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Belonging in a “Creative” City

der bbk berlin informiert: Ilana Brownstein in Howlround - Theatre commons vom 11.10.2018

Kultursenator Dr. Klaus Lederer im Gespräch mit Christophe Knoch und Dr. des. Friederike Landau über die Rolle von Kunst und Kultur in der Entwicklung dynamischer europäischer Demokratien

Ilana Brownstein: Thoughts from the curator: A series featuring voices from in and around Boston's theatre community:

"Advocacy for the arts has been one of the central topics of the meetings and research activities of IETM - International network for contemporary performing arts. This series of interviews reveals the challenges and peculiarities of advocating for the arts in today’s reality.

It’s a Monday afternoon in early September 2018. Berlin’s light is getting greyer after a hot and dry summer. We enter a wide room on the fourth floor in Brunnenstraße, in Berlin-Mitte, sprinkled with dark-grey, red, and yellow chairs, reminiscent of the German national colors. On the walls are black-and-white posters of the historical Café Moskau in former East Berlin, just off Alexanderplatz, alluding to the city’s torn past, split into East and West and their respective cultural worlds.

Accidental or not, both decorative color schemes in the office quietly speak to the theme of the conversation to come: Berlin’s position as a European and international capital of culture; a “creative” city, a place where artists increasingly act as agents of political and urban change. “‘Creative’ cities”—those that thrive on creativity and a culturally vibrant atmosphere—is a term coined by economic geographer Richard Florida. And while assuming that those cities put art and culture at the forefront of urban development, the term has been criticized because it could serve as a cover-up for neoliberal urban politics that treat art as resources or commodities.

We have arrived in Brunnenstraße to speak with the city’s senator for culture and Europe, Dr. Klaus Lederer from the Left party, who has been in office since late 2016. It was before Lederer’s entry into office, however, that the city’s cultural political terrain was significantly reshuffled. The emergence of a new collective in 2012—the Koalition der Freien Szene (Coalition of the Independent Scene)—gave voice to the “independent scene” in Berlin.

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