The UNESCO Chair “Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development” is hosted by the Department of Cultural Policy at the University of Hildesheim with Professor Wolfgang Schneider as chairholder, Dr. Daniel Gad as managing director ans Theresa Bärwolff as further staff member.
After a successful start of the Hildesheim UNESCO chair in 2012/2013 the concept of continuation from May 2016 until May 2020 has been structured successfully.
In its creation in 2011, the title of the Hildesheim UNESCO chair “Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development” has been defined as a specific understanding of the widely used term “culture and development” which is based on the understanding of Hildesheim cultural studies: a close link to the arts and based on the German understanding of cultural policy as a policy for the development of society (Kulturpolitik als Gesellschaftspolitik).
In general, it is planned to continue along the title “Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development” linked to cultural governance approaches and to direct the activities of the UNESCO chair in relation to five interrelated thematic areas which have been sharpened for the second four-year period as UNESCO chair from 2016 until 2020:
1) Artistic interventions generating new processes of transformation
2) Understanding, protecting and defending freedom of artistic expression in relation to human rights and social justice
3) Cultural resources and creative capabilities of civil society for engaging in cultural diplomacy and global development
4) Cultural policy frameworks for arts education
5) The implementation of the 2005 UNESCO convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions through partnership and dialogue.
The most important link of the Hildesheim UNESCO Chair to UNESCO is the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression. The policy impact has recently been discussed within the 2015 report Re/Shaping Cultural Policies.
Parallel UNESCO and further UN institutions’ conventions, declarations and reports on the wider field of culture and development, cultural governance, heritage, arts education and freedom of creative expressions are also relevant. Further, the UNESCO Medium-Term Strategy 2014-2021 (37 C/4) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 are taken into account. The 2010 Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education, the 2015 Full Analytic Report on the implementation of the UNESCO 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist and the 2013 Report by Farida Shaheed as Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights entitled The right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity constitute additional reference points.
The thematic focus of the Hildesheim UNESCO chair is in particular seen to be especially in line with the so-called Global priority Africa of the UNESCO Medium-Term Strategy 2014-2021. The chair’s thematic focus touches amongst others upon the strategic objective no. 8 on creativity and the diversity of cultural expressions and on objective no. 9 on freedom of expressions. However, links to objectives no. 5 on scientific cooperation, no. 6 on inclusive social development and no. 7 on heritage can also be identified.
We define it as our task to relate to the processes of building global inclusive knowledge societies and fostering literacy, especially in the fields of cultural, aesthetic and artistic literacy. This understanding rests upon the debate and implementation of human rights-based approaches which tend to support freedoms at all levels. From our view point, it is in particular the field of arts freedom which deserves attention.
In relation to this, the strengthening of partnerships in the sense of fair cooperation and mutual and sustainable cultural exchange and dialogue are further dimensions in the chair’s scope of action.
Due to the steep increase of refugees in Germany since August 2015 the Hildesheim UNESCO chair has even more than before included a focus on the diversity of cultural expressions. This is based on an understanding of cultural policy in relation to migration and refuge of people, looking at processes of integration and inclusion into societies and parallel to this the question on strategies to protect individual cultural heritage after moving into a new society.
The Hildesheim UNESCO Chair is active in the fields of teaching, research, capacity building, publication, discourse and networking. This will be continued through national and international Bachelor and Master study programmes and PhD and further research projects. At international level the main activities are done with selected mainly German, European, Arab and African partners at university level and in parallel with professional arts, cultural policy and education institutions.