Tasks and objectives

In countries where the Goethe-Institut and other international cultural institutions have had to close their locations due to wars or censorship, many artists and intellectuals have lost spaces for dissent, dialogue and intercultural exchange. Partners with whom the Goethe-Institut has worked in these places, who have visited the institute as language students or as an audience, often have to leave the country themselves; connections that have grown over decades are cut.

Representing all institutes worldwide where cultural exchange can no longer take place locally, the Goethe-Institut in Exile will therefore act in Berlin as an opportunity for encounters, as a shelter and as a stage for those creative artists who have fled. In this way, important regional and global discourses will be continued and made visible again, and existing and new connections with German and international partners will be promoted. The work of the Goethe-Institut can thus be experienced in the heart of Berlin. Located in Berlin’s Kunsthaus ACUD, the Goethe-Institut in Exile programme, which will initially run for two years, is an intermediate station where individual threads of the work of the Goethe-Instituts in Afghanistan, Syria, Belarus and Ukraine can be picked up again.

The programme focuses on performances, film programmes, readings, concerts, as well as discussions, workshops, networking events and long-term collaborations. The aim is to continue to give a voice to artists who are no longer able to work in their own countries due to life-threatening circumstances, or who are only able to do so with difficulty.

The first country focus of the multi-part project is Ukraine, with an opening festival in October 2022, followed by Afghanistan in spring 2023, then Syria and Belarus. But artists from other countries with illiberal contexts will also be given a place of dialogue and visibility here.

In addition to regular events at Kunsthaus ACUD, individual formats will also take place at other venues in Berlin and throughout Germany. You can find out more in our calendar of events.

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