Cultural education has become a complex working field involving heterogeneous parties, orientations, and practices. Politics and educational science automatically attribute great potential to cultural education. The hope is that it could diminish the injustice of the educational system and contribute to social integration. Various discourses seem to legitimate such high expectations. But can cultural education fulfill them or should it even try? Are arts and culture really the magic trick for integration and the solution for society’s educational problems? Which challenges and problems come with migration, integration, and diversity? What are the conditions for cultural education, what are the facts one has to consider, and what are the chances in theory and practice?
Diversity is expected to offer a new perspective on society. A new take on diversity is to be established. But has cultural education already adopted the topic? Who discusses it, and how does this discourse evolve? Is diversity imagined as an enjoyable salad bowl combining all the different ethnic groups? Or is there an awareness that despite of diversity and cultural education, there still is exclusion because arts and culture remain elements of social distinction? Attributing is a common practice in culture. Cultural productions work with stereotypes that have an enormous impact on the perception of people. Some of their characteristics appear to be essential for a certain ethnic group. Cultural education itself features people with a migration background who have to represent their “native culture” as if it determined their identity. But isn’t that what is called “othering”, identifying someone with a specific group that is essentially different from one’s own?
The focal point “Diversity & Cultural Education” is an intersection created by scientists of different disciplines who raise such questions, think them through, and expand networking.
The Institute of Cultural Policy is part of the department “Cultural Studies and Aesthetic Communication” at the University of Hildesheim. At the institute, there is a research and teaching focus on cultural education. There are various research projects and working fields to be found at the Institute of Cultural Policy: The network “Forschung Kulturelle Bildung” features a platform for (young) researchers who wish to exchange information on research methods on a regular basis. The platform is specifically designed for developing an aesthetic and artistic approach to cultural education. The knowledge platform “kubi-online” is a digital version of our ‘cultural education handbook’. It combines scientific articles on all aspects of this specific academic field and is updated continuously.
Cooperation between school authorities and non-educational institutions respectively creative artists has become an important research field. The accompanying research for the project “Cultural agents at creative schools” takes place at the Institute of Cultural Policy. The institute represents the wide range of subjects concerning diversity and cultural education on a national and an international level in an academic discourse.
In 2015, the research workshop “Cultural Policy for Arts Education” was organised as a part of the “Santiza Busara Festival” at the Dhow Country Music Academy on Zanzibar, in cooperation with the “Center for Worldmusic” in Hildesheim. In the same year, the conference “Cultural institutions and diversity. Is diversity a successful model?” at “Bundesakademie für Kulturelle Bildung” (Federal Academy for cultural education) in Wolfenbüttel was held.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schneider