Discussion Escape into art? – A debate about the cultural sector

The politicisation of contemporary art is ubiquitous. In particular, the huge movements of people that have resulted from the civil war in Syria and the debates about those people who have arrived in Germany against this background are being played out on stages across the country. There are few theatres without an “exile ensemble,” residencies for artists who have fled or performances about exile, migration and flight. But what does this thematic focus mean for Syrian artists who are trying to work in Germany? Can Syrian cultural professionals only be successful if they fill the role of a “refugee”? Or is addressing their own experiences fleeing the country, of the misery that has befallen them and of the war a legitimate means to achieve solidarity and compassion? What responsibility does art bear?
Joachim Bernauer, Culture Department Head, Goethe-Institut Munich

Anis Hamdoun, director and author at Theater Osnabrück, Homs/Osnabrück
Hanno Rauterberg, acting head of the arts section at DIE ZEIT, Hamburg
Shermin Langhoff, manager of the Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin
Mey Seifan, choreographer for the Tanween company and Syrian Dreams Project, Damascus/Berlin
Amira El Ahl, Author and moderator, Cairo/Kassel