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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.9 Enhancing social inclusion through culture

Last update: 28 November 2023

Fostering equality and young people's involvement through cultural activities

In Austria, there are no cohesive programmes at national level linking social inclusion and culture. Artistic funds, grants and awards, as well as project promotion, are the main support schemes for artistic work.

Apart from individual projects and the stipulation of cultural diversity in strategy papers and laws, there have not been any programmes linking intercultural dialogue and culture. Grants for multicultural projects are provided at different government levels.

Albertina museum: KuKon - responding to conflicts with art (KuKon- mit Kunst Konflikten begegnen)

The pro­gramme helps to address conflicts by means of artworks. The project is especially welcomed by school classes dealing with problematic interactions of pupils. This initiative is provided by the Albertina museum.

Belvedere museum: Promotion of German (as a second language) (Sprachförderung)

As art is an excellent resource for fun and lively language learning, in 2009 the Belvedere museum began devising programmes for each school level, especially taking multicultural and multilingual classes into account. A playful approach and activities finely attuned to the psychology of learning give young visitors the opportunity to build on vocabulary and improve their language skills.

'Hunger for Art and Culture' ("Hunger auf Kunst und Kultur")

The initiative was founded by the poverty conference and the Viennese theatre Schauspielhaus in 2003. Today, more than 500 cultural institutions throughout Austria offer free entrance to unemployed people and people living below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. The initiative is supported by eight federal states. It enables socially disadvantaged youth to an equal access of large parts of the Austrian arts and culture scene and thus with the opportunity to develop an interest into arts and the partaking in this societal process.

KHM museum: barrier-free and inclusive art education (Barrierefreie Kunstvermittlung)

For blind, visually impaired as well as for hearing impaired pupils, special mediation strategies have been developed. 'Please touch!' is the motto of the 'Seeing Differently' tours for blind and partially sighted visitors that take place on a regular basis. This tactile experience is enhanced by auditory descriptions of the artists, their working methods, and the objects. The guided tours for visually impaired people thus offer a new way to explore paintings. Paintings have been transposed into tactile reliefs by specialised new technologies, allowing visitors to feel the basic elements of the painted composition. These novel impressions are augmented by oral explanations provided by the educator. Furthermore, a brochure in Braille that comprises descriptions of the artworks written especially for the blind and the visually-impaired is provided. Moreover, the programme 'KHM on a visit' has been established for pupils of sociopaedagogic centres and hospital schools, who are not normally able to visit the museum due to health or social physicological problems. The Kunsthistorisches Museum also regularly offers guided tours in sign language as well as tours in simple language.

The museum is among the first to have received the COME-IN! award for sustainably addressing the accessibility of its house and artworks, thus improve access to European cultural heritage for all people. In order to be able to design the educational programs in the best way possible and to ensure barrier-free access, the team of the Art Education Department of KHM took part in an Erasmus+ Mobility Program.

Museumsquartier Vienna (MQ Wien)

A wide variety of free activities offered year-round in the outdoor areas, including dance performances, exhibition projects, and the seasonal programmes 'summer at MQ' and 'winter at MQ' make the MQ a very special environment. Visitors are surrounded by art and can choose themselves to what extent they want to get involved with it. The MQ is thus an integrative place for living and experiencing where you can enjoy the cultural offerings or just relax or meet with friends for a casual get-together.

Wir lesen! (We read!)

The project 'Wir lesen!' bundles and complements the Austrian library associations's reading promotion activities. Reading promotion campaigns, teaching material, advanced learning campaigns and many other programmes are offered as creative and innovative ways to promote reading. The online platform provides best-practice examples for education and reading promotion, as well as news, basic literature, videos and other downloadable material. 'We read!' responds to the increasing reading deficiencies of children and young people in Austria. The project aims to strengthen public libraries as attractive places to read and to support them with know-how in the field of reading promotion. As reading skills are a prerequisite of both societal participation and success in school and career, this early measure of cultural mediation fosters the social inclusion of Austria's youth. It is funded by the Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport (Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, Öffentlicher Dienst und Sport).

Combating discrimination and poverty through cultural activities

The Day of Flight and Escape (Langer Tag der Flucht)

An annual, austria-wide initiative on the subjects flight and asylum takes place with numerous events under the patronage of UNHCR and in cooperation with museums and numerous organisations of various fields. On this day, young people can engage with the topics of flight and asylum in diverse ways. Austrians, refugees and asylum seekers have the opportunity to exchange views and learn more about each other through workshops, readings, exhibitions, cinema screenings and discussions. A special programme is put together for school classes. These new perspectives and informations shall help reduce children's and young people's prejudices.

Working group 'youth against violence and racism '(ARGE Jugend gegen Gewalt und Rassismus)

'ARGE Jugend gegen Gewalt und Rassismus' is a specialised group for violence prevention, human rights education and anti-discrimination work. The targets children, young people, and adults who work with them. The group has received a number of awards for its creative projects, such as the Youth Creativity Award of the Province of Styria and the Human Rights Award. It runs a number of projects that familiarise pupils with topics such as violence prevention and conflict management, human rights, solidarity, civil courage, and inter-religiousness. For example, in the 'Change of perspectives' project a creative product is developed over the course of the school year, e.g. a democracy and human rights workshop, short films, videos or theatre plays, or photo collages on socio-cultural diversity for the classrooms. The group is inter alia funded by the federal province of Styria, the City of Graz, and the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria.