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A photo of participants from a previous event © Cumberland Lodge

British-German Democracy Forum

In 2021, we launched the British-German Democracy Forum, a partnership between Goethe-Institut London and Cumberland Lodge.

The three-day forum, held in the inspiring setting of Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, brought together visionary, engaged young people from across the United Kingdom and Germany, to discuss key aspects of democratic life and shared pasts. Delegates included students, social influencers, artists and cultural producers, politicians, representatives of civil society initiatives, community organisers, writers, intellectuals, and inspiring public figures.
The inaugural British-German Democracy Forum took place between the 25-27th of October 2021. Delegates examined and compared contemporary approaches to Colonialism & Difficult Histories, in the British and German contexts.
Curated by Eric Otieno (social theorist and political economist from the University of Kassel, Germany) and Lord Woolley CBE (former chair of the advisory group for the UK’s Race Disparity Unit), this forum provided a platform for open discussion and debate on how colonialism and coloniality have shaped modern national trajectories, and how democratic societies might constructively confront ‘difficult histories’.
Explorations of the rise of nationalism and uneven citizenship intersected with conversations about the role of arts and the media in helping to rebalance power structures and interrogate narratives of our collective past. Artists, museum directors and post-colonial experts reflected, alongside policymakers and academics, on opportunities to confront contentious issues from the past more constructively, with an eye towards a more peaceful, open and inclusive future.
Discussions were held under the Chatham House Rule, as is the custom at Cumberland Lodge, to encourage frank and open discussions. Guest speakers were asked to waive the rule for their presentations where possible, to allow us to share their contributions with a wider audience, post-event.

BGDF 2021 - People in debate © Cumberland Lodge

Reflections from the BGDF 2021
Recap: British-German Democracy Forum

Neicia Marsh summarises the main themes and topics covered over the three-day-event at Cumberland Lodge. She also includes her reflections and key questions for those wanting to undo colonialism. 

Meet the speakers

Logo of BGDF2021© Cumberland Lodge and Goethe-Institut London