Cultural scene

Participant Irma Wahyuni. | Photo: Nurhidayati

Visitors’ Journey – “The open congregations made me proud”

The Islamic scholar Irma Wahyuni visited Germany for two weeks for a visitors’ journey organised by the Goethe-Institut for Muslim intellectuals from Indonesia. Here, she speaks about refugees, radicalism and individualism.More ...
Iuventa © César Dezfuli

Jugend Rettet – Iuventa: The film

After launching a crowdfunding campaign to purchase a fishing trawler, the Berlin-based aid organization Jugend Rettet (“Youth Saves”) have been rescuing refugees in distress at sea since June 2016. Michele Cinque, an Italian documentary filmmaker aboard, has been filming the young German crew of the retrofitted Iuventa as it criss-crosses the Mediterranean on rescue missions. His documentary is to be screened at the Berlinale.More ...
The German-speaking author Deniz Utlu | Photo: © Marianna Salzmann

Interview with Deniz Utlu – Identity between cultures

The German-speaking author Deniz Utlu writes about migration and identity in a way that is at once to the point and poetical. In our interview, he explains why his Turkish roots seem more important to others than they do to him, and how he himself defines his identity.More ...
The Bremen Municipal Library entrance area with portrait photos, predominantly of library users | Photo (detail): © Stadtbibliothek Bremen

Diversity Management – “Designing public libraries as open spaces”

How can libraries adapt to the growing diversity of society? Goethe.de spoke with Britta Schmedemann, a specialist in target group work at the Bremen Municipal Library, about strategies of diversity management.More ...
“We’re off and away!” – seven teens from Berlin on stage | Photo: Lennart Kortmann

A New Life – Third European PASCH School Theatre Festival 2017

One subject – one stage – five interpretations. At this year’s PASCH theatre festival in Berlin, teens from all over Europe met with plays in German they’d written themselves in tow.More ...
Wael Kadour | Photo (excerpt): private

Doing theatre during the Syrian revolution – an interview with Wael Kadour

Syrian playwright and dramaturg Wael Kadour came of age in Damascus a decade before the revolution. His plays speak of life in his home country and social tensions across the Middle East. In 2015, he resettled in France as a refugee, and now contributes to French, German and international projects.More ...
Visitors at the vernissage in Moskow. | Photo: Alexey Kubasow

The border – Between here and there, me and you

Borders are part of everyone’s lives – what do they signify? Who defines borders? When do they confine us and when are they important? With its travelling exhibition The Border, the Goethe-Institut is seeking answers to these questions by means of artistic considerations. Here, participating artists offer insights into their reflections and works.More ...
Eating is a sensitive experience | Photo (detail): © SolisImages - Fotolia.com

Foreign Cuisines – “Taste is as versatile as identity”

Pizza, cappuccino, doner kebab – it is hard to imagine Germany these days without any foreign cuisines. Maren Möhring, a cultural historian, tells us whether food can bridge the gap between different cultures.More ...
Aboud Saeed | Photo: @ mikrotext

Refugee Authors – Writing – or not – in exile

How persecuted and displaced writers in Germany fight for a new life in literature – and how much strength and luck this requires.More ...
Hans-Werner Kroesinger and Regine Dura: “Stolpersteine Staatstheater“ (i.e. City Theatre Stumbling Stones) at the Karlsruhe Staatstheater | Photo: Rob Moonen

“I’m not a Nazi, but ...” – Plays on the swing to the right

The German theatre has responded to the swing to the right in society. It has thereby proceeded to treat the subject in different ways aesthetically and thematically. Some plays have addressed directly the xenophobic Pergida movement and the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD). Others point up historical parallels and analyse right-wing patterns of thought worldwide.More ...
Publicist Gaisha Madanova, Astrid Wege from the Goethe-Institut Moscow, curator Ellen Kapanadze, artist Anton Karmanov, artist Saule Dyussenbina, exhibition curator Inke Arns. | Photo: Lea Albring

Laboratory – Borderline Experiences

In Dortmund, artists from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Russia are preparing a travelling exhibition called “Die Grenze” (The Border). They were invited by the Goethe-Institut to explore the theme of borders; borders as territorial perimeters and exclusions, as cultural and social dividing lines, as instruments for differentiating “us” from “them.”More ...
“Während ich wartete” (i.e. While I Was Waiting) by Mohammed Al Attar, guest performance at the Theaterformen Festival in Brunswick | Didier Nadeau

Theatre projects of refugee artists – Away from suffering porn

On the German stage refugees are still often the authentic narrators of their fate, directed by established German directors. How can they become their own authors and raise their own, independent artistic voices? Examples from the theatre immigration country Germany.More ...
Firas Alshater | Photo (detail) © Jim Naughton

An interview with Firas Alshater – “It's not my dream job, however, to be a refugee”

“Who are these Germans?” This is the question Firas Alshater asks on his Youtube channel called Zukar. Check out this interview with the Syrian filmmaker who lives in Berlin and find out his views on acceptance, on what a home country and humour means to him.More ...
Music creates home, a workshop day of the Bayerische Philharmonie | Photo (detail): © Monica Garduño Soto

Refugee music: Music as an opportunity for exchange

Streams of migration are a challenge. On the move along with individual people are whole cultures, languages and habits that are sometimes not understood outside their homelands. Music, as a non-verbal phenomenon bound up with strong feelings, could operate as a medium for bridging the consequent perplexity.More ...
The interior of a Book Bus | Photo (detail): © readymedia.com

Books: The bus that helped me discover the world

Nothing has made a bigger difference in writer Hatice Akyün’s life than the Duisburg Book Bus. Now she has met its inventor. By Hatice AkyünMore ...

Cultural Activities for Refugees – Training the “Social Muscles”

Be it cookery, music or a foreign language: refugees can give people in their host countries an insight into foreign cultures. Many projects in Germany are designed to engage refugees in cultural activities.More ...

Diversity in Children’s Books – Heroes from Immigrant Backgrounds Wanted

When it comes to the way modern German society is depicted, children's literature in Germany still has some catching up to do.More ...
Picture from “Das Kind und seine Befreiung vom Schatten der großen, großen Angst”; © Trauma-Bilderbuch/Susanne Stein

Overcoming Trauma Through Books – Repairing Psychological Damage

Refugee children have often experienced terrible things. A specially designed trauma picture book helps children and parents to better come to terms with their experiences.More ...

Enriching Culture – Refugees Open Doors, a Long Way from Home

They establish magazines, make films and organize festivals: many refugees make an active contribution to the cultural scene in Germany.More ...

Architecture and Integration – “To stop feeling like beggars”

In our interview, the sociologist Ingrid Breckner talks about how housebuilding and urban development can improve integration and how conflicts in society can be avoided.More ...
Overcoming foreignness together: “Am Tag als Saída zu uns kam”; © Peter Hammer Verlag

Picture books about refugees and foreignness – explaining issues gently but without sugar-coating

New picture books from German publishers introduce children to themes relating to refugees, war and xenophobia.More ...
Author Jenny Erpenbeck; © Katharina Behling

Jenny Erpenbeck‘s novel about refugees – privilege and responsibility

No other novel of 2015 has taken up the issue of migration in a more focused and nuanced way and with more narrative force than has Jenny Erpenbeck’s “Gehen, ging, gegangen”.More ...
Ahmet Öğüt, founder of the Silent University, at Impulse Festival 2015; photo: Robin Junicke

Theatre and Refugees: Awakening silent knowledge

No cultural institution has currently engaged itself in helping refugees as intensely as has the German theatre. Alone the online portal nachtkritik.de compiled at the end of 2015 a list of some 80 initiatives. Yet refugees still appear only rarely as independent agents. The Silent University wants to change this.More ...
Domo, interior, Photo: morethanshelters

More than Shelters – More than a Roof over One’s Head

The Hamburg social enterprise More than Shelters builds flexible refugee accommodations and is working on improved living spaces for people in need.More ...
Taigué Ahmed dancing with refugees in Chad; photo: Christine Cayre Rey

Dancing with Refugees: Expressing Feelings and Experiences

Since 2005, choreographer and dancer Taigué Ahmed and his organization Ndam Se Na have been organizing dance workshops in refugee camps in southern Chad. An interview.More ...
The German-Tunisian and Hertha star Änis Ben-Hatira supports his “little brothers” at MitternachtsSport nearly every weekend | © MitternachtsSport e. V.

Integration and sport: Multiculturalism – a means to success

Sport integrates people from all walks of life and backgrounds. In professional sport in particular, heterogeneous teams have proved highly successful.More ...
Knowledge and encounter | © Robert Kneschke – Fotolia.com

Library Services for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Arriving in a new country with a different culture and language confronts all refugees with a challenge. To make their arrival easier, libraries in Germany offer many different services and so contribute to a culture of welcoming.More ...
Sherko Fatah | Photo: Yves Noir / Robert Bosch Stiftung

Sherko Fatah – At the Breaking Edges of Cultures

In honouring Berlin writer Sherko Fatah for his novel “The Last Place”, the Chamisso Prize comes into its own.More ...
Thalia Theater Hamburg: Elfriede Jelinek, Die Schutzbefohlenen (The Wards), premiered in 2014 at the Theater der Welt Festival in Mannheim; © Krafft Angerer

Change of perspective with a danse macabre – Theatre and Refugees

How can theatre be political? How can it intervene in the massive problems that face refugees on the borders of Europe? The theatre is looking for answers.More ...
„Knotundknot“ by Dana Caspersen and William Forsythe in Berlin-Hellersdorf; photo: Marion Borriss

How You Surprise Yourself

In the world of dance social choreographies are currently on the upswing. Since 2011, the dancer and choreographer Dana Caspersen has been developing the performance project “Knotunknot” that engages with questions of migration and belonging.More ...
Abbas Khider; © Jacob Steden

“German is my new language” – an interview with Abbas Khider

In this interview the Iraqi writer explains why he speaks about the events in his home country in German and why, meantime, he also writes his books in German.More ...
Adelbert-von-Chamisso-awardees: above f.l.t.r.: Yoko Tawada, photo: Yves Noir; Emine Sevgi Özdamar, photo: Helga Kneidl; Libuše Moníková, photo: Renate von Mangoldt; below f.l.t.r.: Galsan Tschinag, photo: Rosemarie von Schnoy; Ilija Trojanow, photo: Yves Noir; Catalin Dorian Florescu, photo: Yvonne Böhler

Hardly Anybody Any Longer Says “Immigrant” – German literature by authors whose mother tongue is not German

It has become perfectly natural to see in Rafik Schami and Terézia Mora notable German-language authors.More ...
Coverausschnitt des Buches „Respekt“; © Herder

“There is a lot more connecting people than separating them” – An Interview with Renan Demirkan

In her new book the actress has developed a cosmopolitan philosophy for everyday life.More ...
Zafer Senocak; Foto: David Ausserhofer

“It is a privilege to live in Germany” - An Interview with Zafer Senocak

An interview about German peculiarities, on just how successful integration in Germany has been and the dangers of xenophobic populism and a militant Islam in Europe.More ...
Kevin Rittbergers „Kassandra oder die Welt als Ende der Vorstellung”, Wiener Schauspielhaus, © Alexi Pelekanos

Realities of Life – How the Theater Is Responding to the Theme of “Migration”

German municipal theater is increasingly taking up the theme of “migration”, but is often shy of doing this in the usual form of narrative theater.More ...
Still aus dem Film Almanya; © Concorde Filmverleih

Multiculturalism in German Cinema

The conflict of young adults being caught between the traditions of the old country and the freedom of the new country is often reflected in movies.More ...
The Islam scholar Dr. Götz Nordbruch studying trends among Muslim young people; photo: private

Islamic Youth Culture in Germany: What Is “Pop Islam” and Where Is It Going?

The Islamic Studies scholar Götz Nordbruch explains why young Muslims take their faith so seriously and what has happened to the pop Islam.More ...
Street scene in Berlin; Copyright: www.colourbox.com

The Intercultural Face of Europe’s Cities

What are the major cities doing in the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue? What new concepts have they developed? How are they dealing with the ethnic diversity that characterises their populations? – The Dortmund congress entitled “Diversity unites” held at the start of September 2008 presented concepts, models and projects from different European cities.More ...
Further articles

goethe.de/einfachhoeren

Funny stories about horses and soccer-players – read out on Arabic and downloadable as a podcast to be listened to anywhere!

goethe.de/wohin

Where to? 21 questions on migration and refuge

goethe.de/welcome

Learning German for Refugees

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The guide for your first weeks in Germany

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