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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.9 Enhancing social inclusion through culture

Last update: 10 February 2022
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  1. Fostering equality and young people involvement through cultural activities
  2. Combating discrimination and poverty through cultural activities

There is a general consensus within society that cultural education should help to promote social inclusion and combat exclusion, discrimination and poverty (cf. BKJ 2011b).

Fostering equality and young people involvement through cultural activities

Organisations providing cultural education for children and young people feel that cultural education activities, “allow children and young people to explore their need for self-expression, participation and community. At the same time, they help young people to develop creativity, critical thinking, confidence, tolerance and a sense of responsibility. In this way, cultural education allows them to develop a personality and learn to participate in the social, political and cultural sphere.” (cf. BKJ 2015).

This conviction is a fundamental hallmark of quality when it comes to non-school cultural education; it is mainstreamed through all activities and projects in this area, its principles, formats and methods and its educational approaches. All funding programmes in Germany are based around it, with funding assigned accordingly.


Combating discrimination and poverty through cultural activities


The inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities by means of and in cultural education is a major objective for providers of cultural education, policymakers, and a large number of funding programmes.

Examples of programmes at the federal level include:

  • The “Education package” (Bildungspaket) (services for education and participation) provides services in accordance with Book 2 of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch Zweites Buch, SGB II) even if neither the child nor its parents receives any of the social benefits listed, but where the specific educational and participatory needs of the child cannot otherwise be met. The education package provides targeted support to 2.5 million children and young people. It also provides grants and subsidies to needy children who want to participate in sports, games and cultural activities in their free time. A monthly amount of up to 10 euros is available, for example for membership fees, other fees or in exceptional cases for equipment. The education package is implemented locally in districts and independent towns/cities. Specific approaches to implementing the education package can vary across districts and independent towns/cities.

The government programme Culture builds strength – Alliances for education (Kultur macht stark. Bündnisse für Bildung) is aimed at young people who could be considered to be at a disadvantage.

Between 2017 and 2019 the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) funded nine hands-on projects that examined how cultural education can help shape social relations in such a way that no one is marginalised or discriminated. The outcomes of the projects were published (cf. BKJ 2019).

Since 2015, the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media (Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, BKM) has supported the culture and inclusivity network (Netzwerk Kultur und Inklusion), which is now operated by the Academy of Arts Education of the German Government and State of North Rhine-Westphalia (Akademie der Kulturellen Bildung des Bundes und des Landes NRW) in cooperation with the association Verein InTakt. The network discusses topics cropping up from the practical implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in artistic and cultural contexts. As a forum for expert dialogue, it offers members the opportunity to share experiences and approaches from theory and practice, science and research, associations and politics. Central topics include the labour market,initial and further training, schools of the arts, artistic quality and media and inclusivity.

The arrival of a large number of refugees in Germany (culminating in 2015) was occasion for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) to point to the pivotal role of cultural education in building a “culture of integration”. Cultural education providers still face major challenges in this regard (cf. BMBF 2015). While there are already a number of formats and concepts for this, it is vital “not to turn refugees into a target group for educational activities or to attempt to assimilate them into mainstream society, but to interact with them as stakeholders, interlocutors, as teachers and learners, as actors” (Ziese/Gritsche 2016, page 25). In addition, a number of funding options are available for projects, although there is currently no platform or database specifically for projects by, involving, or for refugees (cf. BMBF 2015).