Thursday, 18.11.2021, 2–5pm (in German)
An online event for planners and decisionmakers at the municipal and state levels and everyone interested in civic participation and decision-making processes.
We want to exchange ideas with you about how the New Patrons model offers unconventional insights into community processes and guidance on how to address even complex issues without intimidating would-be local activists. We throw open the door to our workshop and look forward to learning about your perspectives on and suggestions for what we do. We hope to launch a dialogue on how we can engage people in new conversations and on the key role that culture and art play for an innovative practice grappling with societal concerns.
We introduce you to a unique approach to civic participation.
The New Patrons’ mediation model casts citizens as active partners in dealing with local and cultural concerns of vital public interest. An innovative instrument that has been field-tested throughout Europe, it is now available to German municipal and regional governments as a productive way to channel creative energies into communal concerns. We talk about how citizens become patrons, how international artists bring change to places and communities, how cultural mediation tackles conflicts, and how political leaders, administrations, institutional actors, and funding bodies can forge new alliances that benefit broad public audiences. Are you a policymaker, an urban or regional development official involved in shaping change, or a professional in another field? Or would you like to learn more about the New Patrons model because it aligns with your personal interests? Either way, you are encouraged to attend. Participation is free.
The New Patrons’ program directors explain methods and structures, share experiences and insights from their practice, present exemplary projects. The open conversational format leaves room for discussions of specific points, including your own particular interests. All questions are very welcome!
This introduction to our program is held as a digital event; you will receive the invitation link in an email before the event starts. Please send us an email at webinar.at.neueauftraggeber.de to register. If you let us know what you do and where, we will take this information into account as we flesh out the workshop’s details.
Efforts to boost civic participation face mounting challenges. Distrust of political processes and a growing inability to live with conflicts on one side and centralized and streamlined structures on the other make it harder to implement participatory decision-making and often hobble efforts to engage in dialogue.
As the Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber, the German New Patrons, we are familiar with the promises and challenges of civic participation from our own work. Our projects empower citizens to bring the potentials of art to bear on pressing concerns or problems in their villages or neighborhoods. Supported by mediators, they articulate the mission they want art to take on. The objective is to change something about the local reality and shape the environment in which people’s lives are set. Art is rarely the primary interest from the start: it is almost always urgent problems, neglected issues, and sometimes simmering conflicts that prompt citizens to take action.
The New Patrons then bring international artists to the scene whose creative thinking and outsiders’ perspective enable them to develop unexpected solutions. At the same time, the citizen patrons’ active involvement gains public visibility; its prominent manifestation in a work of art serves as an example of what is possible, motivating others to become actively involved as well. To empower communities to reinvent themselves in this way or muster the courage to experiment with strategies toward a different future, we work closely with administrators and political decisionmakers as well as institutions in the field of art and culture. When a site is ultimately transformed and citizens take charge of their communities’ lives, that is always the fruit of a collaborative effort involving many parties.
If you think that you might benefit from our model, experiences, and mediation practice, we’ll be happy to discuss your options, including the possibility of realizing citizen-commissioned art projects in your municipality or region.
We look forward to meeting you!
Gerrit Gohlke, head of regional development, Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber, and Alexander Koch, director, Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber, host the program and share experiences and insights from their practice.
Welcome and introductions
Introduction to the New Patrons model of civic participation with concrete example projects: how a dilapidated one-room schoolhouse is transformed into a new community attraction and a condemned building into a village beach
Cooperative ventures in cities and municipalities: a report from practice
Raising unconventional questions to rediscover familiar spaces and themes—how we share knowledge and forge new paths together
Introduction to the New Patrons’ cost and financing model
The New Patrons as an offer and blueprint for action to be rolled out throughout Germany
Discussion and final remarks
Image: Die Neuen Auftraggeber von Züsedom, photo: Victoria Tomaschko