Study on Temporary Shelter and Relocation Initiatives

In the study “Temporary Shelter and Relocation Initiatives: Perspectives of Managers and Participants” commissioned by the Martin Roth Initiative (Germany), international shelter programmes are analysed from different perspectives, various models for relocation are presented, impacts and challenges are examined. The research is based on qualitative interviews and focuses on security, health, visa procurement, return opportunities, networks and financing.

The full study as well as an executive summary can be downloaded at the MRI website.

Solidarity Matters

On 19 May 2019, artists*, members of the cultural landscape and cultural institutions called for the demo “UNITE & SHINE” in Berlin and several other cities in Germany. More than 5.000 people marched for artistic freedom, an open and democratic society, solidarity, diversity and tolerance. The artists demo, organized by the network DIE VIELEN (The Many) joined with the European wide march ONE EUROPE FOR ALL.
“Nous ne sommes pas doupes!” – in France, 1.400 artists and creative workers signed a solidarity address to the Yellow Vests movement: “What they ask for, they ask for it for all. Yellow vests are us.”

Sources: Unite and Shine, Nous ne sommes pas doupes!

ACAR Seminar at the Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts

By invitation of the Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts, ACAR organised together with ITI Sweden the seminar “Silencing the others – Censorship and self-censorship in the Performing Arts in Europe” . Moderated by Ann Marin Engel (ACAR, ITI Sweden), Sirak Plipat (Freemuse), Tamás Jászay (critic, editor, professor, Hungary) and Thomas Engel (ACAR, ITI Germany) introduced and discussed on May 15th with Swedish Theatre makers the increasing censorship and self-censorship in Europe in the performing arts. The rise of right wing parties and populism, pressure via social media, economic censorship and religious campaigns have brought Europe in an equal relation to the rest or the world in terms of reported attacks against freedom of expression. New alliances between artists and the civil society are needed. Gad Kaynar, the president of the Israeli Center described via voice message  the resistance of the theatre sector in Israel against a radical nationalistic and conservative cultural policy in his country.

Scenkonstbiennalen 2019

Crime Investigation against “Zentrum Für Politische Schönheit” in Germany

Since the end of November 2017, a preliminary investigation has been under way against the German performance group “Center for Political Beauty” (ZPS) according to §129 StGB at the request of the public prosecutor’s office in Gera (Thuringia) with serious suspicion of “forming a criminal organization”. The investigation was initiated one week after the start of the ZPS action “Deine Stele” (Your Stela), the construction of a copy of the Berlin Holocaust memorial opposite the house of right wing MP Björn Höcke (AFD).

Investigations according to §129 has never been used against artists before. They allow comprehensive surveillance and applied to particularly serious crimes such as terrorism and gang crime and which are punishable by terms of imprisonment of two to five years. The proceedings were also not discontinued after the Cologne Regional Court, in its decision of February 2018, clearly and unambiguously regarded the action of the ZPS as a “work of art” and assessed it to be fully covered by the fundamental rights of artistic freedom and freedom of expression.

The case became public by a parliamentary interpellation from the Left party, followed by  investigative reports from the media. After 16 months, the case was dropped yesterday.

The Gorki Theater, Berlin which presented several ZPS projects , wrote an open letter of protest, signed by a large number of people and cultural institutions, including ITI, which protests against the criminalization of critical art: “We formally oppose and defend ourselves against a tendency towards the political-ideological criminalisation of art, which endangers the community and the free democratic basic order, and against the the instrumentalisation of criminal law on the basis of convictions.”

Sources: Gorki Theater, Center for Political Beauty