About Us

 

           

Art, Culture and Action

Platform | Location | Venue | Support Association | A Retrospective Glance

The WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN is a place of presentation and representation; of local and global, traditional and contemporary cultural practices and arts. In a world where local and global issues are inextricably linked to international migration stories, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN celebrates cultural difference!

As an event house and festival producer, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN commits itself to examining current cultural and political developments and addressing them through various art, action and cultural forms. In the heart of "Kreuzkölln", it creates (free) spaces for the commentary and active shaping of on-going discourses as well as the design and visualization of artistic and cultural productions from various artistic and cultural milieus of the city - taking particular consideration of the work of People of Color, Black people and members of other ethnic or cultural minorities.

As a platform for art, culture and action, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN is a meeting place for the many Berliners with close biographical ties to different regions and cultures of the world - and thus to different cultural milieus of the city.

Hosting up to 50 events every month, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN is one of the few cultural institutions in Germany, which focuses consistently on transculturality and diversity, and specifically emphasizes Berlin's multiplicity of migrant and minority cultural, art and action forms.

Under the motto "We celebrate cultural difference!" the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN transcends conventional genres by melding a diverse program of film (series), (henna) festivals, panel discussions (on cultural and migration policy), (Kurdish and Chinese) New Year celebrations, literature (nights), music (festivals), performances, dance (theater), (salsa) parties and other forms of encounter and exchange.

In collaboration with curators, artists, (cultural) associations and other experts, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN becomes a creation space for in-house productions and cooperations as well as host for rental events. Users and visitors are provided a vast space to explore issues and address the potentials and opportunities that come from urban lifestyles: In what historical contexts do we live and act? How do our biographies relate to each other? What prospects and potential for development do they hold? How can our living environment - with its everyday work as well as leisure and cultural activities - become more participatory, culturally diverse, inclusive, fair and thus more intelligent?



PLATFORM

In the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN, artistic, cultural and social relationships fuse to form a vibrant, international network. Here, visitors can experience the cultural (and everyday) practices of experimentation, questioning and (re)discovery, which are shaped by migration and in a continual state of flux.

Artistic, (socio)cultural and discursive formats create a link between the worlds of the visitors and provide opportunities for active participation and identification. Against the backdrop of Berlin's continuous cultural transformation processes, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN creates context spaces and platforms for the reflection, commentary and reworking of social processes.

From theme festivals to film, dance, and concert series; conferences and panel discussions to awards, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN makes artistic, cultural and social processes tangible that are relevant for an everyday defined by transculturality and diversity.

The WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN concerns itself primarily with questions concerning identity, equality, visibility, participation and inclusion in the context of migration and ethno-cultural or world view affiliations.


Festivals

Every year in February, our BLACK HISTORY MONTH combines concerts, readings, films, dance and theater performances with reflections on the history of Africa and its cultural links with the Black Atlantic as well as their significance for the various Afro-diasporic communities in Berlin.

The world music competitions creole Berlin-Brandenburg and creole Global with their three awards seek to present the most outstanding migration and fusion-influenced musical developments from Germany and neighboring countries. The regional competition is already in the 5th round, while creole Global - Global Music Contest is open to musicians from all over the world - starting in Autumn 2015.

For over 6000 years, percussion instruments have been and continue to be played as rhythm, effect and signal instruments in both sacred and secular contexts worldwide. Drums, often combined with other instruments or accompanied by song and dance, are considered among the oldest musical instruments of humankind. All throughout its eventful history, the city of Berlin has experienced immigration from all over the world and has become home to various percussion traditions, which are presented at the Global Drums Festival.

Hosting approximately 1.5 million visitors annually from home and abroad, the Karneval der Kulturen was initiated by the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN in 1996 and is considered Europe's largest and most versatile summer open-air festival. Once a year, those Berliners who are not reflected by Berlin's art and cultural scenes are given an unmistakable platform for self-expression - a concept, which even after two decades has not lost its appeal. Four open-air stages of Berliner musicians playing the finest in Global music set the carnival scene at Kreuzberg's Blücherplatz. On Pentecost Sunday, the stretch between Hermannplatz and Mehringdamm is transformed into a gigantic stage of expression, where new, eclectic creations of carnival artworks parade alongside meticulously preserved and carefully developed performance art traditions from various regions all over the world.

In 2013, the three-day SACRED MUSIC&DANCE FESTIVAL was launched as a tribute to the city of Berlin, the both old and new home of a variety of different religious communities. As an integral and essential part of their religious activity, each of these communities maintains a very lively practice of religious and religiously-inspired music and dance. During the festival, Berliner musicians, dancers and speakers representing a multitude of religious and world view communities provide a glimpse into the diverse spectrum of sacred music and dance practices.

Initiated in 1999, the long-term project-based workshop group Werkstatt Religions and World Views examines specific issues pertaining to religious and world view perspectives. In monthly meetings, the workshop group opens up new spaces of knowledge as well as spaces for the perception of one's own socialization: focusing on everyday issues, each year a theme is selected and examined from various religious perspectives. Moreover, the group also organizes a Further Education seminar for teachers, which is visited by nearly 100 disseminators every year, and publishes teaching materials.

Features

In addition to these recurring festivals, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN is regularly developing special event formats featuring well-known guests. In the live political discussion Playing in the Dark or the family event Children's Book Party, issues of discrimination are addressed to set counterpoints vis-à-vis aggressive mainstream debates, in which the use of clichés and external ascriptions is commonplace.

Raum für Flucht! Every Wednesday, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN offers its Club space free of charge for events relating to forced migration/#fleeing as well as to self-organized refugee projects and initiatives. Interested? Get in touch with us at veranstaltungsbuero@werkstatt-der-kulturen.de.

Curation

The role of the curator is the professional intermediation of cultural and artistic achievements. Curators are simultaneously artists, inspiring creators of total experiences who create an event environment where audience is directly engaged through participation and communication opportunities.

Whether first-timer or recurring contributor, our curators form an ever-expanding body of expert knowledge on the vast migrant arts and cultural scenes of Berlin. Not only do they address current developments and discourses in their work, they continually share their artistic expertise and (trans)cultural know-how with our visitors through events and series such as the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN's WorldWideCinema series; Jazz, world music and (Bospo)rock concerts; word and literary events; dance festivals or various interdisciplinary event formats that reflect important aspects of their artistic, cultural and biographical frames of reference.

Partners

Through its many cooperations with associations, working groups, universities, artists, activists and initiatives, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN functions also as a valuable network for local projects and national and international organizations.

The interest of our partners in programs such as the festival Black Music Renaissance, the concert series Klangfarbe or the film series Beyond Spring once again confirm the urgent need for a venue with artistic priorities which look beyond occidental high and pop culture aesthetics.


Furthermore, cooperations between the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN and partners have resulted in the development of projects, such as 200 Years Later..., the Initiative afrodiasporische Zusatzschule, the touring exhibition Respect, the conference The German Oak in the Yasukini Shrine and the Nelson Mandela Festival. Critical word-based events such as Zwischen Antisemitismus und Antimuslimismus, Racism in the Courtroom, Greece and Euro(pe) and Action Strategies for Equal Participation for Sinti and Roma in Germany have been developed as well. With our partners, we have not only been able to co-produce award-winning films such as Kiez der Kinder or Den ganzen Weg, but also organize historical concert evenings which narrate pieces of history through music, such as Songs of the Civil Rights Movement by the Berliner Ebony Big Band.

All of these events clearly show that the processing, communication and collective reception of history in Berlin, a European metropolis influenced by emigration and immigration, must acknowledge global history as one which is intricately woven and defined by relationships - a history in which all Berliners should recognize themselves.

Rentals

Clubs, organizations and initiatives that deal with issues of migration, transculturality, diversity and cultural difference often choose to take advantage of the rental space in the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN for their events - whether stage performance, concert or seminar. Attracting a culturally diverse audience, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN makes an ideal space for events such as:

"Theatre Berbere", "Ibn Rushd Preisverleihung”, "Dialogforum der Jungen Islam Konferenz Berlin", "Danca Frevo Tanzfest", "Kalligraphie Workshop", "Tamilisches Literarisches Forum", "Äthiopisches Neujahrsfest", "Mapuche - die indigene Minderheit Chiles", "Meine Erde, meine Welt..." "Ein Abend der polnischen Roma-Kultur", "Welt-Down-Syndrom-Tag 2014", "Fachforum Arbeitsmarkt&Migration", "Tadschikische Afghanische Kulturveranstaltung", "Mitarbeiterschulung Interkulturelle Öffnung", "Maßnahme zur Stärkung der Roma-Community in Berlin", "Bühne der Wahrheit", "Ayyaám-í-Há-Fest", "Bir Saz Bir Söz", "Brasiliensolidairtät damals und heute", "Nau-Roz - Nauroz Fest", "Frieden für Venezuela" and "Einführung in das Asyl- und Aufenthaltsrecht"

These events provide a little glimpse into the diverse art and cultural scenes that Berlin’s diversified landscape of migrant associations, organizers and curators conceive, produce and - in the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN - put to stage.



LOCATION

In 1865, the construction of the "Bergbrauerei Hasenheide” was initiated by merchant and manufacturer Karl Gustav Eduard Kelch at the location of what was then known as Hasenheide 108 -114. After two years of construction, it was inaugurated in 1867 and put into operation.

In 1890, Neukölln decided to change the name of the section of road where the is brewery located to “Wissmannstraße" - in honor of Hermann Wissmann for his leading role in the bloody suppression of the so-called “Arabs Revolt” in the colony of 'German East Africa'.

Together with visitors, artists, partners and external organizers, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN seeks to subject the cloaking of Germany’s colonial past to continuous critical revision.

In a post-colonial world, it is essential to relate and negotiate the stories of all of Berlin’s citizens and take interest in the complexity of their biographies in order for national historical perspectives to be surmounted. Projects such as 100 Years Maji Maji War, the History-Music CD 1884, the exhibition MANUFACTURING RACE, the conference "DECOLONIZE!" or the panel discussion Postcolonial Justice with Prof. Paul Gilroy on Germany’s coming to terms with and processing of its colonial history do precisely this.

VENUE

With a room on the second floor, which can be used for concerts, film screenings, theater, or word-based events; a conference room and three meeting rooms on the first floor; a restaurant with a large garden on the ground floor and a club in the basement, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN is well equipped to flexibly respond to the needs and wishes of all its users.

SUPPORTING ASSOCIATION

The WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN is a project of the supporting association Brauerei Wissmannstrasse e.V.. It receives subsides from the Office of the Commissioner of the Berlin Senate for Integration and Migration for operating costs and regularly applies for external funding for individual projects and programs. In addition to this, revenue is also generated from venue rentals.

A RETROSPECTIVE GLANCE

In October 1993, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN opens its doors in the historic former working class district of Neukölln for the first time.

Primarily developed by clubs and migrant organizations to serve their own communities, the cross-genre program becomes an integral part of the immigrant milieu of the city, which today constitutes a significant part of the historical memory of Berlin.

Complementary to its program, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN professionalizes its interdisciplinary program by intensively and extensively working together with Berliner artists and curators in subsequent years. With stage, film and discourse events, it manages to strengthen its reputation as the first institution in Berlin’s cultural scene to focus consistently and steadfastly on the visibility of migrant, Black and PoC perspectives in art, culture and action.

Today, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN stands for the Celebration of Cultural Difference like no other - it’s its own raison d’être.

How it all began:

Learn more about the beginnings of the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN in our institution brochure (PDF, German) from 1993.

WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN’s Annual Report 2014 (PDF, German)

Donation Account:

IBAN: DE85 1009 0000 5685 4070 29
BIC: BEVODEBB