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.

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; Berliner Senat (program "Weltoffenes Berlin"); 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 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:

Yasmine Merei auf der Konferenz „Asyl und Migration in der Europäischen Union“ 2016
Yasmine Merei at the Conference "Asylum and Migration in the European Union" 2016

Panel discussion at the Deutsches Historisches Museum (Zeughauskino)

The second panel discussion on the topic "The Sea as Bridge and Barrier" will take place on 10 December 2018: After questioning the status quo of a Europe "Between Freedom and Frontex" at the preceding event in September, Pauline Endres de Oliveira (Amnesty International Germany), Dr. Frank Dörner (Sea Watch e.V.), Prof. Dr. Jochen Oltmer (Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies at the University of Osnabrück), and Jean Peters (Peng! art collective/ Seebrücke) will discuss alternative ideas for our European future. The event is a cooperation with the Deutsche Historisches Museum and will be moderated by Esra Küçük, Managing Director of the Allianz Cultural Foundation.

You can listen to the event on the soundcloud-chanel of DHM here.

Berlin, Volksbühne (Red Salon), 18 March 2018
Partner: Mohammad Al Attar, Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Yasmine Merei

The 18th of March 2011, marked the first sparkle of the Syrian Revolution against one of the most brutal totalitarian regimes in the region. But very soon the country will enter dark phases of civil and proxy wars. The writer and political dissident Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar, and Syrian writer and editor Yasmine Merei, hosted a group of Syrian and European experts and writers to discuss Syria’s complicated present and ambiguous future.

With: Mohammad Al Attar, Mazen Darwish, Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Kristin Helberg, Nicolas Hénin, Bassma Kodmani, Yasmine Merei, Thomas Pierret

© Untitled. Zena El Abdallah
© Untitled. Zena El Abdallah

Germany, 2017-2019

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

© Hans Herbig
© Hans Herbig

Gdansk, since 2017
Partner: European Solidarity Centre

We all hear about refugees but not many of us know the everyday-heroes who make the refugees’ situation more bearable. Many volunteers across the world decided to step right in the line of the conflict and open their hearts to help the newcomers acting merely on the value of solidarity and compassion. ‘Solidarity Here and Now’ is a long-term project that aims to bring together volunteers and volunteers’ coordinators engaged in work with refugees across the European continent to share their experiences, discuss common problems and learn from each other. The pilot edition of the project took place 24-29th November 2017 in Gdansk, Poland. Thirteen volunteers engaged in supporting refugees arrived to Gdańsk to have workshops and trainings on psychological, political and historical issues in order to help them understand better the situation of refugees and to prepare more suitable support.

The toolkit for NGOs highlights the motivations, problems and needs that the volunteers have while working with refugees. It’s addressed to non-governmental organizations and cultural institutions that already support or want to support volunteers in the important work they are doing.

© European Solidarity Centre
© European Solidarity Centre
Click here for more videos.

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.
© Kiron University
© Kiron University
© Kiron Open Higher Education

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.

© Neue Nachbarschaft Moabit
© Neue Nachbarschaft Moabit