27. + 28.5.2021, online event

Insights into the mediation practice of the New Patrons for and with art and cultural mediators

In this workshop for art and cultural mediators, we provide insights into the processes of mediation behind the accompaniment of art on behalf of citizens. We present New Patron's special model of active local participation in ambitious artistic projects and report on the opportunities, peculiarities and challenges that mediators – as mediators in a broad sense – encounter while implementing non-profit projects together with citizens and artists.

Video: 1st workshop day, conversation between Alexander Koch and Amanda Crabtree on 30 years of New Patrons in Europe

"The protocol recommends that art mediators, whose task is to connect artworks and the public, do the same with people: create connections between artists, patrons and all other actors involved".
François Hers: The New Patrons Protocol, 3rd paragraph (1990)

New Patrons mediators have been working since the 1990s in France, Germany and beyond on the basis of the same protocol: from the initial idea to the realisation of finished works, they accompany citizens through an open-ended and demanding process to translate their demands and concerns into contemporary art forms and projects. These processes can take many forms. They depend on the respective perspectives and needs that all participants bring to the table, and they thus anchor a (more) democratic shaping of the art business already at the level of production.

Whether people in twelve neighbouring villages deal with their concerns about growing old in the countryside, confront the smouldering conflict over a community centre or transform the garden of a community centre for unemployed people into the hitherto missing community space for an entire city – at the beginning of every commission, in the mediation model of the New Patrons, is the local issue, the common concern of a group of citizens. Mediators with experience and know-how in cultural production accompany the groups from the formulation and publication of their commission, through the search for suitable artists and allies, to the design and implementation of the artistic vision on their doorstep.

Artists develop unusual and often surprising responses and perspectives to the concerns of their commissioning groups. People with little or no previous knowledge of contemporary art set things in motion when they work with artists and mediators from design to implementation and, in the course of the commissioning process, become experts themselves who can ultimately explain the artwork they have commissioned in the most competent way.

How does the practice of mediators combine knowledge from art and its mediation with lived social responsibility, project management and political work? How can art production on behalf of citizens be anchored in society as a collaborative practice in the future?

We invite you to get to know this model of action based on the protocol of the New Patrons in a workshop atmosphere. We will report on typical situations in our work from our own personal and project-related experiences as mediators, refer to recurring actor constellations and leave room to reflect on these together with the participants in relation to their own practices.

Among others, two guest speakers will provide impulses for the discussion: Amanda Crabtree, long-time mediator and chairperson of the French Societé des Nouveaux commanditaires, and Judith Laister, cultural anthropologist in Graz.


Thursday, 27.5.2021, 10.45 am–1.45 pm

  • Presentation of the New Patrons model methods and historical background including presentation of exemplary projects: Gerrit Gohlke (Head of Regional Development) and Alexander Koch (Director) (in German)
  • Mediator Amanda Crabtree in conversation with Alexander Koch on 30 years of New Patrons in Europe (in English)
  • Afterwards: opportunity for informal discussions

Friday, 28.5.2021, 10.45 am – 2pm

  • Judith Laister: To Art its Time. Impulse lecture and discussion on the processes and actor worlds of art on behalf of citizens (in German)
  • Afterwards: Workshop discussions with mediators and organisers of the New Patrons and joint plenary session

On both days after the event, there will be the opportunity to make contact and ask specific questions in individual discussions.


Participation is free of charge. In order to be able to create spaces for personal exchange, we limit the number of participants to a maximum of 40 people. Please register by 22 May 2021 at the latest at


Susanne Burmester
Mediator in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, journalist and curator

Amanda Crabtree
Mediator in France (Hauts-de-France)

Holger Friese
Mediator in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, media artist and designer

Gerrit Gohlke
Head of Regional development of the New Patrons Society Germany

Kathrin Jentjens
Mediator in Rhineland, art historian and curator

Alexander Koch
Director of the New Patrons Society Germany

Judith Laister
Cultural anthropologist

Mirl Redmann
Mediator in Kassel, cultural scientist and art educator

Lea Schleiffenbaum
Mediator in South-Brandenburg and Ruhr area, art historian and freelance curator

Sophia Trollmann
Coordinator project development of the New Patrons Society Germany, mediator in Brandenburg, cultural scientist

The event is funded by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.