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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.8 Synergies and partnerships

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Synergies between public policies and programmes
  2. Partnerships between the culture and creative sectors, youth organisations and youth workers

Synergies between public policies and programmes

In the last few years, mainly since the roll-out of all-day schools, various political strategies and funding initiatives have aimed to get schools, cultural education providers and cultural bodies to work together to create more and better cultural education opportunities for children and young people (cf. BKJ 2015).

Corresponding strategies and programmes have already been described under “National strategy on creativity and culture for young people”, “Promoting culture and cultural participation”, and “Developing cultural and creative competences”. So far there are no comprehensive evaluations or data sources to support the effectiveness of these partnerships.

There are few strategies in place to ensure that programmes für cultural education are coordinated by several/different ministries and authorities. No formal agreements exist at federal (national) level to create synergies by cross-sectoral cooperation or coordinating programmes and projects. They are only found when federal states or local communities have overall concepts – i.e. strategies – in place to organise the necessary collaboration and dialogue (see “Administration and governance” > “Cross-sectoral cooperation”.

Partnerships between the culture and creative sectors, youth organisations and youth workers

Given that cultural education for children and young people is an integral element of youth work in Germany, partnerships between the culture sector and the youth work field are common. Very often organisations and institutions work together at the local level, e.g., youth work organisations with theatres, museums, film-makers or artists. The respective cultural and youth umbrella organisations are represented at federal level in the German Federation for Arts Education and Cultural Learning (Bundesvereinigung kulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbildung, BKJ) and the German Cultural Council (Deutscher Kulturrat).

Collaboration between as many different partners as possible is currently promoted mainly through the nationwide programme Culture builds strength (Kultur macht stark).


Partnerships between schools, culture and creative sectors, and youth work

While it is not unusual for the culture and youth sectors to work together in Germany, cultural education has traditionally been developed and funded separately from the school system. It is only since efforts began (in 2003) to roll out all-day schools that this divide between the two systems has begun to close somewhat. Since then, the public sector as well as foundations, associations and organisations have stepped up their efforts to strike up partnerships between schools and external providers of cultural education or cultural institutions. These partnerships are voluntary in nature  and offer school pupils extracurricular cultural education services (in the shape of, e.g., working groups or workshops). Over the last 15–20 years, these partnerships have dominated the field. Politicians, schools and external providers hope that the focus on all-day schools will give more young people access to cultural education.

To offer a general orientation framework for partnerships between schools and cultural institutions/providers of cultural education for children and young people, the Federation developed the concept of local education landscapes, or “lokale Bildungslandschaften” (cf. BMFSFJ 2005). The term “local education landscapes” refers to the convergence of formal and non-formal education within the framework of an integrated community or regional action plan. It covers education policy and strategies aimed at better supporting education at the local level with shared responsibility across a broad range of institutions and providers (cf. BKJ n.d.).

Under the concept of “cultural development for schools” (Kulturelle Schulentwicklung), pilot projects and selected policy support programmes aim to systematically integrate cultural education in all areas of action and in schools' organisational structures: in the school building, in lessons, in all-day schools and in school culture. In the past, attempts were made by several quarters to use art and culture to profile schools in this way – in both a conceptual and practical respect – and establish what were referred to as “schools of culture” (Kulturschulen) in Germany. This led to the Creative potentials (Kreativpotentiale) foundation programme, which is offered in all 16 Länder in collaboration with the state governments and supports the long-term integration of cultural education in schools.

Examples of from the Kreativpotentiale programme in the Länder:

North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW): Kreativpotentiale entfalten NRW helps to make cultural education a fixed part of schooling by helping schools, local authorities and cultural partners to plan and implement processes to promote culture within schools. The project is run by the office of cultural education NRW (Arbeitsstelle Kulturelle Bildung NRW) and receives funding from the Ministry of Education and Education of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (Ministerium für Schule und Bildung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, MSB NRW) and the Mercator foundation (Stiftung Mercator).

Berlin: The Kreativpotentiale Berlin project aims to integrate cultural education into the central educational governance and support instruments. It incorporates and consolidates knowledge and experience from practitioners in a wide range of fields.

The project has two main thrusts:

  • Refining the criteria for good cultural education in the Framework of Action: School Quality in Berlin (Handlungsrahmen Schulqualität), and developing supporting materials.
  • Expanding the training provided to stakeholders in schools with a focus on cultural education and developing modules on continuing professional development.

Kreativpotentiale Berlin is a project on cultural education in schools run by the Berlin Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family (Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Jugend und Familie). It receives funding from the Mercator foundation (Stiftung Mercator). The project implementation partners are: the State Institute for School and Media Berlin-Brandenburg (Landesinstitut für Schule und Medien Berlin-Brandenburg, LISUM) and the German Children and Youth Foundation (Deutsche Kinder- und Jugendstiftung, DKJS).

Lower Saxony: Together with the Mercator foundation (Stiftung Mercator), the Lower Saxony Ministry of Culture (Niedersächsisches Kultusministerium) and the Ministry for Science and Culture (Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur) launched a pilot project in 2014 called SCHULE:KULTUR!. The goal of the programme is to introduce an end-to-end process of development in schools through cultural education. The focus is on incorporating cultural education as a living principle of learning and a design element of the general school day, and to include cultural practices in all school subjects. Schools taking part in the programme are supported throughout the development process by external cultural partners.

More examples of funding for cultural education at and with schools in the Länder:

  • North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW): The state government of NRW runs funding initiatives and targeted projects – mainly on youth, culture and schools – to promote the ongoing expansion of cultural education (Kulturelle Bildung) state-wide. The NRW state ministries responsible for youth, culture and education have formed a jointly financed office of cultural education NRW (Arbeitsstelle Kulturelle Bildung NRW). The office advises and supports local authorities, schools and youth work facilities with developing cultural education activities for all young people and with networking effectively at the local level. It also helps communities and districts across the state to expand their general concepts for cultural education.
  • Hesse: The Office for Cultural Education (Büro Kulturelle Bildung) of the Hessian Ministry of Cultural Affairs (Hessisches Kultusministerium) supports and networks schools who place particular emphasis on cultural education (e.g., musical primary schools, schools with an emphasis on music, culture schools [KulturSchulen]), helps other schools that are looking to establish a cultural profile, offers its own state-wide programme to improve lesson quality (“creative lesson practice”) for all types of schools, funds artistic projects by pupils, advises and helps schools on working with artists, and cooperates with cultural education institutions and associations in Hesse. The pilot project “Culture case” (Kulturkoffer), funded by the Hessian Ministry for Science and Art (Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, HMWK), seeks to roll out cultural education across the state so that all young people in Hesse, regardless of their ethnic origin, place of residence or socioeconomic background, have access to art and culture.
  • Brandenburg: In 2012 Brandenburg launched a cultural education concept (Konzept Kulturelle Bildung des Landes Brandenburg) to strengthen and bring together existing organisations, introduce cultural activities in schools, and adopt a law specifically for youth art schools, which hitherto was part of the state's legislation on music schools (cf. MWFK 2012). In 2011 Brandenburg launched the online platform for cultural education providers (Plattform Kulturelle Bildung Brandenburg). The platform helps actors and potential partners to link up, assists them in launching projects, advises them on funding opportunities, and offers training and networking services.
  • Baden-Württemberg: The state-wide pilot project Cultural school 2020 Baden-Württemberg (Landesprogramm Kulturschule 2020 Baden-Württemberg) was launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Culture (Kultusministerium Baden-Württemberg) in cooperation with the Karl Schlecht Foundation (Karl Schlecht Stiftung). Ten schools are affiliated with the programme, each of which receive an annual grant of 10,000 euros for five years (starting 2015) so they can expand their cultural profile. The schools use a “culture roadmap” (Kulturfahrplan) that guides them through this process. Based on their projects, a collection of best educational practices will be drawn up for use in other schools across the state (cf. State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg [Staatsministerium Baden-Württemberg] 2015).