Migration and Displacement: projects and initiatives

The Allianz Cultural Foundation is partnering with  a wide variety of projects and events dealing with “Displacement & Migration” in a cultural or social context. The foundation opts to view the so-called “refugee crisis” as a lens through which the challenges and opportunities presented by the ongoing modernization of our society can be studied, and we aim to initiate solutions-oriented projects.

One main priority is to back young artists forced from their home countries in the face of undue pressure and/or imminent danger . The foundation wants to give these at-risk artists new opportunities in Germany, where they can further professionalize their practices, expand their networks and gain access to training and funding institutions. Additionally, this program is meant to actively involve displaced artists, journalists and social activists in public debates on “Displacement & Migration” – along with local representatives from civil society, culture and politics.

In the special program “AKA Integration”, the Allianz Cultural Foundation is giving its support to fun, engaging, accessible  cultural projects and community events that invigorate social lives and increase participation, especially among displaced persons.

Special Program AKA Integration (DE)

Residency Program "Artists at Risk" for Artists and Authors at Risk

Europe-wide, since February 2016
Partners: Literary Colloquium Berlin; Academy Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart; sasha waltz & guests, Berlin; wirmachendasjetzt, Berlin; WIELS, Brussels; Foundation Brandenburger Tor, Berlin; steirischer herbst, Graz; and more...

The Allianz Cultural Foundation has joined forces with various cultural institutions across Europe to award 6-12-month residency grants to authors and artists from the Mediterranean region whose lives are at acute risk in their home countries. Residencies are hosted by various European cultural institutions, making it possible for at risk artists and authors to continue their work while simultaneously developing lasting connections to fellow artists in Europe.

The following authors and artists have been awarded grants to date:

Invitation to the "Torschreiber" award ceremony (DE)

Press release Torschreiber Stipendium (DE)

Residency guidelines

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Yasmine Merei at the Conference "Asylum and Migration in the European Union" 2016
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Meet your neighbours – Places Where Paths Can Cross

Germany, 2017-2018

Berlin writer Annika Reich and the activist coalition WIR MACHEN DAS (WE’RE DOING IT) started the nationwide series of events Meet Your Neighbours to initiate discussions and readings involving refugees and locals at neighborhood libraries and museums.

“We don’t talk about each other, we talk with each other.” With that as their slogan, people who’ve taken refuge in Germany and people who’ve been living here for a while, even their whole lives, tell each other their stories. In that way, Meet Your Neighbours makes use of available community spaces to give both newcomers and old hands alike an opportunity to enter into dialogue at multilingual storytelling salons and readings. Experience has shown that encounters make a difference. Stories connect people with each other and when paths cross, a lot of things can happen.

Read the report on the event on 03 May 2017 at Literaturhaus München here

24 February 2018, 
11:30-6:00 p.m.


Meet Your Neighbours:


Kiron Student Magazine

Berlin, 2017-2018
Partner: Kiron University

Founded in 2015 in Berlin, the Kiron University  offers refugees worldwide access to a bachelor's program at one of the 27 accredited German universities through its two-year online learning programs (MOOCs). 30 Kiron students from different countries were undergoing a professional training in creative writing and journalistic work in order to work on the first edition of a student magazine „The Opening Collection“– as a platform to share their stories, ideas and views. The magazine is available both as a print version and online here.

Currently the students are working on a second edition of the student magazine which is again accompanied by trainings and workshops in that field. Throughout the year 2018 the single contributions will be published beforehand in the social networks an on the Kiron Blog.


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© Kiron University
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© Kiron Open Higher Education

Initiative New Neighbourhood Moabit

Berlin 2016-2018
Partner: New Neighbourhood Moabit

Over the course of six weeks, more than 30 events (talks, workshops, readings, concerts, and more) invited neighbors to spend time together, and to get to know each other and learn from each other in the process. Aside from livening up the community in the dead of winter, the program sparked effortless interaction between people with and without a refugee background. The Moabit culture marathon was designed to send out fresh impulses and act as a prototype for how lived integration can play out in a way that is both interesting and inspiring of imitation.In September 2017 a literary marathon (creative writing classes, readings, discussions and concerts) took place in the New Neighbourhood and in 2018 several young artists from the project will sing in family.

Familiär (Flyer DE)

Neue Nachbarschaft Moabit / New Neighbourhood Moabit

Program Literary Marathon

Marina Naprushkina (Initiator of the project) receives Princess Margriet Award 2017

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© Neue Nachbarschaft Moabit

The School of Everything

Kassel, 11-13 June 2017, Athens
Partner: AthenSYN, Avtonomi Akadimia, Artecitya, ArtBOX, Kunsthochschule Kassel / HyperWerk, Basel / Municipality of Thessaloniki – project LABattoir

The symposium "The School of Everything" at documenta14 in Kassel and Athens is a continuation of the project "UNIVERSITAS". Artists, scientists and activists give an insight into their educational methods and develop new and easily managable formats of education. "The School of Everything" serves as example for a 21st-century university, which focuses on universal learning as a condition of existence and the essence of emancipation.
The symposiums' results will be presented at documenta14, collected and combined in a sculpture.

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© The School of Everything


Athen, 16-27 February 2017
Partner: AthenSYN, Avtonomi Akadimia, Athen Biennial

At UNIVERSITAS German, Greek and Syrian artists, together with residents of two refugees camps in Athens jointly developed new ways of cooperation with their neighborhood. Together, they developed a vision of common future, in which they grow together and learn from one another.The refugees' and Athenians' biographies and stories, their nightmares, dreams and hopes for a better future have been included in the production of everyday documents, pieces of memories and artworks which has been exhibited by the Athens Biennial and given away as presents to neighbors.

Flyer (ARA)
Press release

Besides Athens the exhibition was on view at the Transeuropa-Festival at Matadero in Madrid from 25-29 October 2017, at the Kyiv Biennale on 1 November 2017 an in Gothenburg at the National Museum of World Cultures on 11 November 2017.

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© Universitas

Refugee Class/ Symposium: ARTIST CAREER FORUM

Berlin, 07 December 2016
Partner: University of the Arts, Berlin

The ARTIST CAREER FORUM took place as part of the project “Artist Training: Refugee Class for Professionals”. Displaced artists and representatives of various Berlin cultural institutions were invited to participate. The symposium set out to identify preliminary steps toward effective communication and/or a platform allowing displaced artists and local institutions to come together more easily. As a result, the working group "Transnational Artist Council" has emerged from the "Fachtag", which aims to facilitate the access to networks and jobs in the German cultural industry for newcomer artists.

Symposium Program

ARTIST TRAINING: Refugee Class for Professionals

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© Univerity of the Arts

Landscapes of Hope

Radialsystem Berlin, 01-03 October 2016
Partner: Action for Hope

With the ongoing displacement and exodus of Syrians to Europe, this event was conceived as a platform for the presentation and discussion of current Syrian art and culture.The discussions focused on the challenges and opportunities of Syrian culture scene in exile, including the working conditions and access to networks of the European cultural industry, as well as new artistic liberties and the question of their own identity. In the guided tour "Meet the Artist", several Syrian artists gave insights into their artistic work in the disciplines of dance, film, music and sculpture.


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Lomnava - Refugees & Friends Band & Open Music Platform

Berlin, 2016
Partner: Give Something Back to Berlin

Inspired by diverse encounters and the influx of newcomers to the city, the Give Something Back to Berlin (GSBTB) network supports musicians, and helps them via the Open Music Platform to connect with other refugee musicians and well-established local professionals, to find music lessons and rehearsal spaces, to perform at concerts and to realize personal projects.

Bands such as Lomnava – Refugees & Friends, Wulaba – Refugees Voice, GRV – Global Refugee Voice and 143 Band were founded and supported over the course of 2016. They produced themselves at the Eastside Music Days Festival, Popraci Festival, Rixdorf, Sommer für Alle, Festival Neukölln as well as countless smaller gigs across the city and at  GSBTB events.


Conference “Europe and the Mediterranean in Times of Migration: Challenges and Opportunities”

Allianz Forum Berlin, 11-12 October 2016
Partner: Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), Goethe-Institut and the Süddeutsche Zeitung (newspaper)

This conference sought to stimulate thought and discussion on Europe's long tradition of emigration and immigration, as well as on the experience of exile as a common cultural thread in the Mediterranean. Artists, scholars, journalists and writers from Europe and the Mediterranean region joined in debate and talked about different opportunities and challenges ongoing waves of displacement are presenting for their respective societies. During the conference, the book "Europa. An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees" was presented.

Program (DE/EN/ARA)

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© Bernhard Ludewig