of arts and culture as well as existing power structures. The discussions featured thoughts about mechanism to overcome global imbalances in intercultural exchange. It was very fruitful to discuss these topics with colleagues from all around the world, particularly the perspectives from West Africa.”


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