Cultural education in Berlin

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Image: Daniele Ansidei

Enhancing the profile and delivery of cultural education throughout Berlin’s cultural and educational institutions is among the central objectives in the area of educational and cultural policy within the state of Berlin. Efforts in this area cut across the formal and non-formal education sectors, including cultural centres and initiatives targeting general audiences as well as those catering specifically to children and youth.
With its emphasis on delivering cultural education opportunities to youth and children, the success of this model rests on the establishment of strong ties between the diverse actors in the cultural and arts sectors and Berlin’s schools, early childcare centres and other youth work providers.
The model’s origins lie in an initiative launched in 2006 to promote cultural education in Berlin, which was backed by Berlin’s Council for the Arts (Rat für die Künste) and a broad coalition of freelance artists, academic advisory boards, state administrative bodies for education and culture, and a leading association in the field of cultural education for children and youth in Berlin (Landesvereinigung kinder- und jugendkultureller Bildung). The initiative’s primary objective is to promote and facilitate the active involvement of children and young people in aesthetic and artistic processes by establishing cooperative ties between various institutions for culture and education within Berlin. In doing so the initiative draws on Berlin’s extraordinarily diverse international arts and cultural landscapes to drive the growth and quality of cultural education in Berlin.

The framework for cultural education

In 2008 the Senate departments for education and culture presented a comprehensive policy framework for cultural education, taking into account the various roles of a broad spectrum of relevant actors within this field of activity, including early childcare services, primary and secondary schools, providers of youth services, artists and cultural institutions. The framework identifies and defines three central priorities and fields of activity for cultural education in Berlin: preserving existing services and providers, improving cooperation and strengthening institutional ties, reaching new target audiences. The Senate departments report to the House of Representatives at regular intervals on the implementation of this framework on the basis of internal progress reports.

Berlin Project Fund

Funding is allocated through the Berlin Project Fund for Cultural Education in accordance with the policy framework for cultural education and is directed primarily toward the second field of activity identified in the policy framework: “improving cooperation and strengthening institutional ties”. Approximately €2 million are allocated annually through the the fund to projects that create opportunities for children and youth to acquire cultural and aesthetic competences in both formal and non-formal educational contexts. Funding is allocated exclusively to joint venture projects implemented by actors from the educational (early childcare and education centres / schools / youth centres) and cultural sectors (cultural institutions / professional artists / actors from the cultural and creative economy).

Evaluation

The framework for cultural education requires the assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness (i.e. process evaluation) of projects allocated funding through this programme and the regular evaluation of recipients of institutional funding active in the field of cultural education. The first assessment, evaluating the work of around sixty recipients of institutional funding, was published in 2011. The report provides an overview of the quality, importance and role of art and cultural mediation undertaken by cultural institutions in Berlin.

Kubinaut

A joint venture of Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH and the Landesvereinigung kulturelle Jugendbildung, the online platform “Kubinaut – Navigation Kulturelle Bildung also seeks to enhance cooperation and build networks. Following in the wake of intensive efforts to develop and strengthen cultural education capacities in the German capital, the platform provides users from Berlin and further afield with a comprehensive and accessible overview of the diverse actors, providers and ancillary components of this vibrant sector.
Incorporating a previously existing database of providers and users of cultural education services, Kubinaut is a user-driven platform for networking and cooperation. Launched in autumn 2013, the platform provides an easily accessible space to celebrate successes, track research developments and review the role of cultural education across multiple sectors and levels of governance, including state and federal initiatives within the Berlin-Brandenburg region. Providing crucial guidance on project development and funding, Kubinaut – Navigation Kulturelle Bildung is a meeting place, networking platform, information resource, talent pool, presentation platform and archive of outstanding work in the field of cultural education.